Selling art: 17 top tips from the experts

Since the question “How do I sell my art?” came up a few times during my series “Finding your inner artist in 30 quotes“, I thought this article might be of interest to some of you. Here a little excerpt to get you started:

Mary-Alice Stack, director of ArtCo Projects, Arts Council England:

Put the customer first: I’d say that the sector as a whole could do more in terms of this. I know that from the artist’s perspective the process of creating and presenting contemporary art to an audience isn’t necessarily always about making a sale, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be clear about the opportunity to buy, if it exists.

Make it fun: The process of discovering a piece of work, bidding, buying it and taking it home for the first time is an exciting and rather addictive experience! That’s the thrill of collecting – no matter what you are interested in or how big your budget.

Stop chasing ‘collectors’ only: Too often both artists and galleries are concentrating so hard on that elusive and mythical ‘serious’ collector that they completely overlook the opportunity to foster the potential interest from ‘normal’ people. Even serious collectors were once first time buyers. Let’s not forget that.

Bare all: We all need to work together to help customers develop an understanding and appreciation of the way in which art is created and produced, so that they are able to get to grips with way in which work is valued and priced.

via Selling art: 17 top tips from the experts | Culture professionals network | Guardian Professional (this is where you can find the whole article, which is a condensed version of a live chat).

Would you like to share your own experience with your fellow artists? Please leave a comment below!

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Finding your inner artist, day 30: About tackling your personal building-sites

I can’t believe how quickly this month of inspirational quotes and related thoughts has went by. I hope you have enjoyed it as much as I did.

First of all, here comes the last quote:

You can’t cross the sea merely by standing and staring at the water. ~ Rabindranath Tagore.

Rabindranath Tagore won the Nobel prize for li...

Rabindranath Tagore won the Nobel prize for literature. It is the first Nobel prize won by Asia. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is obviously a quote about being pro-active. And what better way of bringing this series to end than asking you(rself) what you feel your art is lacking at the moment. Is it related to the creative side of things, or do you think you could do with better business skills? Or maybe a mix of both?

Knowing this alone won’t help, but it is a first step – only awareness can lead to actually making changes.

And because I obviously don’t intend to stop blogging as of today, I would like to add a little poll to this post, because I’m interested in what you would like to read next. I obviously cannot write anything specifically related to an art-form I am not familiar with (I am predominantly a musician), but I can write something about artist coaching – both in the personal and business sense. So here comes:

Please also feel free to add any other options you are interested in. I look forward to your replies, and thanks again for stopping by!

Finding your inner artist, day 29: About initiative

Today’s quote:

They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself. ~Andy Warhol

English: Andy Warhol

English: Andy Warhol (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Andy Warhol’s quote applies to art itself, but also to the business side of things.

Be honest: When did you last feel annoyed that financially, things aren’t going as well as you would like them to go?

And if this is the case: What are you doing to change this?

Many artists I know spend all day creating art, truly incredible art on top of that. And then they wait. And wait. And wait for the buyers to come. Sadly they don’t, and they won’t if you don’t also devote time to your business. Your business is not just creating art – it is also selling it if you want to make a living. The skills needed for this are what some artists are sorely lacking. So if you are not a natural salesperson, there are only two ways:

  1. Become a better one (even if you still don’t love that part of your work).
  2. Have someone else doing it for you.

Most artists I know, especially when they are starting out, feel they are not able to afford option 2 off the bat. However, working through an agent (or manager) is always a possibility. This is a subject on its own, and one with many pitfalls, but it still IS an option.

If you want to go it alone, you HAVE to invest in your business skills. No one will know how amazing your art is if you don’t learn how to sell it. Which will most certainly be something I will discuss on this blog sooner or later, so keep your eyes peeled 😉

© Petra Raspel 2013

Finding your inner artist, day 28: About seeing things through the eyes of a child

Today’s quote:

When my daughter was about seven years old, she asked me one day what I did at work.  I told her I worked at the college – that my job was to teach people how to draw.  She stared at me, incredulous, and said, “You mean they forget?”  ~ Howard Ikemoto

Of course we all need to learn technique in our chosen field of art. However, it would certainly help sometimes to remember that absolutely everyone can be creative if they allow themselves to be playful and not overly self-conscious (maybe even a bit silly).

When did you last allow yourself to be like that?

© Petra Raspel 2013

Finding your inner artist, day 27: About being wary of those who seem to know it all

Today’s quote:

Believe those who are seeking the truth. Doubt those who find it. ~ André Gide

English: André Gide, Nobel laureate in Literat...

English: André Gide, Nobel laureate in Literature 1947 Deutsch: André Gide, Nobelpreisträger für Literatur 1947 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is another post about technique…

There are various schools of thought in vocal pedagogy. Some are open-minded, others not so much. If we are talking about pedagogy, methods and technique, I would imagine this to be the same in every other artistic field.

Today, we have many so-called “scientifically proven methods”, which claim to be valid for everyone. I am glad we have them, because they did us an immense amount of good and removed a lot of guesswork. However, the danger is to become complacent and narrow-minded once something is “proven”. The validity of any study, experiment or trial hugely depends on its set-up. Provided there are no other methodical errors involved, the results of single subject studies are valid for one person (still not that uncommon in the singing world, believe it or not). Others are valid for the majority of people; some maybe even for all in that very moment. This doesn’t mean however that it is, and will stay, universally right. Large studies, including thousands of people, are still rare in singing pedagogy. I won’t even start to talk about bias and scientific misconduct now…

Physics and Chemistry are usually classed as exact sciences, Biology and Medicine already rank somewhere in the middle (this is, for instance, important to consider in my field of work), and Humanities – well…

Where am I going with this? I guess what I am trying to say is that art is definitely not an exact science – this includes its technique and methodology, but I guess most people know that. That’s why it never ceases to amaze me that some still argue as if it was. Some scientific studies related to the more technical aspects of our work are the best we have at the moment, and that’s good and helpful. I am generally wary of those though who try to tell me there is only one proven, or “best”, way of doing things, especially if there is some sort of financial interest involved.

Many roads lead to Rome, and it is important to stay open-minded, to exchange ideas, and to accept that no matter how convinced we are of our own methods, they are usually not the only way to do things…

© Petra Raspel 2013