Knowing how to sell your paintings will teach you how to attract clients and familiarize you with the financial side of the art world. Don't feel overwhelmed if you are selling your paintings for the first time. You don't need a fancy agent or an ultimate masterpiece to sell your art.
Part 1 of 3: Make yourself known
Step 1. Make business cards and advertising posters
Distribute them to shops that sell art or to art fair organizers.
- Ask merchants near you for permission to leave business cards or for permission to stick a poster on a store window or your community's cultural events notice board. Consider reaching out to traders who might have a clientele that matches your artistic style.
- You can also canvass local restaurants and stores. This will allow you to grab the attention of a wider audience.
Step 2. Tell friends, family and colleagues about your paintings
The people who are closest will also be the ones who best defend your creations. Let those around you know that you plan to sell the products of your art.
Show them some of your favorite pieces so that they are the first to know about the sale of your paintings. Also be sure to give them some flyers and your contact details so they can give them to people who are interested
Step 3. Display your works of art at a fair near you
Most communities offer fairs and cultural events throughout the year. See all the proposals and choose the ones that might suit your artistic style. But don't kid yourself, seats are expensive and highly coveted!
- If, for example, you intend to sell paintings, prefer cultural events that emphasize that particular art.
- Keep in mind that you often have to pay for a stand to be able to participate in these cultural events. But see it more as an investment in your business. Some art fairs are very expensive for the exhibitor, so calculate your shot carefully before exhibiting.
Step 4. Show your boards to influential people who might be interested
If you know people who are likely to appreciate your work, organize a meeting at your place or at their place, if they wish.
You can also organize a private opening for a few handpicked guests. Some people will be more inclined to attend a private event than a more popular arts fair. Ask your guests to bring other people as well, and you will expand your customer base with word-of-mouth alone
Part 2 of 3: Build a network in your community
Step 1. Set up an exhibition near you to display your creations
Some art galleries hold exhibitions to showcase the work of new artists, which can help you make a name for yourself in the art world. But then again, don't aim for prestigious galleries.
- The small art galleries in the provinces appreciate art lovers and offer them an ideal opportunity to make themselves known. Even if you don't attract the attention of important figures in the art world, you may be interested in people who might talk about you to art specialists.
- These galleries also often have files of clients who like to support emerging painters. As these galleries are quite small, they pay more attention to the work of the creators. They will also invite interested collectors and almost advertise for you.
- While art galleries are the best, you don't have to limit yourself to this form of exhibition. Cafes, traveling exhibitions in libraries and other public places often host the works of talent from the region. It's a great way to showcase your art for a wider audience. Remember that not everyone can go to art galleries, but everyone can go to a cafe or library.
- You will no doubt have to share the profits from your sales with the gallery or business exhibiting your works. We help you make a name for yourself, which also comes at a price. Do not worry. It is not too high a price to pay for you to distribute your work.
Step 2. Go to the exhibits of your colleagues
Your support for the artistic cause of others will be very useful when you are exhibiting yourself. It will also allow you to make connections, get information and do business.
- When you sell your art, it's all about relationships. Most cities have a department that takes care of organizing artistic events. These municipal councils like to showcase talent from the region by asking painters to join in with community projects or a similar task.
- Your arts community may also have a website that regularly offers art-related jobs. It can also promote exhibitions and artistic events in your region. Keep in touch with these nearby links to find interesting opportunities.
Step 3. Connect with regional businesses
In addition to art lovers and their promoters, some companies also like it to be known that they support the arts.
- It is not uncommon for painters to be revealed at social events organized by companies. Try to get to these events organized by businesses in your area and hand out your business cards. You might be contacted later as part of an interesting project.
- A business may also need a painter to decorate its offices or need paintings to set up a raffle. If you know how to sell yourself, you might also find yourself designing illustrations for websites and products that require branding.
Step 4. Send a message to radio stations in your area, newspapers and other publications
Inform the local press about your exhibitions and find out who is in charge of the artistic section of the newspaper to obtain a press article in your regional daily.
- Regional media like to portray original artists from the region. Since painters are often associated with the originality and uniqueness of their work, journalists and online site hosts will be inclined to write a story about you.
- Every time you've attended an exhibition, won an art award, or completed a new project, send out a little press release to media in your area. You could even offer them free admission to your exhibit.
- Don't be intimidated by the media. They are people like everyone else and they may want to showcase new talent. You will remain the center of attention in your community and if you are featured in the media in your area.
Step 5. Partner with a local charity to show off your art
Associating your name with a charitable and nonprofit organization can make you a trusted and recognizable person in your community. This can open you up to some very interesting proposals.
- Find a charity that truly inspires you and that you can identify with. If for example you like to paint dogs, get in touch with an animal shelter. Contact him and suggest that he volunteer to associate you with his next charitable event. You can also offer a work of art for its raffle or devote yourself to decorating its premises.
- Most charitable organizations already have their own media contacts. Lending a helping hand isn't just a good deed, it's also a way to get your name in the media. You will build a group of loyal admirers who will buy and support your art by getting involved in your community's projects.
- In November 2012, the Philippines was hit by a devastating hurricane that destroyed millions of homes. The Wells Fargo Association started a charitable campaign where they bought back any artwork in order to resell it to support Filipinos. Many local painters took this opportunity to show their support for the cause and showcase their art in an altruistic way.
Step 6. Sell your paintings online
In the all-digital age, most business transactions are moving from the street to the virtual computer. Visit sites specializing in the sale of works of art to easily showcase your art at low cost.
- Artpal.com is a free virtual gallery for selling works of art. This company advertises artistic products that range from sculpture to jewelry that can reach a wide range of artists. Artpart offers a free subscription, has a nice site and there are many ways to sell your work online.
- Advertise on well-known merchant sites like Amazon and eBay. You will only pay the shipping costs and you will attract the attention of a very large clientele. If you sell well, your works can be linked to others, also very appreciated, by way of buying advice such as: "the people who bought this, also liked that …"
- Make an offer on Craigslist.com. Craigslist advertises a wide variety of things, from job postings to used electronics. Showing and selling your work to consumers of all stripes will give you more confidence and will be to your advantage when looking to exhibit in your area.
Part 3 of 3: Keeping in touch with your customers
Step 1. Set up a website and get yourself a domain name
Selling works of art also means that you have to be business savvy. Now that you've made yourself known, give your admirers a place where they can get to know you and your work better.
Use social networks like Facebook or Twitter to direct people to your site. By doing this, the people who follow you know that you can always be contacted there, no matter what the trendy site of the day
Step 2. Find information and contacts from your supporters
Now that you've sold or presented your creation, make it a point of honor to stay in touch with the people who matter in the arts.
- Your catalog of admirers and investors can be a powerful business tool. Make sure you let everyone know about your upcoming exhibitions. Obtain the phone numbers, email addresses and postal addresses of these people.
- Do not sell your paintings through other networks if you already have an exhibition proposal in an art gallery. Many art galleries go so far as to refuse to share their address book with the artist for fear that the latter will sell works behind their backs.
- Use persistence when looking for new opportunities. You often have to make several attempts before someone agrees to sell your art.
Step 3. Make a written list of all your regional contacts and customers
Keep your contacts in the know every time you create and exhibit.
- Make sure you have permission to contact your customers. You will send them interesting messages about your news, not junk mail.
- Reach out to your clients personally every time you organize something new or when you have been purchased a painting. Send letters that express your appreciation. Remember that the person who bought you a painting expressed genuine interest and invested money in your talent. You can come off as rude or dismissive if you don't keep in touch with customers after a first purchase.
Step 4. Focus on your biggest admirers
Once you've established good customer following, find out who your most loyal admirers are. Give them special treatment as an opportunity to meet you or to see your new products in preview.
- If you do portraits, offer a small sketch of the faces of your admirers. If you make artistic t-shirts, send them free to your best customers. Show your supporters that your passion for art goes beyond a question of money and this notion could be answered favorably.
- Loyal customers are the foundation of a group of avid admirers. They have already proven that they want to support you and they appreciate your work. Let them know that you appreciate their support and are willing to give them special treatment.
- Remember that your best customers are not limited to a group of individuals. This number will inevitably increase, as will people who are interested in your art. Don't skimp on preferential treatment. You need to keep as many people as possible near you.
Step 5. Schedule regular lunch or dinner dates for current and potential clients
Building social connections with your investors that go beyond the art and business world is as important as building loyal following.
- Let your investors get to know you better in private. A private relationship with an artist sometimes sheds a different light on his work.
- Don't be afraid to recommend painter friends to your investors. Who knows, these creators might do the same for you and recommend them to you in the future as well.