Sales 101: Pricing & Marketing Your Artwork

Many artists find marketing their art a very challenging endeavor and I would agree. You have to transform from a free spirited artist into a business person AND you have to talk about your work. I find there’s a fine line between confidence and egotism.  The public often wants to know how, what, when, where, and why.  Yet, if you become too technical or too emotionally involved in your explanation you’ll lose them. I try to be brief, to the point and accept compliments graciously with a simple thank you.       

When you have a small body of work, three to five pieces, it’s time to promote your business. Just as you were disciplined in producing your work, you must be disciplined in marketing. Whether painting or promoting always present your very best. Starting with the originals you choose to every statement on your website.  Organize your schedule from times of creativity to those of promotion. You should address several questions: 

  • How to price your work?  
  • Who are your clients?  
  • Where are they?  
  • How will you connect with them? 

Pricing your work can be very difficult, but there should be as much consistency as possible.  One option is to price according to size, charging so much per square inch.  Another option is setting the price according to an hourly wage, plus materials. If you choose to price according to an hourly wage, include the time researching the subject matter and prepping the art. With each of these methods you should take into account the economy and comparable artist’s work.  This should include artist in your geographical area, medium, venues, and comparable work history.  A further consideration is an expanded price range which will broaden your cliental, making it more affordable to those that appreciate it. 

A factor you should consistently be monitoring is sales.  Half of the work should sell within a six month period.  If a painting doesn’t sell within that time, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a poor work of art.  It could just mean you haven’t found the right market for it.  When you feel confident in a painting and have had positive comments, be patient.  A mistake I’ve made was donating a painting to a nonprofit.  Contributing to a worthy cause is very good, but don’t do it because you haven’t sold a piece.  They’ll find their special home, just be patient.  You may also consider placing it in your private collection.


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