How Can You Tell If Your Art Will Sell?

When you enjoy the process and know why you create, you worry less about whether your art will sell

— Barney Davey

The short and long answer to knowing if your art will sell is trial and error. But your perceptions about selling and expectations for your art business are x-factors. They influence the outcome. So, it isn’t straightforward to determine if your art will sell.

But here’s the kicker…

Even though predicting which factors affect how well your art sells is challenging, you’ll find help here identifying indicators that affect whether your art is likely to be well received by buyers.

How to Find Yourself in the Art Business
Success leaves tracks — learn to find and follow them here.

Quality matters.

One crucial factor to consider is the quality of your work. This evaluation looks at how skilled you are with your technique, how your pieces are put together and designed, and how well they are made overall. If your art is well-executed and visually appealing, it is more likely to sell.

Another essential thing to consider is how popular and in demand your subject matter is, the style of your work, and the latest trends in the art world. If your art is well aligned with what buyers are looking for, it is more likely to sell.

Know them first, then help them find and pick you.

Understanding your target audience and what they are looking for in art is vital. By learning more about your audience’s likes, dislikes, and buying habits, you can ensure your art fits their needs and is more likely to sell.

Ultimately, there is no surefire way to know if your art will sell, but by considering these factors and staying informed about the art market, you can increase your chances of success as an artist.

The solution is learning and knowing what you want.

When it comes to the art business, I believe an artist should ask this primary question: What journey do I have in mind for my art upon its completion? What is your vision for what happens to you and your art business? Your answer guides you to intelligent business and marketing decisions that will increase your sales and save you time.

How to Find Yourself in the Art Business
Success leaves tracks — learn to find and follow them here.

Tips to get where you want to go.

There is an equally important follow-up question. Do I have the skills and resources to fulfill my wishes to make and market my art? You can only get great results if you are honest with yourself. That’s because hope is not a plan. Keep it real.

Realistic plans avoid wasting time and keep morale high when stretch goals are set and accomplished. A good plan will pull you through tricky times too. As your art marketing skills improve, you’ll get better at finding the places where your art will sell. Your experience becomes valuable knowledge you use to boost your productivity. I can imagine a similar boost in creativity. It’s a plausible dream.

Recommendations to sell your art better.

If you are ready to start selling your work, the following suggestions will help you gain clarity and confidence in marketing your art. Take note because you’ll gain helpful personal insights and new ideas from how you respond to these suggestions. It’s not a test with a score; it’s an assessment of your potential measured against your desire and ability to reach it. “Self-awareness,” in a nutshell.

Start Your Research with Your Warm Market.

Your family and friends are the logical starting point. You’ll get more helpful replies by limiting your question to asking about one artwork. Present them with questions they can answer with ease.

Be aware and ready to weed out answers given not to hurt your feelings or that come from those who have little interest in buying art from you or anyone else. Remember, it’s not constructive for you or them to push back when you disagree with their answer.

How to Find Yourself in the Art Business
Success leaves tracks — learn to find and follow them here.

Ask the Right Questions the Right Way for Helpful Answers.

Asking flat out if someone would buy the work is too direct and makes the other person uncomfortable. If they answer yes, they might feel obliged to make a purchase. If they say no, they may be concerned that they have offended you.

Selling art is sometimes a happy byproduct of asking for help and getting honest feedback. In this case, limit your efforts to selling your art. Keep in mind that selling is secondary to your goal of understanding how your art is perceived. This information will help you market your art effectively for years to come.

Asking open-ended questions with your version of the following suggestions will give you priceless insights:

  • Can you describe your immediate reaction when you first saw this art?
  • What are your thoughts when you look at this art?
  • Does this work speak to you on an emotional level?
  • Tell me about any detail or feature that got your instant attention.
  • What part of this artwork do you like the most?
  •  If you don’t like or understand anything, please let me know what it is and why.
  • Does any part or area of this art confuse you or seem incongruous, or should not be part of the work?
  • Given what you know about me and this artwork, please tell me what type of person is the most likely to buy it.

Family and friends are the mainstays, but they can only help you so much. Successful artists who have the experience and have walked miles in your shoes know what it takes to get where you want to go. As such, they are valuable insights and ideas for you.

Knowledgeable artists can help you improve your art’s commercial appeal. The best help they can give you is a complete and candid critique of your art and your potential to sell it. If they believe your artwork is market-ready, it’s crucial to go to the next step to get their suggestions on what steps to follow to sell it.

To Learn the Most, Ask for the Full Treatment.

You’ll want the whole enchilada whenever you can get it. Feedback on the technical aspects of composition, color, and subject matter is helpful. Learning veteran artists’ candid responses to the emotional quality of your work is instrumental to helping you improve because they know things you haven’t thought of or experienced. They know intangible aspects are often the driving force behind selling art successfully.

Artists who know what they’re doing can advise on how to price your work and provide technical and emotional guidance. Pricing your art to make it competitive comes from experience, and learning from those who have been there will shorten your learning curve.

Hey You, Ask Your Toughest Critic.

Artists, in general, are more intuitive and perceptive than most people. It’s great for being creative, but not for dealing with hurt feelings or feelings of inadequacy. That makes it harder to get a straightforward, honest assessment of your work. But it’s necessary to tamp down fear and doubt if you are to enjoy success.

Of course, you want validation from your peers, but gaining confidence in yourself and your work is more important. That is the ultimate validation. As you become aware of the power of belief, you’ll start to notice how effective it is for those who have it and use it naturally.

Because art is so personal and subjective, there’s no denying how difficult it is for artists new to the business to tap into their psyches confidently. So asking yourself puzzling questions is a huge help.

  • Did I have command of the process and use it throughout completing the work?
  • Can I see prominent, fixable weak areas or flaws in the work?
  • Was I able to identify problem areas, and did I take the time to rework and improve them?
  • Did I complete the work promptly and productively without wavering in perfectionism?
  • Does my completed work meet the vision I had for the piece?

What’s It All About? What Is Your Story? What Is the Story of This Artwork?

It’s been said that consumers buy the artist as much as the art. And while this is not always true, there is enough proof to know it is spot-on accurate. Storytelling is a skill you can master.

Decorative art sold in lower-priced forms, such as reproductions, will have more spontaneous appeal than original art. However, their lower price points don’t require partner approval to purchase. But most originals need spouse or partner permission due to price and design questions, such as “Where will we display this painting?”

The higher the price, the greater the need for a compelling backstory. This dynamic runs straight to the top of the market prices at Christie’s and Sotheby’s auctions. Collectors will always have questions about the art and the artist. They may use logic to help determine if they should buy the work, but emotion gets them to open their wallets. A good story and a solid explanation fill both needs.

Use your intuition to your advantage.

Emotions come from buyers’ feelings and are driven by what they know about the work and artist. You have intuition about why you create art and your vision and motivation for making a particular piece. The better you communicate these things to potential buyers, the more likely you will influence the sale positively.

If you have done the suggested exercises and can tell your story in your words, you may know the answer to the question, “How do I know if my art will sell?” It is a large part of who you are and what your art will mean to those who buy it.

Want to achieve balance and success in your life and art business?

Help is here. Look no further than AMXtra, the digital newsletter for visual artists of all skill levels. With twice-monthly tips and strategies on affordable and innovative marketing, as well as advice on how to live well as a working artist, AMXtra helps you navigate the business side of the art world and find success.

Help is available…

AMXtra is an online newsletter for all levels of visual artists. It can help you figure out the business side of the art world and reach your goals. In addition, you get twice-monthly tips, practical suggestions for affordable and creative marketing, and encouragement on how to live well as a working artist.

Take advantage of this unique opportunity to find balance and enjoy your life and business as a visual artist. Subscribe today and get on the path to a fulfilling life as an artist in business as you style it.

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How to Find Yourself in the Art Business
Success leaves tracks — learn to find and follow them here.

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