Turning art into profit: Five tips

Business / Thursday, May 11th, 2017

The art world at the moment seems to be a good place to be. Christie’s auctions have recently set new records in numerous categories, raising an amazing $692 million in their evening sale, with other artists having record sums paid for their work. Importantly, many young contemporary artists featured in that sale, including 24-year-old Lucien Smith – one of the hottest young Americans selling art today. In light of this, many students and artists are now looking to break into the market themselves and wondering where to start.


Build a website In the modern era, everyone needs a website if they are trying to sell their product or brand. A significant proportion of people’s shopping and browsing is done via the internet. It is also the way that people easily share their finds with others, emailing links to friends or posting them to social media outlets. An artist’s website should be updated semi regularly with new works, announcements of upcoming shows and other interesting information. Engaging the audience with good quality content is the best way to make sure your website becomes popular. Encourage people to share the website by having buttons linking to Facebook, Twitter, RSS feeds and other streams will help make sure that people access the site from a number of sources.

Promote your brand It can be difficult to come to terms with calling oneself an ‘artist’, but this an important step. Business cards or other display postcards can be useful at the most random of moments. Getting your name spread as widely as possible maximises the chances that one of those people will become a customer and spend money on your work. It is important to think of yourself as a business and to promote yourself accordingly.

Shows Most areas of the country have not-for-profit art spaces which often offer a springboard for aspiring artists to get their work seen by the community. These tend to have ‘open calls’ at various points in the year, at which any artist can submit themselves for exhibition and try and advertise their work. Curators for other art spaces often visit these shows to keep abreast of up and coming artists, to try and spot successes before anyone else. Gallery shows and other exhibitions are an integral part of making money from art.

Newsletters While it’s something often associated with businesses rather than individual creative identities, the mailing list of newsletters should not be underestimated. At events, have a list available for visitors to sign up for the mailing list to receive information about future projects and gallery openings. On your website, have a field in which email addresses can be registered: follow this link to see this done excellently by http://www.jacksonsart.com/ as although they are a supply company, the entry field is seamlessly merged into their overall website to make it easy to find but unobtrusive. Ultimately, the artists that have commercial success are those who have worked hard to establish their brand. This takes many forms, be it online, in person or via marketing methods. These are important skills for aspiring artists to learn and to adopt.   Image credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/archetypefotografie/5033760503/

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