- by Barney Davey
Can You Define Your Art Sales Channels?
Being artist means dealing with endless choices. On the creative side, you deal with subject, media, style, color, size and much more. You have choices on the art business side as well.
This post is throwing open the topic of art sales channels. You will find here a list of 20+ ways to get your work to market. Without question, there are many other ways for artists to get their work to market. I’m confident no artist will or should attempt to use all the channels listed here.
Sometimes, too much is just too much
Just like with color, you quickly learn that too much is not good, so it is with distribution channels. Again, as with color, there is no set number you need to include. You learn to do what works for you in your art, and the logic applies to how you get your art sold.
Keeping with the color analogy, you will have a small number of choices that are dominant. Anywhere from one if you are Robert Rauschenberg, to three to five for most artworks. Of course, with minor supporting and complementary colors, the numbers you can include are huge.
So it is with art sales, too. Although you may not be active in marketing through some channels, you will still find yourself selling art or faced with opportunities in that channel. When such things happen, it’s time to evaluate the situation. Is this a pleasant one-off deal? Or, is there real upside potential that is worth pursuing?
Choices are crucial and cut both ways
How you answer to new opportunities can positively or negatively affect your future. (More choices.) You for sure do not want to pass up the chance to open a new, fertile market. But, you also don’t want to chase rainbows and unicorns that disappoint you and pull you away from the working on the things you know produce results.
There is danger in opportunity. Not to be a naysayer, but I can tell you there are so many horror stories of entrepreneurs who got bored with what was working and chased bright shiny objects to no end. It happens all the time. I think having real, solid, believable goals is the first line of defense. The second is having people who know you and are willing to help you by providing advice. In the end, it’s your career so you choose. CHOOSE WISELY!
My Art Sales Channel Choices
Below is my list of possible art sales channels. Those who know my philosophy will not be shocked to see collectors atop the list. It is ordered according to my take on where I think your best chances to sell art are. I may have missed some. And, your opinion is sure to vary from mine.
Your circumstances make the difference. You may not have an affinity market for your art. You may not have work that is suitable for the design market. My suggestion is to take this list and add to it. Then order it for what your best guess is to what channels are most relevant to you.
Since I know without debate that no one can do it all, it follows you should be doing like the famed bank robber, Willie Sutton. That is, when he was asked upon capture why he robbed banks, he replied, “Because that’s where the money is.”
Take the time to compile and order your list according to sales. Then match it up against where you are spending your time. That is how you will quickly know if you are investing your time in a way Willie Sutton would approve.
Here’s the How to Choose Art Sales Channels list. Please jump in with your comment and suggestions in the comments section below this post. (Keep reading to learn how you can get a free PDF copy of the Art Sales Opportunity list shown here.)
- Collectors / in-person sales
- Studio sales
- Artist’s website / blog
- Referrals / warm markets
- Affinity markets, e.g. wildlife shows and media, car (or any kind of collector related) show and media
- Interior designers
- Art consultants / corporate art
- Hospitality design
- Medical facilities
- Juried original art shows
- Open invitation art shows
- Physical galleries
- Online galleries
- Juried original art
- Juried print and original art
- Open invitation original art
- Open invitation print and original art
- Artist’s coops
- Social media
- Museum stores/shows
- Non-art themed shows, e.g. farmer’s markets, home shows
- Giclee & fine art print publishers
- Agents / artist’s reps
- Licensing agents
- Mass market
- Big box stores
- Antique malls/ furniture stores / boutiques / restaurants
- In-home art parties