Get the Best, Easy How to Profit at Art Show Secrets

Get the Low Down on How to Make Art Show Sales!

There are some smart, experienced people roaming the art patch. Some have art show secrets. My friend, Owen Garratt, is a perfect example. He’s been self-employed as a full-time artist for more than 20 years. It’s not just longevity that is impressive; he’s made it a profitable venture with $1 million+ in art sales in his career.

Numbers like that would make most artists proud. When you factor in he works in pencil and lives in  Edmonton, AB, Canada, it makes his accomplishments more outstanding.

I had a chance to interview with Owen. We talked about two things near and dear to both him and me:

  1. How to market art
  2. How to sell art efficiently and profitably

A Synopsis of Our How to Profit from Art Shows Talk.

It was not just a brain dump on how to profit from art shows. We covered a broad range of topics in our conversation about making money in the art market. It began with our agreement that you have to take charge of your marketing.

If you’re not willing to put in the work to market your art, you need to be prepared to work for someone else. – Owen Garratt

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Effective marketing is built on these three things:

  1. Education
  2. Reassurance
  3. Validation

Educate your buyers so they understand what they are getting. Reassure them they are making a right decision to buy. Validate your art is more than worthy of their purchase. You can learn to do all these things and impart them to buyers in casual conversation. His methods are effective and leave you feeling good about how you sell your art. That is so much more satisfying than trying to learn and use “sales tactics” that never feel right to you.

Cold Calling Works, But Owen Has Much Better Methods.

Owen started his career as a musician. When he began his art career, he used an outgoing personality and previous cold calling experience to start calling on businesses to sell his art. He doesn’t recommend this as a way for today’s artists to build their businesses. He has developed much better ways to help them.

In fact, he mentions most artists don’t like to sell. Just like most people don’t like to feel like someone is trying to sell them something. Owen has created new ways to sell without trying to pin somebody to the mat in the process.

You Get the Same Questions — Learn to Anticipate Them and Use to Your Benefit.

In doing art show as a regular part of his business, and in his gallery, he found people ask the same questions and make the same observations over and over again. He found addressing questions and potential objections before they were asked or posed set himself up as both transparent and authentic. It put people at ease dealing with him.

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He developed a method of selling at shows that did not include the traditional selling techniques we have all read about over the years. He doesn’t use trial closing questions like, “Do you want to pay with cash or credit card?”

He gets very few objections because he has answered them before they get asked. It is the same with general questions. He says when doing art shows, you find people ask the same questions, for instance, “What were you thinking when you painted this?”

The Trick Is to Apply the Answer before They Ask the Question.

He is teaching selling skills that are neither high-pressure nor that make potential buyers uncomfortable. Owen explains how to sell your art by using the same kind of chit-chat that you use when having a conversation while waiting in line at the grocery, at a bank or the DMV. As one of his art show secrets, he says if you can manage small talk at the grocery store, you can use the same, easy conversational style to sell art.

Pull together a list of always asked questions. Include the answers in your conversation before they are asked.

Before you decide how to do this, ask yourself:

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  • who you are
  • why do you make art
  • who do you expect to buy your art

In his Ultimate Guide to Profitable Art Shows program, Owen helps artists with these questions and explains the importance of going through this process.

How Profit from Art Shows
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Galleries Are Not the Answer.

There are advantages to gallery representation, and there are drawbacks. It’s hard to wait months and months for sales and then more time for payment.

In our conversation, we talked about the need for having an alternative to getting into galleries. And, we covered in some depth why working with art print publishers will not make you a career. You will learn what is the difference between art print publishing and licensing your work. We also chatted a little bit about how the licensing market works.

Why Websites Are Not the Answer – Why Marketing Online Isn’t Either.

Owen tells us it took nine years from the time he built his website until he made his first sale from it. He goes on to identify and talk about the two big problems about marketing online… make sure you listen for those nuggets in the video.

If I Just Could…

  • Get in a gallery
  • Get my online art sales rolling
  • Find a fabulous art rep

Owen hears these laments all the time, (And, so do I). It comes from artists who are struggling to get sales and who feel like they just need a break to start making things happen.

Owen Provides Art Show Secrets. He Has a Better Solution.

He advises just to talk to people about what you do. With his methods you don’t need:

  • Shopping carts
  • SEO
  • Social media, or even a
  • Website

And with his way of selling art, you get fast results.

People hate to be sold, but they love to buy! — Owen Garratt

Art Shows Are the Key to Profitability for Many Artists.

Owen expands the definition of an art show. He is not confined through his marketing to shows that are set up specifically to sell art. For instance, he has found he can make real money at farmers markets. For example, he pays not more than $50 for a table. He makes $40 – $1400 in sales on average.

Inventory Is Not an Issue.

He tells you why you don’t need much inventory to take to show. In fact, he takes in one better and explains how to use low inventory to your advantage. I loved how he turned a negative into a positive with this approach.

How to Use Shows to Grow Your Email List.

As you listen, you will learn unique ways to capture email leads.  He provides ideas on how he uses art shows help build an email list. He has easy and efficient ways to sort/qualify email signups into viable and non-viable categories. He even got 1,200 names on his email list from one show.

One Artist Made $15,000 at His First Show… a Home Show!

Although he is quick to tell you he doesn’t make that much at all his shows, and that everything had to line up just right for that result. However, it is possible to go to some non-traditional art shows and do very well in sales. He has the proof.

In his training course, he helps artists learn what to do between shows. He helps them understand how to keep money coming in during the months when there are no shows.

Why Luck Is Often Recognizing Opportunity & Acting On It!

We talked about how what seems like luck is not that at all. How having the right attitude towards opportunity and work ethic creates success. How being open to an opportunity and seizing on it is what often makes luck.

Besides having the right attitude towards opportunity, Owen had found the most successful artists are those who commit to learning. You can do-it-yourself, or get some help. His Marketing Tools for Artists program is an excellent way to learn new ways to sell more art.

Owen is giving my readers $100 off on the regular price of the course. It’s $197 instead of the full price of $297. I have added a free copy of my bestselling e-book, The Zen of Selling Art as part of the package. It gives useful advice for selling art, mostly for selling in-person situations.

It seems almost every day I hear fresh ideas on how to sell art. Talking with Owen and having him open up about his art show secrets gave me a slew of new, easy, profitable tips and techniques to sell at shows.

photo credit: Feirinha do bairro Ipanema – Catalão/GO – 08 via photopin (license)


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  1. Barney I would really like to watch this but at an 1/8 of the way through it starts buffering at the same spot. It will not allow me to go forward only to the begging. I have listened to it twice.

    Please let me know when it is fixed. I am interested in knowing how to sell without having the SEO.

    Thanks! Suzanne L Kish

    1. Hi Suzanne, Try clearing the cache from your browser, (Check the help section, each browser is different.) Try a different browser, for instance try Chrome if you are on Safari. Try a different computer. I can’t get the video on my Kindle, but that is a Kindle issue of which I am aware. I am able to get through the video on my notebook and my desktop. Thanks for your interest.

  2. I am a self taught artist nd i have put up some in fine arts america….nd i have a painting page”paintings of jane” in fb & i am in twitter ” janerajamalar”….i havent sold till now anything….please help me

    1. Hi Jane, from your description, it sounds like you have tried to use social media and to sell your art. Selling art requires steady exposure to a targeted audience. FAA and social media are support sites. You have to determine who are your best potential prospects and get your work in front of them. If art is not selling there are only two possible reasons why:
      1. Your art may be too specialized to create interest in buying it, except from a very select group of people who are hard to identify
      2. Your art is not seen by enough potential qualified buyers

      I can’t help you with #1, art instructors, gallery owners and art dealers can advise you on it. As for #2, you need your art to be seen by hundreds, or thousands of potential buyers on a steady basis to get it sold. Art is not an impulse buy very often. Buyers need to see it often and to learn about you, too. If you don’t know how to get your work seen, try reading as many of the 600+ posts on this blog, or any of my books on, or buy the Marketing Tools for Artists course offered in this post. Or, check out my Art Marketing Mastery Workshop. The information is available. Study, learn, act, get better, and repeat. Best of luck in your career.

  3. Hi Renata, I don’t have an exact time as Owen created the video. It was his decision to leave the time data off and I am sure he has reasons for doing so. My educated guess is the video runs about 60 minutes. Thanks for your interest!

  4. Wow, this information was like a mind bomb. I had a rep. called me only once after I did a phone blitz on her. Finally got one piece in a small gallery and took 40% and the gallery she got me in took 50%. As far as online, “Saatchi” I have sold a few pieces but they hide the customer and essentially the paintings I have sold are gone to who knows where. Very glad to have found you. It is like having a good idea, sometimes it feels so obvious that you should have known.

  5. Renata – looking at the video on this page (before clicking on it to start playing it) the time is listed at 32 minutes. You do know that you are free to pause a video and resume it at anytime in the future when you have more time? heck you can even pause it many times.
    I can’t believe that you are complaining about anything on Barney’s blog. The amount of incredibly useful information that he provides week after week FOR FREE is unbelievable! Do you know that people pay lots & lots of money for the information he (and also Jason Horejs) share freely AT NO CHARGE?
    So stop being an ungrateful crybaby and give Barney a HUGE THANK YOU instead.
    Thank you Barney – you are amazing!!!

  6. Barney,
    There doesn’t seem to be a video other than your short advertising one. I was so looking forward to viewing it. Has it been removed? I’m taking your “How to Find & Connect with Art Buyers Workshop” and came to this through the lessons.

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