fame sells art

CV Won’t Last Forever | How to Use Slight Celebrity to Sell Art

The Corona Virus Won’t Last Forever. But What about Now?

I trust you are staying home and staying safe. That’s the best you can do to protect against a highly contagious and deadly virus. Only antibodies from surviving it or immunization from an effective vaccine can stop it. That’s why staying away, and safe is our only defense until those things happen.

While we wait it out, you may find stories of artists who are making sales. Good for them. They are rare and inevitably have built a tribe of loyal fans who have the discretionary means to buy from them. Don’t feel alone if you are not selling art now. It was a challenge before CV cruelly entered our world.

What Can You Do Now?

It’s an excellent time to build your email list if you are ready for it. People are bored and stuck at home. They are looking for alternative sources of amusement, education, and infotainment. Get them to know and like you first. That is how to build trust and options to show your work to them.

To get someone on your list, you need to entice them with an offer they can’t refuse. Challenge yourself to figure out what you have that you can give in exchange for an email.

Sell & Market Art the Way You Work

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Here are some top of mind giveaway examples:

  • A free five-day email course on how to draw something. A horse, a house, a hat. Show in step-by-step instructions on how to define the basic shapes and refine them into the end result. Use Loom to make videos. It is a free screen capture program.  I use Snagit daily to capture screenshots and videos. It’s what you can do with the assets afterward that make it so powerful. Watch the video on the link above to see what I mean. Check it out with the free Snagit trial.
  • Drag a simple image into Paint By Numbers Online, a free app. Use it to make a paint-by-numbers download. Below is a quick example of a photo on my computer. I did not take the picture and don’t know the artist, so I use it with apologies.

Upload Your Photo

Download the Expected Paint by Numbers Result and the Outline. Have Fun!

cactus paint by numbers


Those are a couple of ideas to stimulate your thinking. Use your creativity to come up with a compelling offer.

You needn’t be wildly famous to sell art.

Something else you can do it start planning to become a slight celebrity in the post-pandemic that will come eventually.

Sell & Market Art the Way You Work

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For most artists, a little bit of fame goes a long way. Your job is to figure out how to get and use a slight celebrity while staying comfortable in your skin.

Be yourself, everyone else is already taken. – Oscar Wilde

Does it seem impossible to you that you could be famous? It shouldn’t. Because fame sells art, even a small hint of celebrity will make your life as an artist more fun and more profitable. And, no, you don’t have to sell your soul to make it happen, happily.

Art is an exciting topic. It comes with an air of mystique you can use to boost your business.

Life is short; be happy!

I’m not saying you have to be happy to sell art or be famous. I have known more than a few sourpusses who succeeded. It just always seemed to me they were missing the joy from people loving their art.

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It’s not about the Kardashians for heaven’s sake!

Most people hear the word fame, and they immediately think of movie stars, musicians, professional athletes, politicians, or even attention-addicted reality TV stars.

The fame we are talking about here has zero to do with those kinds of celebrities. You need not aspire to join their company with your face in celeb rag mags or featured on entertainment news TV shows.

Andy Warhol made fame more famous. – Fran Lebowitz

To enjoy success as an artist, you need slight fame. Compared to other creative pursuits, artists require the least number of friends, fans, followers, and buyers to have a wildly successful career. The subtitle to my Guerrilla Marketing for Artists book is: How 100 Collectors Can Bulletproof Your Career. 

I believe visual artists who develop 100 or more direct buying collectors have more control of their careers and finances than any other marketing activity they can do. That belief is the foundation of the Art Marketing Mastery Workshop, which is all-new in 2018 with half-off charter rates.

Of course, that number is dependent on a broad range of factors, including your age, how far along you are in your career, how prolific you are as an artist, and more. No matter what your number is, it is small compared to what authors, actors, musicians, and performers need to make bank with their careers.

The cool part is you have the same tools as they do to help you gain fame and success in your career. What this means is your leverage over things like social media is far higher than nearly all other creative professions.

Let’s Talk about Selling Art.

When it comes to getting anything sold, a process takes place. For example, every purchase involves AIDA, which is an acronym for:

  • Attention
  • Interest
  • Desire
  • Action

This continuum happens in virtually every sales transaction. It can occur in a moment of instant gratification, or as is the case with most art sales, it can take repeated exposure to move your buyer from attention in your art to taking action to buy it.

How to go about exposing your potential buyers and repeat buyers to those frequent contact is a discussion about marketing for another post.

Let’s Talk about Fame

What Turns a Buyer’s Desire into Action?

You have learned about how AIDA is part of every sale. There also is another three-step process that is at the root of why buyers choose your art. They are:

  1. Know
  2. Like
  3. Trust

Take it easy, but take it. – Pete Seeger advising Bob Dylan about fame.

People Like to Buy from People They Like.

We don’t need to debate or prove this fact because you know in your personal experience it is the absolute truth. In the case of your art career, it follows the more people who know you and like you, the more art you will sell to them.

Your effective marketing is all about getting your prospects to know you. Sometimes that is enough to get you sales. Fame is a positive aspect of the buying process that improves sales. Just a bit of it will tip your prospect’s buying decision in your favor.

Imagine a buyer who is deciding on buying art from two different artists. The one they know and like is nearly always going to get the sale. Add just a dash of fame, and the deal is a lock. It is only human nature and a perfect example of how even slight celebrity sells art.

Buyers don’t have to know you personally to feel as if they know you. Fame is when someone knows something about you when you don’t know they exist.

The power of word-of-mouth marketing makes things happen. You know, people have come to like you so much that they can’t wait to tell their family and friends about you. It is a by-product of your fame.

fame sells art

It’s the Truth; Fame Will Help You Sell Your Art.

It does more than help you sell art; it will open doors and give you access to people and places you won’t have without it. Some of those people will have the power to influence your career in crazy, beneficial ways.

Fame and reputation are nearly, but not quite, the same thing. I believe you can have a reputation without recognition, but you can’t have fame without a reputation. When you have both, you are well on your way to selling more art.

There is not enough space here to tell you all the ways you can gain fame. Search the Internet, and you will find many ingenious and useful suggestions. I found a few things for you to consider.

Use the Rub-Off Effect for Fame.

Derek Halpern, the publisher of the well-respected and trendy Social Triggers blog, has this short video describing how to use what he calls the “Rub Off Effect” to gain fame. He explains it as part of his “How to Become Famous” post.

Don’t Take Your Fame Too Seriously

Singer/songwriter Leonard Cohen received countless awards and inductions to multiple Hall of Fame organizations. Despite such acclaim, he makes it clear to everyone how he perceives himself in his lyrics for the Tower of Song:

Oh in the Tower of Song
I said to Hank Williams: how lonely does it get?
Hank Williams hasn’t answered yet
But I hear him coughing all night long
A hundred floors above me
In the Tower of Song

Cohen’s humble homage to Hank Williams makes his perspective on his fame, and perhaps talent, quite evident. In the pantheon of songwriters, he wryly places himself well below the incomparable Hank Williams.

Lifehacker published this tongue-in-cheek titled post, Eight Cheap Ways to Become Famous without Killing Anyone. It offers some useful suggestions you can use to grow your fame.

I suggest these methods in my Guerrilla Marketing for Artists book.

  • Public Speaking – Put together a speech you can give on a topic about which you are passionate, or willing to do in-depth research.
  • Become a recognized authority on some aspects of the art business. It could be the local history of art in your town. Or, details on the life of a famous artist. It could be on the ins and outs of getting the most from the museums throughout your region. Pick a topic, love it, research it, and publish and promote your knowledge about it.
  • Be spectacular – manifest being spectacular through your art, through your lifestyle, through your personality. Learning to get outside your comfort zone to make this happen can cause all manner of new, happy things to come your way.

The different ways you can gain fame and use it to your advantage are as endless as the ways art gets created. What it takes is to use your creativity in a new way to think deeply about how you can corner the market on fame in your career.

Be Yourself. Believe Fame Sells Art!

The last thing you want is to be a phony. Nevertheless, you should not let worrying about what other people think hold you back. As the saying goes, “Haters are gonna hate.” You could not change their mind no matter what you do, so you just have to learn to ignore those critics with nothing meaningful to say.

No one expects you to start doing outrageous things or changing yourself just to get attention. That is not what getting fame is about. It is about using a positively built reputation to make that know-like-trust trio dance in your favor.


Sell & Market Art the Way You Work

Discover How to Make the Art Business Work for You

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