How to Sell Art To Interior Designers

How to Sell Art To Interior Designers

The Interior Designer Market Is Potentially Lucrative for Artists

Guest post by Dick Harrison

Interior with Painting #16801-B

Are Interior Designers on your prospect list? If one of your objectives, aside from becoming “famous” and sought after by top galleries and serious collectors, is to sell the beautiful art you create, you should consider the following stat provided by the Department of Labor: In 2008, there were 6,600 Art Galleries in the US and 71,700 Interior Designers.

You Cannot Ignore the Size of the Market

Though the number of galleries and design firms has probably taken a “hit” because of the weak economy, where do you think you are most likely to make a sale if you haven’t already established a base of buyers or a “famous name”?

Selling art to this lucrative market requires an understanding of how an Interior Designer perceives the artwork he or she must usually purchase to complete a design job for a client.

Success Requires Collaboration and Flexibility

Let’s compare the “composition” she is working on to the one that’s on your easel now. Both you and the designer have considered the design or theme you are creating. Yours is the canvas you are finishing up, adding the final details to complement the Center of Interest – the main subject – in your painting. That doesn’t mean you haven’t put a lot of effort into making those details just right.

The “composition” the designer is working on a single room, a whole house, an apartment, or a business office. She, too, has given careful thought to the design or the theme – “the look” of the total project, as you have for your painting. Her distinctive look consists of many parts – color coordination, furniture, carpets, window treatments, and finishes from paint to wallpaper. Moreover, yes, the artwork she will hang on the walls – possibly yours. It all has to “work together” to create the perfect look her client expects.

Art to Interior Designers Is a Detail — Not Necessarily the Focal Point

Here’s what you must know if you want to sell your “composition” to her to hang on a wall in her “composition.” Your painting is one of the “details” – probably not the Center of Interest, nor where she or her client has spent the more significant part of the overall budget. That doesn’t mean your painting is unimportant! If it’s wrong for the spot in her overall composition, it can detract from, or ruin, the whole – but it’s still a “detail.”

That’s why to make the sale of your art will depend on how well it coordinates with her overall theme – it’s color, size, shape, proportion subject and PRICE, compared to the budget she must work within. Sadly, art is often the last detail chosen, so the more you understand and are willing to work within her perimeters, the more likely you are to make a sale. She won’t buy it if it isn’t right, any more than you would introduce a jarring or sloppy note in a detail in your painting because she’s a professional, too.

Success Rule for Selling Art – Go Where the Buyers Are

Nevertheless, remember – IT’S A HUGE MARKET – more than ten times larger than the gallery market you may be working so hard to break into and your “fame” as an artist is far less critical to the designer than it is to a collector.

By Dick Harrison (Full-time Successful Art Rep to Interior Designers for more than 20 years)

I met Dick Harrison years ago when we were both trolling the Wet Canvas boards seeking eyeballs for our first art marketing books. I don’t think he had yet celebrated the 40th anniversary of his 39th birthday then. That way of putting things in a humorous, clever manner speaks volumes about what a smart, delightful character he is.

Dick has been a tremendous source of inspiration to me. I marvel at how he has taken to learning new technology and is reinventing what he calls his last career writing books and advising visual artists. I only hope to be as active and exciting as he is when I celebrate the 40th anniversary of my 39th birthday.


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