The Power of Artistic Consistency: Why Galleries Value Style

This is the best explanation I’ve heard on why galleries require style.

— Tina Swindell

As artists, we understand the exhilarating allure of experimentation, switching mediums, dabbling with colors, and journeying through an array of styles. But when it comes to making our mark in art galleries, the key often lies in a concept entirely removed from constant experimentation: consistency. 

This quote comes from a conversation in an artist community on social media where an artist shared,

“I believe one of my drawbacks as an artist is my varying painting styles, which tend to puzzle people! I’ve noticed galleries tend to favor a uniform style for an exhibition. They don’t seem to be big fans of displaying a mixed bag of styles from a single artist.” 

He’s not alone; countless artists are like him. I told him it was okay to make art as he likes to make it. Building a thriving art business costs too much for many artists. Turning your passion into a business is not for everyone. And besides, no one can have it all because where would they put it?

So, I replied to enlighten him and then wrote this post to help other artists understand why galleries— and often collectors, too expect consistency in style from artists.

Striking a Balance: Artistic Expression and Marketability 

There’s an inherent beauty in the freedom of artistic expression, the liberty to create art by any means you desire. Yet, consistency is king when making a mark in the gallery world. Having been immersed in the art world for years, I can confidently say that having a distinct, recognizable style helps pique interest and drive demand. 

Consistency isn’t just a fad; it’s a powerful tool for motivating collectors to invest in multiple pieces from a single artist’s portfolio. Think about it – it’s a massive boon when you don’t have to start from scratch each time you want to sell a piece. Galleries thrive on repeat sales, and having a band of loyal collectors with a continued interest in your style is their winning card. 

The Art of Customer Cultivation: An Exercise 

I invite you to take a breather and consider the intricacies of curating a list of potential contacts for your art business. From experience and instinct, you know that recruiting customers is a complex, demanding job. Well, it’s just as challenging for gallery owners. 

The process of discovering an active art buyer from a sea of potential enthusiasts is a daunting one. Not to mention, it’s near impossible to bank on your customers to have overlapping interests when your main goal is selling art. 

Nurturing a dedicated base of patrons for a specific style of art is a resource-intensive task. And that’s just step one of converting potential patrons into regular customers. Galleries can’t create a fresh pool of prospective buyers whenever an artist switches styles randomly. Besides, these style hops can often lead to confusion and dissatisfaction among previous buyers. 

Embracing the Marketplace Reality: Artistic Freedom and Commercial Success 

By its very nature, art is a field marked by diversity and exploration. However, the marketplace often leans towards consistency. If you’re a creator whose style spans a vast spectrum, you may find it challenging to find a gallery that can build a cohesive audience likely to buy your work repeatedly. 

Remember, nothing is impossible, but the level of complication in marketing and selling art depends heavily on the decisions you make as an artist. If steady sales are your aim, find the style that quickly gets your art off the walls.

As the country saying goes, “Dance with the one who brung ya!” 

Lastly, exploring various styles may widen your horizon but could also stifle your growth in any particular style. So, choose your path wisely. 

A Tale of Focus: The Success of Mark Maggiori

Recently, I attended an awe-inspiring art sale and auction event at the Legacy Gallery in Scottsdale. The star of the evening was the highly talented Italian artist Mark Maggiori, whose solo show fetched an astounding $3 million or more in sales that night. This wasn’t just a remarkable event; it was record-breaking. Everyone in attendance knew they had witnessed an extraordinary event they would never forget.

Legacy Gallery, recognized as the premier Western art gallery in the U.S. hosted the show. One could easily attribute the evening’s success to Mark’s exceptional artistic abilities. While this is undeniably true, there’s more to the story than meets the eye. A critical factor that set the stage for this blockbuster event was the thematic consistency in Mark’s art—every piece was a Western-themed image.

“Living With The Mountains”
48×38 inches Oil on linen.
Image courtesy of Legacy Gallery sold for $300,000

Mark’s artistry lies not just in his talent but also in his consistency. Had his artwork strayed from this uniform theme, the event might not have happened.

His work’s consistent style placed him on the podium at one of the top art galleries in the U.S. It allowed the Legacy Gallery to successfully cultivate an audience who appreciate and desire Mark’s Western-themed art. They were there to buy, as the lively and intense bidding proved.

Choosing Art for Art’s Sake: A Delicate Balance

This brings us to an intriguing crossroads. As an artist, you may be inclined to think, “Why should I restrict myself to one style or theme? I want to make art for art’s sake.” And that’s completely valid. However, it’s crucial to understand that this choice might come with inevitable trade-offs.

Choosing to dabble in a myriad of styles can indeed broaden your artistic horizons and bring you personal satisfaction. Yet, this diversity might limit opportunities for gallery representation and developing a dedicated collector base. Galleries and collectors often seek consistency, a recognizable signature style they can associate with an artist.

Moreover, constantly shifting between styles can inadvertently limit your potential for mastery in any particular one. Developing a consistent manner allows you to delve deeper into that style, refining your skills and carving a unique niche in the art world. Mark Maggiori’s success is a testament to the potential rewards of this approach.

This is not to say that you should restrict your creative spirit. By all means, explore, experiment, and let your imagination run wild. Just remember that in the art business, there is often a delicate balance between artistic freedom and commercial success. As artists, we must recognize this and make informed choices about our creative journey.

So, whether you stick to one style or explore many, do it with understanding and intent. Choose your path wisely, and remember: each decision shapes not only your art but also the opportunities that come your way in the bustling art marketplace.

Elevate Your Art Business with the Art Business Academy 

Now that we’ve journeyed through the nuances of style and consistency in the art industry, let’s dive into an exceptional opportunity that could take your art business to the next level – the Art Business Academy. 

The Art Business Academy, led by my good friend Jason Horejs, provides a comprehensive online course tailored specifically for artists. With his extensive background in the art industry, where coincidentally he started his art career at the Legacy Gallery shipping department at the young age of 17 to establishing his highly-regarded Xanadu Gallery, Jason’s expertise and knowledge are valuable assets that he shares through the Academy’s insightful guidance.

The Academy’s course comprises interactive multimedia lessons covering all aspects of the art business. These lessons are paired with live Q&A sessions and a dedicated artist community. The instruction is designed to facilitate a dynamic and individualized learning experience. Plus, you’ll have the chance to get your work personally reviewed by Jason. 

In addition to the rich knowledge and resources provided through the Art Business Academy, your one-time lifetime membership also grants you access to a brand-new course: “Social Marketing Insider for Artists.” This course, brought to life by Jason’s innovative approach to art marketing, offers insights on how to use social media advertising to promote and sell art. 

Register for the Art Business Academy Lifetime Membership today and start your transformation journey. Let’s make your art shine brighter than ever before. 

Click Here to Register for Xanadu Gallery’s Art Business Academy Today 

Remember, the journey of an artist is ever-evolving. The Art Business Academy could be your next stepping stone to thriving in the art world. 


Tags


You may also like

  • Thanks, Barney, for making this issue crystal clear. I might add…. it's ok to use a variety of subject matter as long as you portray them in your signature style.

    • Thanks for your reply and additional comment. You’re spot on with it. I see 2D art and sculpture from Guilloume in the Xanadu Gallery. Collectors buy both. The key is they are recognizable as his work.

  • Spot on, Barney! Thanks, as always, for your insights. I discovered the truth to this discussion years ago, and thankfully I love to continue to paint in my signature style, which galleries that represent my work exhibit. I do have another body of work I have developed for many years, and I have a special page on my website that showcases this separate style and medium. It doesn't interfere with people viewing the work they have come to like and expect. So far it lives in my studio. Someday I may market it as well, but it would be as a separate body of work, not mixed in with my recognizable style.

  • Hello Barney, My name Cynthia Jackson. Suddenly, lights go on while reading your article! I am so "guilty as charged"!! What would you charge to mentor me by looking at my clumsy progress, and with a few phone calls to straighten out my YouTube Channel; my website: accidental masterpiece.com; my Pixels.com website, and my art in general? I am thinking that I will indeed join your AMTP, post haste! But I have gone off track now for so many years that I critically need help to get back! Either way, thank you for the article. Very helpful! Cheers, Cynthia Jackson cjn.

    • Hi Cynthia, Thank you for your comment and question. You are not alone. Many artists find themselves off the tracks now and then. The good thing is you can fix it. I am happy to help you. I see you have joined the AMTP already, so welcome, and thanks for that too! I am flexible when working with artists because each person and situation is unique. I suggest reviewing this page https://barneydavey.com/coaching/ to learn more about how I work with artists one-on-one. Please let me know if you have questions or how I can help you. All the best.

  • christine forbes says:

    Thanks for sharing the importants of style .
    Now i will work on this valuable information.

  • Очень полезная статья. Полностью с Вами согласен. Но следовать Вашим советам для меня никак не получается. У меня основная тема городсой пейзхаж. Но очень тянет и к друггим пейзажам, портретам, жанровым сюжетам, цветам. Более менее покупается только городской пейзаж и природа.
    Спасибо за науку и интересс к мукам художников.

  • {"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

    Subscribe to weekly updates. 
    "Helpful information & encouraging inspiration for fine artists."  


    Search This Site

    >