“Sell” Is Not a Four Letter Word
by Jane Croy
Back in the 70s, we were young art “hippies” working hard to fight against the “norm”. We were taught to create art for art’s sake - not for the specific purpose of sales. I can’t remember a time that marketing art or the selling of one’s artwork ever came up in our art classes. There was a sort of “if you paint it, they will come” attitude and the ideal of the “starving artist” was a position of pride.
What a rude awakening for us as we graduated with our BAs, BFAs or even our MAs and MATs, only to find that our diploma and a dollar wouldn’t even buy us a cup of coffee. Though we might have known the latest movements in the art scene or the newest artistic techniques, we didn’t have a clue about how to take our artwork from the studio to the public. The thought of “sales” was becoming an ever present thought in the back of our minds (due to the increasing need for food and sustenance) but we couldn’t force ourselves to verbalize that horrible four letter word (“sell”) to ourselves, much less to each other. It seemed “beneath” us to try to market what we had so lovingly created.
What was needed then and what artists across the nation and even around the world need now is some basic business knowledge for marketing artwork. Especially in the current downturn of the economy, artists need to learn to avoid costly mistakes in their business practices. But that’s where the trouble lies. Most artists have an amount of business knowledge that is slim to none and have no idea, other than by trial and error, how to successfully take their work from the studio to the buying public. It doesn’t help that the business of art is a left-brained activity for a right-brained individual either.
That’s why I’m beginning this blog as a sort of “step by step” guide for artists to find a way to use the business of sales as an asset in their artistic endeavors - not a distraction or deterrent to their ability to create. I hope you’ll join me as I share tips and tricks of successful “selling” artists. (See, it’s not a four letter word.)
Jane Croy: I began my art career with a BA and MAT which I used to teach junior high students. It is said that if you can teach junior high students that you can do anything. With that confidence, I began my life as a professional artist, ultimately owning my own art gallery. As a gallery owner I began to delve into the business of art, especially what was most successful for artists and to which artists and why. I’ve compiled this information in my book, The $even $teps to $elling Your Artwork, and will be sharing and updating that information and more on the Artspan Blog.