Is it difficult to become an artist

Why art is often hard to sell

Why art is often hard to sell

"Art is difficult to market." - "The competition on the art market is so great that young, unknown up-and-coming talents have no chance." - “People just have hardly any money left for art.” - These and similar statements can be heard again and again from artists. But it is not right that art is difficult to sell simply because it is art.

Art is just as easy or difficult to market and sell as any other object. Provided the artist does the right thing with the sale. But it is precisely at this point that many artists make a crucial mistake.


Great work, but hardly any income

Many artists are literally bubbling over with creativity. You have grandiose ideas, master the brush masterfully and create wonderful works of art. Nevertheless, they can often hardly make a living from their art.

Some of them sell one or two pictures a month at best, so that the bottom line is that only a few euros come in. With others nothing gets stuck. If you count the paints, the canvases, and the other expenses, the expenses are even higher than the income. The talk then quickly comes of the art of breadlessness.

But the fact that being an artist turned out to be difficult has nothing to do with the artistic ability or the quality of the pictures. Or with the fact that the artist does not meet the taste of potential buyers with his style. For every work of art there is someone who has been looking for exactly such a picture and would love to buy it.

The reason why art is often difficult to sell is because of the selling itself. Many artists simply ignore a point that is the basis for successful marketing.

Why art is often hard to sell

This crucial point can best be explained with an example: Suppose there is a city festival. The entire pedestrian zone is transformed into a huge market square with all kinds of stalls and booths. There is food and drink, comfortable seating, smaller stages and rides for the little ones.

Of course, there are also artists and artisans who offer their work for sale. The weather is good and so countless visitors stroll through the streets. So the conditions actually seem ideal. Even so, at the end of the day, many artists didn't sell a single painting. And that although many visitors admired and praised the wonderful work. So what went wrong?

The answer is simple: supply and demand did not match. This does not mean that the works of art did not meet people's taste or could not convince in terms of quality. Or that the audience wasn't interested in art. But: Suppose an artist presents a nice selection of his work at his stand at the city festival. Most of them are painted on large-format canvases and prices start at 500 euros.

A buyer who wants to treat himself to a new painting and is willing to spend several hundred euros for it will look around a gallery, go to a vernissage, rummage in the art trade or visit the artist's studio.

But he probably didn't have a lot of money in his pocket and went looking for a work of art at a market stall at a city festival. And even if he happens to come across a picture that he really likes, he probably won't buy it on the street and carry the expensive painting around with him all day.

The visitor to the city festival is more interested in nice little things and pretty souvenirs. If the artist had used some of his motifs and created greeting cards, bookmarks, mugs or small art prints with them, his cash register would certainly not have been empty after the city festival.

The supply must be where the demand is

Of course, the artist doesn't have to bend. And of course he shouldn't adapt his work to potential buyers. But art and marketing are not mutually exclusive. The attitude of preferring not to sell works of art, in which there is a lot of dedication and work, than to market them like any other things or utensils, is a luxury that very few artists can afford.

If the artist wants to make a living from his art, then he has to choose the sales channels in which his work can develop the right effect. Supply and demand have to go hand in hand. Otherwise the sale won't work.

This in turn applies to all sales platforms. If the artist also offers greeting cards and bookmarks or vouchers for small workshops in his studio in addition to the actual works of art in his online shop, that's certainly fine. But it is out of place in a gallery with greeting cards and bookmarks. The same applies to workshop vouchers for a vernissage.

Likewise, the artist does not have to operate all channels. And it doesn't have to be present everywhere with the same offer. A typical mistake is that many artists do not consciously consider which works they offer galleries, show at exhibitions, present in the online shop, present on social media and take them to markets.

Rather, they just always pack everything up in the hope of finding buyers. However, it is much more effective to make decisions and set priorities.

The crucial question at this point is where your own supply best meets the demand, which is definitely there. If the artist tailors his presence to his target group, he is well on the way to becoming a creative person who not only lives for his art, but can also live from it.

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Topic: Why art is often difficult to sell

Owner at Artdefects Media Verlag
Ferya Gülcan, artist name "Feryal", painter and photographer, Norbert Sachmann, gallery owner, Christian Gülcan (RZA) painter and owner of various art portals write interesting facts about international art, galleries, painting techniques and art history.

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Ferya Gülcan, artist name "Feryal", painter and photographer, Norbert Sachmann, gallery owner, Christian Gülcan (RZA) painter and owner of various art portals write interesting facts about international art, galleries, painting techniques and art history. Show all contributions by editors

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