Rise Art founder Scott Phillips and curator Sergio Fernandez list tips for artists on how to promote and sell their work.
1. Know your practice, and ‘self curate’ accordingly:
We come across artists all the time who display and submit artwork from multiple projects with no apparent connection or theme. They don’t curate or present their work cohesively, and as a result it is hard to understand their motivations, influences, focus and direction. When promoting your practice, it is important to know what you stand for and what sets you apart – then select and present your work and your artist statement so that these messages really support your portfolio and projects.
2. Make it easy for collectors to find you:
Many artists we work with often have business cards and a personal artist website to support their work. Collectors come across thousands of artists vying for their attention. Once a collector sees your work at a group show or exhibition, make it easy for them to find you and connect with you when they get home. Start a mailing list, and build a database of people interested in your work, and keep them updated on what you are doing.
3. Pricing – set realistic expectations:
Look around at other artists at similar stages of their careers and benchmark your work accordingly. Keep an eye out for what other artists are selling their work for at group & degree shows. Having realistic expectations and awareness will not only help you price your work competitively, but help you communicate your prices to collectors with confidence.
4. Join Online Communities:
There are numerous communities online for artists, including Rise Art, Art Review and Artlyst, not to mention Facebook and Twitter. Find the platform that works for you and make sure that people can easily find your work online and engage directly with you. By building up and actively managing a community online, you can directly influence how many people come to your next offline exhibit or group show.
5. Consider making editions:
Many artists make editions of their works. If done correctly, this can expand your collector base and generate more income for you than sales of unique works might alone. When making editions, it is important to make sure that they represent your work in the best way possible. Spend time investigating different techniques and mediums that work well with your practice. Be wary of making “reproductions” of your work and focus instead on making editions that work alongside your existing portfolio. Consider limiting your editions to low production runs to promote scarcity and value.
6. Sell online at websites right for your work:
Knowing where to sell is important. Depending on your work and ambition there are different sites that will work best for you. Sites like Etsy are great for crafts, while other sites specialise in print-on-demand services. These sites may bring in revenue, but could impact how collectors and galleries view your work, and often attract amateurs as well as serious artists.
Offer collectors interested in your work a framed option for your art. Often, collectors don’t want to deal with the burden of framing, especially if they don’t already have a relationship with someone they trust. Offering a framing option can help sell your work and provide you with additional income from the sale. Plus, offering framing gives you the chance to show collectors how your art looks its best on display.
8. Don’t believe the hype: bigger does not mean better:
While it is important for emerging artists to explore different sizes in their work, keep in mind that bigger isn’t necessarily better. Many collectors may find it difficult to display large installation works, or large format paintings and works of art. We often run into artists who believe that making larger works will support higher prices. Ignore this. At the end of the day, it is an artists work and concept that draws acclaim and commands high prices, not the size of the work
9. Avoid flooding the market with your art:
Artists that are everywhere early in their career are often the artists with the least focus, in our experience. Galleries make their mark often by limiting an artists exposure as well as promoting it. With all of your promotional activities, keep in mind how your work will be perceived as a whole. Focus on the projects and promotions that matter for your work, and ignore the rest.
10. Stay true to your ideas:
It is important for young and emerging artists to experiment and try new things, but stay true to your ideas and beliefs. Strive to develop a recognizable voice that sets your work apart from others and make that voice evident throughout each of your projects.
Rise Art is the curated art marketplace, helping connect talented artists with art enthusiasts worldwide. An online art gallery with a twist, Rise Art is a community-based platform that showcases cutting-edge work from around the world. Any artist can build a profile and community around their practice. On a regular basis, Rise Art Select Artists are chosen by our community and the Rise Art Board of Curators, a panel of industry insiders and experts.
Scott Phillips is one of the founders of Rise Art. Scott works with Rise Art’s selected Artists and Curators on a daily basis, and is an avid supporter and collector of emerging art. Sergio Fernandez is Rise Art’s head internal Curator. He collaborates with each of Rise Art’s Select Artists to commission and produce new artwork for sale.
© Scott Phillips and Sergio Fernandez 2011