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7 Ways to Sell Art Without Gallery Representation

January, 2017

It’s no secret that some artists feel pushed when someone tries to force gallery representation onto them. 

And although galleries provide sort of an acknowledgement of an artist’s talent, they are not the best way to actually make money by selling art.

7 Ways How to Sell Art Without Gallery Representation

Check out these seven ways to avoid galleries when trying to make it as an artist. 

1. Social Media

Every well-established artist has online presence on at least 3 social networking platforms: Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram. 

Polls show that customers today are more likely to use social media to buy art than ever before.

You might wonder: “But what platforms should I use?”

Well, the only way to find out is to give them all a try and decide which ones suit your needs best.

The best strategy, however, is to choose a few or even just a couple of social platforms and do them well than have a lot of neglected accounts. 

MORE: What is The Best Social Platform For Selling Art?

2. Commissions

There are websites that offer art commissions for painters of all sorts. 

Among the most popular are CanvasMyPhoto and PaintYourLife, which let their customers upload photos and have them turned into paintings. 

Unfortunately, they’re not accepting new painters to work for them - customer orders are completed by a select group of artists only. 

Drawberry.com stands out among the rest of similar services for two main reasons, which make it uniquely useful to both artists AND customers:

  1. Drawberry provides free space for communication between customers and artists, meaning that you don’t have to pay any fees to sign up for Drawberry as either an artist or a customer
  2. Drawberry provides its users with a bidding-based platform that guarantees best performance to price ratio

Commissions are a viable business strategy for an artist, but before you go to accept commissions, make sure you know what’s involved in the process and that you’re fully prepared.

RELATED: Answer These 7 Questions Before Accepting Any Commissions

3. Personal Website

Just like with social media, a website or a blog for your art business is a great way of reaching out to your customers. 

A personal website would also tell more about your artistic side than a Facebook page. 

However, you should keep in mind that customer opinion will be influenced not only by the works that you upload to your website, but by the website itself. 

MORE: Avoid These 5 Common Mistakes When Building an Artist Website

When your website is all set, find ways to promote it. Otherwise potential buyers won’t be able to find you online. 

4. Newsletter

You’ve got a contact list? Great. Now be sure to use it!

A lot of artists find commissions and are able to sell their works via newsletters. 

A newsletter is a direct communication channel between you and your audience, whoever they may be.

You can share ideas, your recent works, inspiration, or keep your fans entertained and interested in any other way through newsletters.

5. Retailers

Another way to bypass galleries in pursuit of customers is through art retailers. 

There are two kinds of art retailers: 

  1. the ones that sell your works through consignment, i.e. those who share the profit with you after your painting has been sold;
  2. the ones who sell your artwork through wholesale, which means that the retailer pays you in full for your piece of art and then sells it to the public (normally at a higher price).

Some reputable artists argue that selling artwork through wholesale is better, because it forces the shop that has already purchased your artwork to be more aggressive in trying to sell it to the public.

However, if you choose consignment, make sure you go through every detail of the contract before you sign it, or ask your legal advisor to assist you with that. 

Check out this list of art retailing platforms you can trust. 

6. Interior Designers

If you are willing to try selling art to retailers, you might as well consider interior designers. 

Why?

There are many more interior designers in the U.S. than art galleries. 

You’ll need to make your work complement nowaday design trends, otherwise interior designers won’t even think about trying to sell your art...

For more help, read our guide on selling artwork to interior designers

7. Licensing and Merchandising

Sell your art on a piece of solid material. 

Some consider merchandising one of the funniest ways of selling art. 

If you want to have a start in art licensing and merchandising, you should do extensive research first… Try to make a list of art publishers, get in touch with other artists and ask them what companies they use to sell art and finally - go directly to the websites of companies that make products you’d like to see your art on. 


The above-mentioned ways of selling art require just a laptop and a stable internet connection. 

But remember: going offline to sell your art is not so bad either, especially if you’re an emerging artist.  

Some of the most common ‘offline’ places to sell your art are art fairs and exhibitions. 

READ MORE ON THIS: How to Stand Out at an Art Fair

One tip you may want to remember: you should always go where your customers might go, whether it’s a website or a contemporary art exhibition. 


Gallery representation can be really helpful, but it’s hardly the only option for artists to sell art. 

As for the other ways of selling art - the important thing is to believe that you can make a living without galleries and to keep trying different options. 

If you decide to go with Drawberry, you will be able to earn a steady income that will grow proportionally to your effort.



Comments
  • Mena - 02/22/17 19:25
    You write so hoelstny about this. Thanks for sharing!
  • Carolina Adan Caro - 04/28/17 11:07
    I love Drawberry. It is a pleasure as an artist that there are pages like Drawberry. Thank you so much
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