The reason your story is so important is that when you sell a piece of art, it isn’t just the work you’re selling. You’re selling an emotional experience, from beginning to end. Telling a story, both about yourself as a creative and about the individual pieces, creates a shortcut for emotional connection with your potential customers. And an emotional connection isn’t just more likely to sell a piece of art- it’s more likely to create repeat customers and raving fans.
Once you’ve pinpointed what makes your work unique and figured out how to present yourself and your work in a compelling way, you’ll want to make that story consistent and coherent across social media platforms, on your website if you have one (and you should if you want to sell your creative work), and in person.
Here are a few great examples of artists who tell their story in a clear and compelling way:
3. Decide how you’ll make money
The internet has, in many ways, absolutely leveled the playing field for creatives with decent work who are willing to show up and put in the hours necessary. Depending on whether you just want to sell embroidered pillows on the side or you want to quit your day job and make floral oil paintings full time, there’s a business model that will work for you. It may take some trial and error to discover what really works for you (you’ll need to know where your audience is and how they like to purchase art). The main business models for artists are:
- Traditional galleries
- Selling prints (often through online marketplaces like Zazzle)
- Selling original work directly to customers (through your website, outdoor art fairs, marketplaces like Etsy, etc)
- Commission work
Each model requires different ways of doing business, but each will require that you know what makes your work unique and how to tell your story, and none of them will require that you change who you are or drift from your personal creative vision if you don’t want to. So why not give selling your art a try?
And of course, if selling your art is not true to who you are, that’s fine too. If, after going through this process, you decide that you don’t want to focus on a single line of work, or you just want art-making to be a hobby, that’s really great! You can let go of the need to sell, and begin telling your well-meaning friends and family that you have no interest in selling, but you’ll gladly gift them a new piece. Not everything has to be a side hustle, and that’s beautiful.
Thanks Sharayah, really helpful advice and post.
Hi, this article has a lot of great tips, but I disagree. You can be a sell out, but it’s not what you think. It’s not from selling your art work or becoming a professional artist. I believe it is from selling your ideals to make money. If you are passionate about something and you take money from someone to make something you don’t feel comfortable with in order to become popular or rich you have sold your soul.
Mind you I really don’t think that an artist on Etsy or selling something in an art fair will be forced to make this choice. I believe the idea of selling out is more about greed and pride. Not about someone trying to pay bills with a second job as an artist.
Great article! Thanks!
Thanks for sharing your feedback and appreciating our article, Pour Tea Cup!