Why Some Artists Almost Always Make Money Selling Their Art

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“Unknown Artist Drowning Girl” by Roy Lichtenstein

Have you ever known an artist whose work was incredible but they never seem to sell anything?  Or what about the opposite?  Have you ever seen an artist whose work was not that great but they sold things all the time and for really high prices?

You’ve probably wondered how this could be.

Some artists, without ever really being conscious of what they’re doing, stumble upon the right combination of marketing and selling strategies.   Their work may not be that great, but something else very powerful is coming into play.

And other artists work hard at their craft and yet never stumble upon the right selling formulas or techniques.   And, sadly, their careers flounder.  As a result, their beautiful work ends up collecting dust in an attic.  Their genius is lost forever. I’ve known artists like this and probably you have too.

Something tells me you’re just … well … smarter than most artists looking to market online.

You’re not interested in lame “get rich quick” schemes. You’re not looking for a magical silver bullet that involves no work, no time, and no sense.

In other words, you don’t have to be Einstein to “get” this stuff. But you’d have to be an idiot to believe some of the stuff peddled by traditional Internet marketing “gurus.”

So what is the dividing line between an artist whose career takes off and an artist whose career flounders?  It’s simple.  It’s the word “sell.”

You Must Learn How to Sell

For many artists the word “sell” is a vulgar word.  I once thought the same way.  I strongly believed that selling was beneath me.  I thought my work would just naturally attract the right people at the right time.

I was once too proud and too arrogant to lower myself to sell.

And then I had an eye-opening experience……

My Story of Learning about Marketing and Selling Art

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Roy Lichtenstein, American Pop Art Icon

When I first moved to New York City in 1998, I had a chance encounter with a powerful gallery director from Manhattan.

I met her at a gallery opening and we became good friends. We would often meet for lunch near the SoHo gallery where she worked.

During the course of her incredible career, she had worked side-by-side with the famous American pop art icon Roy Lichtenstein.

She took me under her wing, and over the course of several months, taught me everything she knew about how to make it in the highly competitive New York City art world.

She introduced me to people.  But more importantly, she educated me.

And here is the most astounding thing she told me about Roy Lichtenstein.  She said that he spent 80% of his work week marketing and selling.  And he only spent 20% of his week actually making his paintings.

Think about that for one minute.  That means he only spent about one day a week actually making his paintings.  And the other 4 days of the week he spent selling and marketing.

She told me that Roy Lichtenstein became an art star because he worked very hard at selling and marketing and not because he worked hard at his painting.

She told me that if I wanted to be a successful and highly acclaimed artist, I needed to do the same.

There are many artists who have created great bodies of work.  The problem is, the sale goes not to the best artist, but to those who can sell the best.  In other words, not being able to sell is very expensive.  It costs you untold dollars in lost business!  It can cost you your entire career.

In conclusion….

There’s no way around it.  You must learn how to sell.  You must learn how to sell in-person.  And you must learn how to sell on the internet, through your website or blog.

Remember how I talked about in the first couple of paragraphs of this article how some people just stumble along and by accident learn to sell well.  Don’t rely on accidents when it comes to growing your career.

Find experts who can mentor you in the art of selling.  But choose your experts carefully. 

As you follow along with me through coming articles, I will be teaching you everything that my powerful Manhattan gallery director friend taught me.

Please read these articles carefully.  Learn to sell and your career will always flourish.

FREE Video Training for Artists

And for more winning ideas for selling your art, grab my FREE Video Training for Artists.  You’re gonna love this FREE 3-part video series that will help you sell more art.

Comments

  1. I didn’t know that about Roy Lichtenstein and I find that not an attractive idea to spend so much more time on selling than on creating. However, this post realy makes you think longer about how much attention you should pay to marketing. Thank you.
    Paula

  2. This is very generous of you to pass on this information. Thank you and luckily for you( as you know already) what goes around comes around.

    Karina

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