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Letter #6

Dear Artist,

Who buys art? Basically it’s people who want something from the purchase. But what is it that they want?


I never really thought about this until I actually decided to sell my work, but for art to sell it must fill a need. The “need” can vary from customer to customer but there are general standards that often apply. Let’s discuss what the main considerations are in most art purchases.


Artwork often needs to be appealing to the buyer. Whether it is color, subject matter, technique, or simple aesthetics at least one thing needs to click with the viewer.  In other words, something about the piece needs to invite the viewer in to make a purchase. However, an alternate buyer may desire an art piece to mean more to him than just something to hang on the wall.


Relationships are critically important for artists to sell their pieces. How do you fit into your community? Having a presence within your community can be a catalyst to selling your work. Giving back as much as possible by donating art to the local art programs can be super beneficial for all involved. Being a person who supports others is a positive community attribute and builds relationships.


Do you belong to any local or state art associations? Finding your people is important and it’s never too late to begin to seek out friendships. These groups are made up of people who appreciate art and also understand it. These people can be a strong foundation in an art career as grants and commissions can come from these groups.


Honestly if you think that your art piece will sell itself without any involvement from you or a gallery salesperson you are probably not going to be selling much. There is a reason gallery owners are pushy, there is more to selling art than just the art piece’s appearance. Learning how to sell is as important as learning how to create. They go hand in hand if you want to succeed without losing 50% of your commission.


Where does the artist draw the line between being and artist and a salesperson? The lines blur for the very best artists. Andy Warhol was selling portrait after portrait not just the famous ones he exhibited. Selling allows you to make more work, so creating work that sells is a necessity for the career artist.


Consider this statement from Mark Rothko, “A painting is not a picture of an experience, but is the experience.” Career artists need the experience of creating art. It is as natural as breathing. So figuring out how to sell might be as important an experience as learning how to draw.


Another Rothko statement is a good way to end this discussion, “The progression of a painter’s work…will be toward clarity; toward the elimination of all obstacles between the painter and the idea, and between the idea and the observer…to achieve this clarity is, inevitably, to be understood.” I’ll let you consider what this means to you, but for me it is crystal clear. Make more art and allow yourself to be understood.


 Art is not just a color, a tree, or filling space; it lives, breathes, and adds life. It is the life of an artist, and shared with the observer.


Would you like me to give you a quick evaluation on an art piece? Send a photo of the art piece to Uncle5star_studioselfie4 in an Instagram message.


Now be a good artist and go paint a picture,


Uncle Salvador

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