In real life, the artists who aren’t scared to talk to people, who accept the invitation when a local news show wants to interview them, who make it a point to make get to know gallery owners and collectors... those are the artists who are famous in your community... the ones who are “making it”.
Some people turn to online sales to get away from all that. But that’s why they don’t make it online either. You can’t build a website, hide behind the pretty pictures and wait for the sales to roll in.
When people find you, you’ve got to be ready for them. You need to practice talking about your art… and yourself. Practice having conversations. Practice connecting with people.
If talking about yourself makes your skin crawl, take heart in the fact that online you don’t have to do it face-to-face in real time. But you do have to do it.
Why? There’s millions of artists who want to sell their art.
Your skill will be part of what attracts people to your art, but there’s so many who are talented. Skill isn’t enough to sell consistently. There are hundreds of artists I would like to purchase from - but there isn’t room in either my wallet or on my walls - so you’ve gotta stand out.
Easier said than done, right? Not if you’ve studied what makes people want to buy from you. (Or if you learn from someone who has!)
They see something in you that makes them want to be your friend. That connection won’t happen if you always stay surface level (you like cats and tea). Have opinions (they don’t have to be hot button issues like politics or religion). Talk about what you believe in (is family more important than anything OR do you not want a family because self-identity is more important to you?). You’ll alienate some, but the people who stay will feel that much more attracted to you.
Imagine this... You’re on a date. Would you be more likely to go on a second if a) they talked openly, or b) if they stayed away from any conversation of substance for fear of having different opinions? You’d probably choose the first even if you didn’t agree with them - the second would be a yawn fest.
You can connect your art to their personal values through, again, talking about it. Why you made it. What it represents. Its message.
Even if you think your art isn’t “about anything”, there are thoughts going through your head all the time on repeat. That goes for when you are making art too. In my opinion, even your subconcious thoughts can and should be applied to your art’s message.
Sometimes you don’t have the slightest clue where to start talking about your art. If that’s the case, spend some time learning about your own values and this method will start to click for you. For example, the ones that stand out for myself right now are “inspiration”, “efficiency” and “harmony”. If I was creating an abstract painting with no real mindful direction, I might do some journaling around those words and see how they might’ve influenced my painting on a deeper level.
If you’re up for some self-expansion, try using Caroline Kelso Zook’s “Your Brightest Life Journal”.
Done right, this technique can be powerful. Help them connect your art to an emotion by talking about the feelings you associate with your art. If you are using this one without any success, try describing the feeling instead of naming it.
For example, instead of saying, “These flowers will make you feel happy everyday”, say “These crimson tulips remind us it’s finally the season to spread out your picnic blanket and daydream on your lunch hour.”
If you’ve studied marketing at all, you’ve heard of a niche. A niche is simply a small, targeted group of people - like bird watchers or skateboarders.
To use this one, you would focus your art or commission services specifically to them. For skateboarders, this might look like putting quotes from famous skateboarders on your art or doing commissioned art on skateboards.
Each of these methods require being able to convey a clear, compelling message.
You probably won’t get it right the first time, or even the second, but if you practice, you will get it.
Pick one of these methods to start practicing. Use it in your product and series descriptions. Use it in your website headlines and your about page. Use it in your social media. Use it in your emails. Use it anywhere you write anything related to your art.
Do the work & create your luck,
Jessica Craddock is a consultant for artist entrepreneurs who have started building their following online but haven’t figured who would buy their art. They’re tired of being all over the place and don’t know what to say or how to say it. She teaches them to work smarter and be “authentically them” so they can sell more through their website & spend their days creating beautiful things.
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