The Reasons Why I Shouldn’t Sell Art

By Jessica Craddock | Increase Art Sales

I was recently asked, "If you know so much, why aren't you selling your own art?"

It's a great question - and one that's probably gone through many of your minds at one point or another - so I'd like to address it as honestly as I can.

Art is something that I love to do. I spent years of my life and lots of dollars to get a degree in Painting. I look fondly on every single one of those dollars I've had to pay off. 

I still paint - but I paint for me. For relaxation. For the joy of mixing colors. For a hobby my daughter and I love doing together. 

With that being said, painting is also no longer something that consumes my thoughts. It has become a side note in my life.

Turning it into a business would suck the joy out of getting lost in painting for me.

(If any of this resonates with you, I want you to reconsider building an art business. There are a million businesses in the world that you could start - pick another. The joy art can bring is not worth losing if you are not 1000% committed to this being your dream.)

So why do you teach other artists how to sell art?

I am a problem solver. Learning whatever I can to solve a problem becomes an obsession for me. That's how I got here.

I wanted to learn to sell my art so...

  • I took a job doing all the marketing, event planning, desk work etc. for a prominent artist in college
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    That led to a job at a marketing firm
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    That led to an interest in designing websites and a self-run business
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    That led to a realization my clients couldn't just hire me to make them a website and they'd be successful - they needed more guidance than that

While I was transitioning my business to teach marketing and websites - it hit me that artists needed that guidance just as much (or more) than everyone else

In fact, isn't that how I got here in the first place? Once the idea was in my head - I couldn't do anything else. That was it. 

It had all come full circle. My path has taken 9 years from starting to learn marketing to now, but I wouldn't have it any other way.

They say it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert in something. From my calculations, I'm 20,000+ hours in when it comes to learning marketing and websites. 

I don't claim to be an expert in everything - but I do teach what I know from experience. If you want to know how to sell art posting to Facebook, I'll give you some pointers, but I won't claim to be an expert.

If you want to learn to sell art on your website, stick with me and I'll teach you a thing or two.

"What does this have to do with me?"

The answer to the million dollar question, "How do I get people to buy my art?", is simple. It's the execution that requires all the work. 

To consistently sell your art, you have to be able to convince the people who run across you:

  • 1
    Your art is 110% worth whatever you are charging
  • 2
    You are a complete professional, they like and/or relate to you and they have 100% trust in you.

Because my art doesn't consume me, I would never be able to sell it based on these two rules.   

  • I wouldn't be able to create art consistently enough to be perceived as a professional (which would also lose the trust I need)
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    Because I'm not obsessed with being better and better, I'm not going to convince anyone I'm worth investing their hard-earned money in
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    I might be able to sell pieces - but not for a lot, not consistently and not enough to have people interested enough to follow my art career, become repeat customers and be willing to pay 'career artist' prices.

So what do you think? Do you have what it takes?

If you aren't sure, I made you a worksheet that will help you gather your thoughts on whether or not you really want an art business. 

There is no right or wrong answer here. Some people are meant to be business owners. The ones that can do it around their passions are truly the lucky ones. 

However, if there are aspects of running a business you aren't willing to do, then I don't want you to waste hours and hours trying to build one. It will ruin your relationship with art and you can't get that time back.

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About the Author

Jessica's college experience was spent falling in love with getting her hands dirty. She showed her paintings at art galleries all over the city, but kept waiting to "make it". After the galleries took 30-50%, she would never be able to pay the bills. Determined to learn where she was going wrong, she took a job at a marketing firm where she managed over 50 projects at a time for three years, then ran her own web design company for the next three. Combining all of her unique skills, she opened The Artist Market Co. to teach artists techniques to create a thriving online business from their craft.

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