(English only – sorry! Anglais seulement, désolée !)
As I just start having my works hung in galleries and knowing nothing about the art business but curating technics learnt at Uni, I was desperate to get some guidance – and try not having to learn too much from my mistakes. The Artist’s guide to selling work, second edition (Annabelle Ruston, Bloomsbury), is full of good advice and tips. It’s directed to beginners, but I suppose it can be a good reminder tool to use as an established artist. It covers a wide range of points such as personal organisation, online presence, networking and social skills, CV making, pricing of pieces, galleries and publishers terms and contracts, copyright overview… most of this points being illustrated on the final chapter with a few cases study.
I am the less organised person ever, I’m also terribly shy and not very self-confident; this book was a bit of a treasure for me. I started to keep records – of works, of clients, of “art money” in and out – wrote my “artist’s CV” (which doesn’t actually look bad) and try to price my work the best way possible – although I confess that Stuart’s advice helped me a lot after I brought my pieces to the Unexpected Artist.
The tips on how to approach visitors and potential buyers are also really valuable. The last time I went to a fair, I was terrified, I couldn’t speak about my work properly and basically whished not to be here. Working full time in retail made me kind of fear people (as a very sensitive person, and because I haven’t been raised that way, I can’t stand rudeness and ignorance, even knowing that people didn’t mean it) and I tend to avoid social contact when I can. This book presents new way of introduce people to your art, to interest them and make them feel closer to the artwork. I am sure that next time I’ll be ready to talk about the story of each piece, to involve my visitors and to dedicate prints.
The only topic that wasn’t really helpful for me was the “online presence”. I have a website, write a blog, am on social media and am pretty active on them, but I am in a massive phase of stagnation for months now. What’s the best way to reach new audiences? By sharing, I suppose. Although I apply my moto “to be interesting, be interested” all the time, I rarely find fellow artists supportive, which is sad. I know I can be awkward (misuses of English and my own personality never helped that) and my art isn’t as good as other’s, but I can’t possibly believe that this is the only problem… Where are the “sharing is caring” spirit, the sense of community? From now on, every Thursday, either in here or on Facebook I’ll speak about cool artists I know and try to make the art world a better place.
4 thoughts on “The Artist’s guide to selling work”
Why don’t you collaborate with other artists ? You’ll certainly open your network and will open your doors to new customers. That’s what did most of the famous artists before being recognised themselves.
Collaborate in the production of a piece you mean?
Otherwise I’m working with two galleries, am member of an artists organisation and go to network meetings every monday 🙂 it’s good for tips although we’re quite a lot not knowing what we’re doing :’) (section “news” of the blog)
Yes complete a piece of art with another artist. But it seems you’re already very present on the art scene !
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It looks nicer on the paper :p I’d love to work with another artist actually, I’ve been thinking about that all day after you suggested it >_>