One of the reasons I – as an artist – love to attend the reception at galleries for my work is that I get to meet collectors and THINK LIKE A BUYER.
Artists love to wax on about inspiration and process. It’s a lovely way to spend a life. I do it too.
But when someone is thinking about buying art, they tend to be looking through a much more practical lens. When I talk to people at receptions, openings, and shows, I get an earful about how they want to live with the art.
In fact, a gallery is sort of a hospital for art. It’s the physical space or building that symbolizes the transition from your bringing the artwork into existence to a buyer adopting/purchasing it and taking it into the real world to live.
You could apply this metaphor to an online gallery as well… whether it’s the one on your own blog or website or the store gallery you create through Etsy.
Assuming that a buyer does feel an attraction to your work – color, size, subject matter, technique, materials, and pricepoint – then he or she has to think about how to live with this work.
Questions arise like:
- How will I hang or display this art?
- Will I need to create wall space by moving out something I already own?
- Will I need a special cabinet?
- What about lighting?
- What else could I purchase for the same price?
- If I’m buying this art online, will it be easy to order and ship?
- What is the quality of the workmanship?
- What is the likely longevity of this item – due to materials, workmanship or style/trends?
- What happens if I buy this work and wish to return it?
- Is this work collectible? Is there a resale market?
- What makes this work unique?
- Am I buying this as a decorative piece for my home or am I investing in owning a piece of work from this artist?
- How will I keep up with the reputation and career of this artist?
While clearly not an all-inclusive list, these questions do provide a jumping point for you to think about how to position your work. Think about how you might present answers to these questions on your website, in your printed materials, and even in the way you speak to potential buyers in the gallery or in your studio.
If you live in the Bay Area and want to join a 4-week workshop on developing a sales strategy for your art, think about joining our group. We’ll be meeting at New Pieces in Berkeley in March 2011.