Marketing can be challenging for artists. A reader asked us to present creative ways to promote artwork. While galleries have been the traditional route, artists reach potential buyers in many other ways. So we asked artists and experts in the industry to share their best advice for promoting artwork. Read their thoughts below.
“Some ways artists can market their artwork beyond the gallery are street fairs, farmer’s markets, and approaching small businesses. Going to street fairs and farmer’s markets allows you to show the public your work and possibly get someone to purchase some pieces. When you reach out to a small business you are providing a service for the business owner. This could be painting a mural or providing art for the inside of the business. I have worked with many business owners that have then referred me to others allowing me to get my work out to the public for more people to see. For instance, I have installed a large glass chandelier at Mastro’s City Hall Steak House in Scottsdale, AZ, and it is always a talking point for people who visit the restaurant. Getting people talking about your art is the best thing you can do to promote and market your work.” – Newt Grover, Artist and Owner, Newt Glass
Online marketplaces and marketing
“Online marketing can be a game-changer for artists who want to expand their reach and connect with a larger audience. To maximize the potential, it’s crucial to have a solid understanding of social media and SEO fundamentals.
Artists can use dedicated online art marketplaces to get their work in front of potential buyers who are actively shopping for art. To increase the visibility of their work on popular platforms, artists should focus on crafting effective descriptions and using relevant tags. It’s also important to link to your shop from your own website or social media.
Active engagement in the online art community can offer a wealth of opportunities, like finding supportive connections, feeling inspired and motivated, and increasing the visibility of our artwork. It’s important to promote your work in person, too. Many artists find success by participating in pop-ups and conventions, where they can benefit from the energy of being in a market and interacting with potential customers face-to-face.
There are other ways to showcase your work and expand your network offline. For example, you could approach business owners to display your pieces, such as having your artwork for sale on the walls of a local coffee shop. You could also consider taking on commissioned work, like painting a colorful mural on the blank wall of a business, which not only provides exposure but can also generate serious income.
Don’t be afraid to think outside the box when it comes to networking and showcasing your art. Remembering to be creative and have fun can make your marketing efforts feel a lot more natural. Your people are out there, so as an artist, your job is to let your guard down and make yourself visible so they can find you.” – Mary Cannon, Attorney & Entrepreneur, Goodcounsl
Social media platforms and the metaverse
“Social media platforms like Instagram and Twitter are great places to promote your art. The world is in the era of Web3, and the interconnection among artists, audiences and collectors is much more accessible and fluid—digitally. There are many digital galleries too that exist only online and some on the metaverse.
On Twitter, there are ‘Spaces,’ live audio conversations on different topics that anyone can join to listen or participate in, where an artist can be hosted, promoted and critiqued. They can have conversations with buyers, other artists and collectors. This is a new opportunity beyond what we traditional artists have been used to and allows us more creative freedom in all aspects of being an artist—from creating mixed media art to making connections that will allow us to thrive to marketing and selling our work.
Since much of the art is in digital form—the possibility of a European collector meeting an African artist is quite plausible—through the communities created in Spaces. There have been times when I have had to encourage artists to believe in themselves and have the courage to push out their art for the world to see. There is no need for a third party or shared percentages. It’s a direct connection to the collector.
Much of our success is based on the communities being built around us. I have been fortunate enough to enjoy many successes using the methods mentioned above and to have mentored some very talented up-and-coming artists toward their own success stories.” – Fahmi A. Khan, Visual Arts Coordinator, Art Educator, Creativity Coach
NFTs and charitable work
“Gone are the days of competing for gallery space and waiting to be discovered. Build your own audience. The internet has revolutionized the way artists can promote their work. Galleries are still valuable and serve as a long-term strategy. However, artists can build their own networks, culture and galleries. If you don’t have the funds for a physical gallery, you can display your art in the metaverse. This also opens up opportunities for promoting your art by launching it as an NFT with a unique utility, like an embellished painting for every NFT purchased. There are so many avenues and platforms to explore.”
Creating artworks for charity in another way Ehsan promotes his work. “I create art that inspires global peace and donates a portion of the proceeds to charities. When someone collects my art, they are supporting this vision. By partnering strategically with charities and donating, we can amplify our reach and drive success.” – Ehsan, Artist, www.ehsan.art
Editor’s Note: Most recently, Ehsan collaborated with a young artist to create a painting that will be auctioned with 100-percent of sales going to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
From online marketplaces and NFTs to installing your artwork in a local business, there are ample possibilities for marketing artwork beyond the gallery. Our expert panel recommends experimenting with different approaches to see what works best for you.