Places to Successfully Sell Artwork

aquarian_lightaquarian_light Posts: 135Member
edited November 2013 in General Discussions
Just a random thought that popped into my head thought would make a good conversation. I've had dA accounts, I've had flickr and 500PX accounts, but never once sold a print of my landscape, city scape, nature, or anything I consider my artwork. Not that I intended for those websites to actually generate sales for me, and my own personal artwork hasn't ever how I meant to make my money as a photographer. But I was just curious from those of you that do sell your own personal art as a significant part of your income, how you manage to do that, and what avenues you take to be successful at it.

Post edited by aquarian_light on
D800E, 24-120 F4 VR, 50mm 1.8G, 85 1.8G, 28mm 3.5, 135mm 3.5


  • Vipmediastar_JZVipmediastar_JZ Posts: 1,708Member
    I been thinking the same for my current chicago project. I thought about adding a cart to my website with a wordpress theme.
  • GitzoGitzo Posts: 174Member
    Here's one idea that might work for a few people, especially if you happen to live in, or any place near Chicago. If your work is really good, and if you understand how to properly matt, frame, and exhibit art or photography, your chances are much better. Go to downtown Chicago, and visit the Chicago Cultural Center. (it's completely free) Take the "tour".......check out the whole place. The CCC has a little bit of everything, and quite a lot of some things. They have a very nice art gallery, with artwork from many people, many places; and they regularly have "exhibitions" of a body of work by individuals. This holds true for photography, sculpture, and many other things. And be SURE to take your camera, and a sturdy tripod; The CCC is the most "camera friendly" place of it's kind anyplace! They even allow the use of tripods, and if you go when it's not too crowded, you can even get by with using speed lights. (I should mention, the art gallery IS "off limits" for cameras. They have all sorts of performing arts; from classical piano and violin recitals, to Flamenco dancing! ( We LOVED the Flamenco dancers!)

    So.....what does all of this have to do with selling your work ? Possibly, a great deal; as I mentioned, they often have "one person" exhibitions; in order to sell anything, you MUST have "recognition"; your "work" must be "seen"; believe me.....anything on exhibit at the CCC will be "seen" not only a lot of Chicago residents, but also by people from all over the world; people from all over come to see the building; if you visit it, you'll quickly see why; it's beautiful ! And there's nothing else like it, anyplace! (But back to exhibiting your work)
    Your best bet is to visit, see how other do it, then if you have a portfolio of things with you, ask to speak to someone about exhibiting, and simply take it from there. On my visits, the photography on exhibit was....OK perhaps, but certainly not "unbeatable". On a subsequent visit, I took some things I had done, and the people I showed them to were wildly enthusiastic! They even suggested that I should "consider doing a show"! If you knew me, you would no doubt get a tremendous chuckle out of that! I said I would be delighted to "do a show", (but only AFTER I figure out how! ) (I don't get to Chicago all that often, and scheduling a trip takes a lot of "doing" ). I have learned considerably more about exhibiting art than I knew at the time of my last visit, but I have many more things requiring my time.

    Probably the most important thing one needs, prior to doing any kind of exhibition, is a very good web site; you won't be directly selling things at the exhibit, but you will be showing a LOT of people what you have, what youn can do, and so on, and you'll have adequate opportunity to discreetly advertise your web site; and that's the key! Essentially, you will be selling yourself....and what you can do. The more people who see what you exhibit, the more likely there will be interest, and interested people will find you.

    Personally, I'm actually not interested in merely "selling things that I have created"; I would however get a tremendous "kick" merely exhibiting things I have done in such a world-class venue, simply because I have so far, never done it before.

    I probably should mention, the Chicago Cultural Center in on Michigan Ave. directly across from Millenium Park, and the world famous sculpture, (who's proper name escapes me at the moment ), but everyone in Chicago calls it "The Bean". The CCC takes up the entire block from Randolph St. to Washington St. and the two main entrances are on these two streets.

    Anyone contemplating visiting the CCC, I suggest googling it, and checking out what's happening when you wish to visit. Also.....for any one coming to Chicago by train, (by far, the BEST way for several reasons), it's a short cab ride from Union Station; I used to walk it, but these days, street crime has made that a bad idea; now I always take a cab.
  • Vipmediastar_JZVipmediastar_JZ Posts: 1,708Member
    @gitzo you sold me on the CCC. I am about 10 minutes walking distance from it and I never knew about it. I should check it out.

    I did a show once at Argo Tea. The day of the show my wife was in a car accident and I had to leave but no biggie as only a handful showed up to the show. I had some work displayed for about a month and sold 2 items. This was about two years. Granted I have in my opinion improved so maybe when I'm done with my chicago project I'll put another show but I will invest in a shopping cart for my website. Its a start to what I want to do with photography.

    Next time you are in the city let me know and thanks for the info.
  • framerframer Posts: 491Member
    Having been employed in the art gallery field for most of my life I can add a bit info. Many galleries will except your work on consignment. Expect 50 - 60 % to go to the gallery. You will pay to have it framed. Some galleries will subtract the frame cost then split the remainder with you but most will not. For example it cost you $25 to make a photo then $100 to frame it and it sell for $500.00 you get $250.00 and you made $125.00.
    If it sit's on the wall it cost you.

    Now if you're saying that giving up 1/2 for them just showing it is nuts go rent your own place and see what you make. Overhead in most profitable retail store's is about 20-25% of the gross. Labor is on top of that.

    Your work needs to command at least $500.00 in a gallery setting. That's why most framed limited prints of decent quality start at $1000.00 and up.

    Lots of leg work to get there too.

  • Vipmediastar_JZVipmediastar_JZ Posts: 1,708Member
    Thanks framer for the info. When I did the argo tea the manager was new and I beleive I got a freebie. After mine ended they changed the rules but I have not looked into it.
    I did offer a few to a Framing company but they didn't get back to me.
    Thats why I would like to do my prints on my site. It costs me xx.xx for a year to host my site + the xx.xx for the wordpress shopping cart theme. That would probably be my only overheard.

    I also looked into selling at the art festival and the prices for vendor vs the work sold to me was not worth it unless like you said sell them high.

    Good info to have. thanks for the post.
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