Monday, August 01, 2011

ANNUAL POLL: What's the MAIN way you have sold art in the last 12 months?

This is the 4th ANNUAL POLL to ask the question "What's the MAIN way you have sold art in the last 12 months?"

The point of doing this poll each summer is that we all get to see how the art economy has changed and which marketing channels are proving more or less useful over time for selling art.

At the end of the month, I'll be comparing the results of this poll with the results from previous years - and highlighting in particular the changes in the last twelve months

If you've been feeling a bit isolated about any changes you've been experiencing, answering this poll will help you see whether your experience is shared with others to any great extent.

It's important that we try and get as many artists as possible to answer the poll as it's value to you all increases as the numbers responding increase - the larger the sample, the more robust the results.

The Scope of the Poll

The Poll is limited to:
  • the MAIN way you have achieved sales as a fine artist
  • ONLY sales in the last 12 months
You have two options and I don't mind which you choose.  Take a look at your sales figures and work out whether you want to nominate the method which achieved
  • either the most sales in terms of numbers of artwork sold (ie the most pieces sold)
  • or the method which achieved the highest net value sales to you (ie the most profit after related expenses are taken into account)
If you notice a difference as to which channels generate the most sales (number) versus the most profit ($/£) it would be very helpful to have an indication as to which generates the most profit.

The Poll Options

The Poll asks What's the MAIN way you have sold art in the last 12 months?

The categories for different methods of making sales of fine art (excluding illustration) are:

  • Art Agent
  • Commercial Gallery: gallery artist
  • Gallery: Invite Only Group Exhibition
  • Juried Group Exhibition (Society/Competition)
  • Gallery: "Rent a Space" Exhibition
  • Annual Event / Art Fairs
  • Street sales / Regular Art Markets
  • Studio sales / Open Studios
  • Commissions
  • Word of mouth / friends and family
  • Online: Via traffic from own website / blog
  • Online Shop - eBay
  • Online Shop - Etsy
  • Other Online Galley / Shop
  • Print on Demand Galley
Categories have once more been slightly revised for methods of sales identified last year.  The new option is "art agent". If the major way you sell your art isn't listed, do please let me know and I'll include it next year.
The survey will run until the end of the month with the results being reported on 31st August.  You can find the survey in the right hand column - just above "for your information".

Think about the last 12 months

Do please also comment about any changes you've noticed this year about your own personal trends plus your success or otherwise with different channels for selling art.

 There are FOUR key questions about sales in the last 12 months are:

  • Have you sold more or less - or have sales remained stable?
  • Have any channels you've used changed in a significant way in the last year (ie sales have dropped off or soared)
  • Has any significant increase or decrease in sales values you've achieved reflected any changes in your success (or otherwise) in trying/using new or different channels?
  • Are you clear about which marketing channel generates the most profit for you?
Please share/tweet the link to this post if you want to encourage others to enter.  You'll find links for doing that below.

Below you'll also find links to the poll results in 2008, 2009 and 2010 PLUS links to my "resources for artists" sites whichaim to help artists to sell art.

Links to my related "resources for artists" information websites


  1. For me, I am still making mainly Gallery sales, whether it is invitationals or my regular gallery (which is great), but, the sales are more from my network than before. The support from my collectors is amazing - I am so grateful!

    Newsletter sales are up and some gallery sales are a direct result of that newsletter. My production/inventory is down right now (many reasons) so this may skew things a little. So I can't say if things are up or down overall at the moment! But I will say my newsletter has been my most effective tool for generating sales wherever they occur. Full stop.

  2. I've sold primarily commissioned works. Approximately 30% of my sales have gone to new clients who have found me via the internet, with another 35% going to new clients via personal referrals, and the remaining balance being mostly repeat customers. I say "mostly" to accommodate the few customers who couldn't get lumped into either of the above categories. And for what it's worth, I had 3 galleries representing me during the last year, and they sold primarily reproductions and notecards - only 2 originals, which represents 1.6% of my total sales.

  3. My sales have been mostly commissions - closely followed by sales of some of my 'practice/exhibition pictures at a local busy Gallery in Whitstable. I've joined a Group of 'arty folk' called Made in Whitstable. We share the cost of hiring the Gallery for a week. 20 - 25 exhibitors each pay approx £25 and man the Gallery on a rota basis. No commissions payable so its a very satisfactory arrangement.

  4. Hi Katherine, OH, this is a great question. I look forward to seeing what others say. My only sale in the past 12 months was initiated online. My drawing was seen on Facebook personal page and the buyer contacted me.

    The category my sale fits is through my blog (which was streamed to facebook). Thanks!

  5. Again, spreading work out to galleries increased my sales. The best sales came through a joint exhibition with two other artists at the home/studio of one of them during the annual cultural event Festival De la Correspondence in Grignan, France. Loads of culturally interested folk passed right past the front door. Plus, the commission rate was much lower than an ordinary gallery - we shared the tasks in watching the studio and handling sales and made the whole thing fun by talking up each other's work.
    I think thatthe best way to sell is to get the target group of buyers together in a concentrated clump and shove the work in directly under their noses. Hope this helps,

  6. Commercial Gallery: gallery artist

  7. Definitely commissions. the 50% commission fee of galleries just cannot come close to direct sales. And of course commissions is just ‘what I do’ a lot...

  8. Thanks for all the great comments - keep them coming - even if you are agreeing with what has already been said as it's helpful to those reading this post.

  9. very interesting so far...i would have thought Etsy would be higher in percentage but the category I fairs has a higher percentage of sales!!


COMMENTS HAVE BEEN CLOSED AGAIN because of the amount of spam and copying of my blog posts which is taking place. Removing them is taking too much time.
Please feel free to comment about the blog on my Facebook Page as my blog posts are always posted there but please note
1) anonymous comments are NEVER published
2) automated / spam / scam comments are never ever published on this blog
3) I ALWAYS block and report spammers to Google and/or on Facebook

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.