MAKING A MARK

This is a poll rather than a properly conducted study. People responding selected themselves and as such almost certainly do not represent artists in general. I’ve no knowledge of whether they are professional, amateur or semi-professional artists. Nor do I understand whether or not they make a living using their art or sell an occasional drawing or painting.

2. Artists make sales in many ways – this poll focuses on the primary way respondents sold their art ONLY. This could mean it is the route which is most reliable or, alternatively, it might means this is the channel which they find to use easiest. 3. Similarly since the poll asked about which channel produced most sales, NOT most revenue.

Quite a great deal of artists never crunch the amounts to work out which are their most profitable channels for marketing and sales. Asking which is your most profitable channel for generating sales may have produced a totally different pattern of results – although I rather believe it could have been virtually identical. 4. The results of this poll usually do not claim that you can setup a blog or website to sell artwork and resign your task tomorrow!

60% indicated that they generated the majority of their sales without the involvement of the gallery or art fair. This past year some 53% of artists responding to the poll say that the main way they sell their artwork is indie of organisations which sell artwork for artists. I must say I’m not amazed is the tendency is towards increased sales generated by performers largely individually of the actions of third parties.

21% of artists said their main sales originated from commissions. This wasn’t recognized as a category last time (aklthough it will have been!). It seems likely that the majority of these artists are portrait performers as this is commonly the main way to obtain commissions. I didn’t obviously identify illustration work commissioned for a fee as a means people sold artwork but it’s possible that some performers have counted their illustration work (as opposed to sales of artwork works) in this category. Reviewing your website or blog to identify precisely how easy it is for individuals to commission your work might be an exercise that some artists will now think well worth doing.

18% of artists make their sales as gallery artists and via galleries. Getting to be a gallery designer is not easy and this source of sales is never heading to be always a significant source of sales given the wide selection of artosts who read this blog and respond to the polls. Nonetheless it is worth noting that the percentage of artists reporting gallery sales as their main way to obtain sales has increased since last year! Relatives and buddies continue being important – 11% of artists discovered this network as producing the majority of their sales.

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However this is a smaller body than this past year when it was 16%. This most probably reflects the general impact of the tough economy on levels of shelling out for non-essential items. 11% of performers identified online alternative party gallery/public sale sites as being their main way to obtain sales – via eBay, etsy and other online sites. 10% of artists generate sales though renting a space – either at a skill fair (5%) or in a gallery (5%). Renting a gallery is producing a comparable degree of response as last time. Year However sales via artwork fairs are way down when compared to last.

Art tournaments and Art Society Shows are very unlikely to create significant sales for some artists – although it’s likely that some artists may make an odd sale through this route. No artist generated most of their sales through this route – which is a significant decline on the response this got in 2008 (7%). Overall I’d say this is an image of contrasts. From personal observation I’ve seen good quality and attractive art (dare one say decorative!?) sell well and established and popular artists also continue to make sales via this path. However overall sales appear to me to be down and there are some very definite thresholds on pricing which are influential.

Large pictures show up more difficult to change and I’ve seen a lot of smaller paintings this season. I’ve also seen some shows where sales were minimal – but generally have not reported them on this blog. I would not be amazed if some artwork societies have to begin thinking long and hard about about the duratation and location of their annual exhibition next yr.