More Articles

The Value of Art In Situ

The Pain and Power of Tough Criticism

How to Build Profitable Relationships with Galleries

New Technologies for the Studio Artist

A Distinctive Body of Work

How I Got My Art Placed on TV and Movie Sets

Video Marketing & Artists: A Match Made in Heaven

Tips for Promoting Your Art on Instagram

Selling Art in the Wholesale Marketplace

What Do You Want as an Artist?

Is Your Art Priced Correctly?

Boost Your Art Marketing with Printed Materials

Collection Strategies for Artists

Problems Getting Paid? How to Never Get Stiffed Again

What’s Going Right with Your Art Business?

How Artists are Using 3D Printing

Goals Matter: Pointers for a Productive Year

How to Create Successful Art Events

Social Media Tips from Lori McNee

Why You Fail to Sell Your Art at Festivals and Fairs

My Studio Mascot

Move Towards Your Destination

What Your Customers Can Teach You

Collaborating on Art? Why You Need a Contract

Connecting with a Niche Market

Increase Your Art Sales by Making an Emotional Connection

Will Your Great Idea Translate into a Great Business?

How to Balance Art & Life

Give Yourself a Promotion

4 Ways Booth Signage can Draw a Crowd

Secrets of a Successful Open Studio

The Thrills of Networking Within A Local Artist Community

Partner with Your Galleries to Sell More Art

The Artist Doesn’t Always Know Best

Protect Yourself from Art Scams

Put Your Business Cards Away

How to Deal with those Dreaded Shipping Costs

Luck vs. Opportunity

How to Get Accepted by the Press

Artists are Entrepreneurs

How to Promote and Sell Art on Instagram

Playing Up

Is Fear Running Your Art Business?

What I Learned by being a Gallery Owner

How to Get Rejected by the Press

Art with a Healing Touch

Art and the Struggle with Depression

Are You at a Loss for Words?

Avoid these 7 Mistakes when Photographing Art

How a Hard Look at Business Changed an Artist's Life

7 Reasons Why Your Art Marketing Isn’t Working

What to Do when your Show is Slow

Working Smarter to Sell Your Art

Top Tips for a Successful Open Studio

What's the Back Story on Your Art?

10 Free Ways Artists Can Get Publicity

Selling Art with Confidence

The Power of Repeat Sales

6 Ways to Sabotage Your Art Business

5 Steps to Gaining Referral Business

It's Not All About the Money

Consistency is Key to Making Art Sales

Should You Quit Your Day Job?

6 Display Tips to Increase Your Art Sales

Making a Profit with Your Art

What Blue-Chip Galleries Can Teach Us About Social Media Networking

Artists Need A Business Plan

Your Greatest Asset in Finding Gallery Representation

Hiding Away


The Personal Touch

Sell Your Art into the Corporate Market

Tell Your Story, Sell More Art

The Price is Right

Confessions of a Professional Art Gallery Closer

How to Create Raving Fans by Telling the Story of Your Art

Burnout & Its (Sometimes Surprising) Consequences

How to Get Into A Gallery, and Succeed With A Gallery

The Power of Persistence

Build a Budget for Success: How I Tripled My Income in 2 Weeks

Learning to Sell Art: Investing in Yourself

Top Traits of Successful Artists

What Makes Art Remarkable?

Working for Free

The Evolution (and Re-Evolution) of An Art Business

Ann Rea: Artist, Entrepreneur, Instant Success

How Do You Know When It’s Time To Become An Artist?

8 Ways to Improve Your Online Portfolio

Artists, Do You Need an Agent?

The Power of Consultative Selling

How to Make Your Customers Fall in Love with You

Artist Housing Projects

The Pinterest Guide to Selling Art Online

Artists Who Sell: How to Write a Killer Sales Page (and why)

The 5 Biggest Mistakes that Artists Make on Their Blogs and How You Can Avoid Them

Business Plans for Artists: Here, I Did It for You!

How to Write An Artist's Statement That Doesn't Suck

How to Make Your Art Stand Out Online?

10 Strategies to Improve Your Art Sales

Social Sharing on Artist Websites & Online Galleries

Why Artists Should Avoid Gallery Representation

5 Art Pricing Lessons I Learned the Hard Way

How to Research Your Online Art Market

The Crowdfunding Guide for Artists: Part 1

12 Things all Starving Artists Believe

Personal Branding for Artists

How Paula Manning Lewis Has Sold More Than 30,000 Pieces of Art

How to Build An Art Business While Working a Day Job

Painting Terms

Mixing Colors

The Benefits of Buying Art Online

Beginning Your Journey as an Artist

Art for Art's Sake

Artists are Entrepreneurs


Pamela ViolaPhotographer and guest blogger Pamela Viola shares her experience with the realities of being in business as an artist, including the hard work involved and the ultimate rewards.


I know. You're an artist. All you want to do is be creative and make your art. If you want art to be your career and pay your bills, you will have to do many things other than create artwork. First, you must realize that not only are you an artist, but also an entrepreneur and a small business owner. There are no one size fits all instructions for building a flourishing art business so instead of providing you with a checklist, I'll describe my own experience.

As briefly as possible, I'd like to set the stage with a bit of my history. I don't have an academic degree in art. When I graduated from college in the mid-1980's, I lived in New York City and attempted to make a living as a fine art photographer. I was exhibiting in group shows, got a couple of grants, but I wasn't earning much money.

Quickly I moved on to "Plan B", a 15-year career in film and television production. During that time, I was too busy to make much art. Ten years into that work, I realized how much I missed being creative and knew I needed to find my way back. It took a while, but five years ago I became a full-time professional artist earning my living solely through sales of my work. I am convinced the internet made it possible.


“Hesitance” pigment print on paper, 2014, 20″ x 20″ by Pamela Viola


I will tell you this up front. I spend at least 50% of my time researching new clients and opportunities, marketing and doing administrative work for my art business. Of course without the art there is no business, so that is priority number one. My recommendation is that you make art at the beginning of your day, before looking at email or going off to your "day job" if you have one. It's too easy to get bogged down with tasks and emotionally drained if you wait until sometime later in the day.

A couple of years ago I told this to a young artist who worked in a gallery that represents me. Several months later he said he was getting up an hour earlier every day to make art. This month he has his first solo exhibit.

Next, your work must be seen. Possibilities for this are endless, and that is both good and bad. If at all possible, register your domain name and create your own personal website first. There are many places where artists can create a web presence for free and in some cases sell your work, but in my opinion it is better to choose a couple of well-established sites (Flickr, Facebook, Imagekind) rather than trying to keep a large number up to date.


“Balance” pigment print on paper, 2014, 20″ x 20″ by Pamela Viola


I am constantly trying to streamline my process of getting work before the public eye. You must continually reevaluate what venues are worth your time and effort. Posting new work and keeping up with social media takes time and one can easily spend hours with these tasks. Do some research, find places where your work fits, and stick with a few rather than trying to cover every outlet.

If you want to sell your artwork, where should you do that? Many artists only think about traditional venues, but there are plenty of niche markets that you may not be familiar with that could be perfect for your work.

It's important that you take a hard objective look at your art. Are they whimsical silk-screens? Probably a law firm won't purchase them. Dark, moody abstracts? Not a good fit for the children's wing of a hospital, but might be great licensed to a manufacturer of silk scarves. A gorgeous photograph of the Everglades? You may not be the next National Geographic photographer, but what about licensing it to an art publisher that is supplying art for a hotel near the Everglades?


Faceless Man and Holi Dog
“Faceless Man and Holi Dog” pigment print on paper, 2014, 20″ x 20″ by Pamela Viola


None of these scenarios will happen with the snap of your fingers. There is a lot of research that comes along with finding buyers, and much preparation you must do before approaching a potential client.

First, you must have a cohesive body of work. Always remember you are a businessperson. Being an artist is no excuse for presenting yourself and your work in anything less than an organized and professional manner.

Do your research. Gallery directors, art publishers or other art buyers are busy. Never stop by without an appointment and be selective. It is almost always a waste of time to approach someone who represents artists whose work has no commonality with your own.

You're an artist. Think outside the box as you make your list of potential people and venues to approach. The internet makes it so much easier now to find potential paths to follow. Art is all around us; not just as canvases on walls. Be persistent and it will pay off.

Carolyn EdlundThis article is courtesy of
Carolyn Edlund, founder of Artsy Shark, is a business writer, speaker and consultant for artists. She is the Executive Director of the Arts Business Institute, presenting at art business workshops throughout the United States. Carolyn works with artists every day in strategy sessions designed to help them structure their businesses, set and reach their goals. Find out more about scheduling your own business consultation with Carolyn here: window