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

The Artist Doesn’t Always Know Best


Artist and author Nikolas Allen shares his experience with crowdsourcing, and the insights it can provide.


Juniper Falls by Nikolas Allen


Artists often create work in a vacuum, then put it on display and hope their audience likes it. For the most part, this works fine because, while we value the opinions of our audience, it's not like we want them in our studio guiding the creative process.

However, there are times when our own opinion isn't enough; when we need to reach out to others for feedback that will help guide our direction. In those instances, crowdsourcing can prove invaluable.

Typically, crowdsourcing is used to gather ideas, designs or solutions from a group of people. It can also be used to gather opinions, which helps artists determine which course of action will resonate most with their audience. I'm pretty sure we can all understand the value in that.

A Lesson in Crowdsourcing

In 2013, when I was preparing to publish my art marketing book, "Death to the Starving Artist", I wasn't sure if the cover should have an orange background, or a green one. I posted both versions to Facebook, and got the most engagement I had seen in a long time.

People came out of the woodwork to chime in on their favorite colorway. Plenty offered unsolicited design advice also because, well, that's what people do. A side note: Hearing something once is an opinion, which can often be ignored. Hearing the same thing six or more times is a trend, which should probably be addressed.

The green vs. orange color battle ended in a tie. Since the opinions were split right down the middle, I got to make the final choice. However, this was now an informed choice rather than a guessing game.

Fast forward two years. I'm currently writing my first novel. While I have designed my own covers for the two marketing books I've published, I was curious to see how another artist might interpret the cover of my debut novel.

I hired three designers to present designs. One of them missed the mark completely. Two of them were quite good, but I wasn't sure if either one of them was THE ONE. I decided to go against my initial instincts and create a design of my own.

Of course, I loved the result (yes, my opinion may have been biased). I was confident that I had a winning design on my hands, and I should know because the artist knows best, right?


I posted three designs to Facebook (without mentioning that I designed one of them). The feedback was grand. There was a clear winner, a close runner-up, and waaaaaay back at the starting gate, my "perfect" design sat all by its lonesome with two measly votes.

The tribe had spoken: 65% of the people polled would pick up (or click on) one design over the others if they came across its cover.

So, did I ignore the clear message the public was sending? Did I get defensive and try to explain all the reasons why people should have chosen MY awesome design? Did I shake my fist at the heavens and berate all those ignorant fools who "just didn't get my work"?


I emailed the creator of the most popular cover and congratulated him on his winning design, which will grace the front of my debut novel when it drops next year. Lesson learned.

As artists, there are plenty of creative decisions we need to make on our own. That's what gives us our own unique voice. However, I believe that soliciting opinions and feedback from our audience can often help us elevate our craft. It also demonstrates trust, helps forge connections, and allows your audience to feel invested in your work.

Plus, when you know what resonates best with your audience, you're better prepared to provide it for them. And that's just good business.

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