Selling Art with a Personal Touch

A close friend of mine loves all types of art. She works as a museum docent, and owns quite a few landscapes from a local plein air painter she admires. We talked about buying and selling art.

plein air2

plein air painting by Lori McNee

She shared some thoughts on what made her want to purchase from him, and she mentioned that she has come to know the artist personally, which makes her an even bigger fan of his.

She said, “As a customer, I love to engage the artist and learn more about the work before I make a purchase. Buying art is such a personal thing. It helps to feel a connection to the artist and have an understanding of the process, what inspires the artist, etc.”


“As a customer, I love to engage the artist and learn more about the work before I make a purchase.”

Another friend owns a contemporary art gallery in North Carolina. It’s a struggle to make everything work smoothly, but she is determined to keep her gallery relevant and profitable.

I asked her which of her artists sold the most work. She said, “The artists who volunteer to work in the gallery sell the most. They are there in person, and speak to gallery visitors about their art. There is no substitute for meeting the artist.”

It all makes perfect sense, doesn’t it?

Before collectors buy, they want to know about the artist, and even better, they want to meet the artist. This is why gallery appearances and open studio events can be so powerful. When you as the artist personally introduce yourself and engage in conversation, buyers gain that connection and understanding of what you are saying through your art.

As you tell your story, you give the listener another reason to buy. Art is not just a thing; with every purchase, the buyer also receives a piece of your creative spirit. Your story is integral to that, and when collectors show your art to others, they will tell your story again.

Selling Art with a Personal Touch

Buying art is frequently a way for collectors to express their own creativity. I’ll bet that as an artist, you own art made by others (many artists do). You understand the value, the connection, the emotional benefits you have by owning artwork that you love and want to live with.

Share a personal connection not only in appearances, but in the voice and the message that you use on your website, and in your correspondence. People buy from people. Relationships are key to gaining first sales, repeat sales, and referral business. Build your own collector base by being accessible, authentic and using that personal touch.

Guest author: My colleague, Carolyn Edlund is the founder of It’s great to have her share another guest post! Here’s another one she shared with us a while ago about Inbound & Outbound Marketing .


  1. Mary Kemp April 1, 2015 at 12:50 am

    Hi Lori, That is so true! And I’d go so far as to say I cannot bring myself to buy work from artists I wouldn’t invite into my home even if another part of my brain says their work is just what I like. Mary.

    • Lori A McNee December 13, 2015 at 5:25 pm

      Hi Mary, that is such an interesting point you make! Yes, the collector is buying a little bit of the artist when a painting is bought. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  2. Jessy Shaw August 4, 2015 at 7:48 am

    I really enjoy the quote that you put by Carolyn Edlund. I am getting ready for my next big art show and I am really excited to see peoples’ reactions to my work. I love to go to a contemporary art gallery near where I live and get inspiration from other artists. I will definitely try and incorporate what you have written into my work. Thanks for the advice!

    • Lori A McNee September 17, 2015 at 5:47 pm

      Good luck on your next show! I’m glad Carolyn’s tips helped you. Thanks for taking time to comment! 🙂

  3. Jason Macuha November 11, 2015 at 7:01 am

    Lori… I am planning to start a gallery of my own and I really love reading your blogs because it would really me a lot when I start my art gallery. I just launch an online art gallery to test the waters in this industry. I am an art collector but thinking to go to this business….
    Jason @ Macuha Art Gallery

    • Lori A McNee December 13, 2015 at 5:24 pm

      Hi Jason, I am way behind on comments! Thanks for sharing your exciting news. I’m happy you are enjoying my tips and wish you luck on your new gallery.

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