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.”

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“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 www.ArtsyShark.com. 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 .