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1. What kind of art sells best?

Art that sells: Seven best-selling types and tips for more sales [2024]

Selling your fine art is a unique, cost-effective way to reach art collectors and enthusiasts around the world. Some artists may struggle to create art with a commercial intent rather than creating art with personal meaning. However, it's completely plausible to do both; to challenge yourself creatively and build a profitable business in the process is a dream come true for many artists.

Whether you want to sell art online, in person, or a combination of the two, you'll need to have a few highly sellable pieces to make a significant profit. Researching market trends and understanding what consumers want to buy is mission-critical in the art world.

Let's explore how you can create art that sells so you can do what you love and make an impressive income.

Main takeaways from this article:

  • A unique artistic style will ensure art buyers and the community feel connected to your work.

  • Establishing and maintaining an online presence is crucial to solidifying yourself as a credible artist.

  • Asking for feedback from the art community can help you polish your style in order to create highly sellable art.

  • Popular art types include traditional landscapes, animal paintings, city maps, and abstract art across mediums like oil, acrylic, and digital.

  • Tips to boost art sales include knowing your target market, using POD services, cultivating a unique style and online presence, offering diverse price ranges, collaborating with peers, creating limited editions, and maintaining high quality and consistency, among others.

  • To choose a platform for selling art online, evaluate dedicated art marketplaces, ecommerce platforms, and social media for their unique benefits, considering commission fees, audience alignment, usability, support, and how well they present your art.

  • Partnering with a print on demand provider can help you scale your art business quickly with minimal upfront costs while providing high-quality products.

What kind of art sells best?

The art market can be a challenging business venture for many artists, mainly if they need to focus more on their target audience and, instead, create art for the masses. Understanding the market ecommerce trends and what consumers are shopping for is the best way to succeed in selling art.

Art styles and subjects

Selling art is a lucrative business, but it's beneficial to understand what art buyers are looking for when they browse for both digital art and original work. The best-selling art subjects include:

  • Traditional landscapes: Landscapes, such as beach scenes, rolling hills, and impressionistic landscapes, elicit a sense of peacefulness and calm, often evoking nostalgic memories in the viewer.

  • Animal paintings: Artwork featuring animals, particularly pet portraits or paintings from photographs, harnesses the deep emotional connection people have with their pets. This genre allows for immense personal touch and sentimentality, which increases its appeal to buyers.

  • City maps and local scenes: City maps and local scenes tap into people’s love for their hometowns or favorite places visited. This art genre, be it hand-drawn or digital, often serves as a unique commemoration of a personal journey or experience.

  • Wall art: Handmade pieces and customized wall art reflect the uprise of home décor and personal expression through interior design. Buyers are attracted to the uniqueness and customization options that ensure their homes are not just trendy but personally meaningful.

  • Contemporary art: Contemporary art, with its varied forms and bold visions, speaks to the zeitgeist and questions the status quo, making it popular among buyers looking for thoughtful, statement-making pieces.

  • Art Deco: Art Deco holds a prominent place in design history with its bold, geometric lines, nudging a nod to the exhilarating first days of modernism. This style's ability to transport us back to a different era gives it a timeless quality that many buyers find appealing.

  • Abstract art: The allure of abstract art lies in its enigma–it doesn't tell a clear story, leaving room for individual interpretation. This wide-ranging appeal and the ability to provoke thought and dialogue make abstract art a popular choice among art enthusiasts and general buyers alike.

Mediums

Artist's palette and tools

Choosing the right medium for your art isn't just an artistic decision; it can vastly impact visibility and sales. 

Starting off with oil paintings, these timeless pieces are greatly admired for their rich and vibrant texture. The depth and dimension that oil brings can render an eye-catching aesthetic not found in many other mediums. Yet, while oils can promote greater sales, they take longer to dry which potentially extends the production time, and this could result in delayed deliveries. 

Moving onto acrylic paintings, they are lauded for their versatility and ease of use. Acrylics mix and blend well, allowing artists to display a broad spectrum of colors, shapes, and depths. Moreover, they dry faster than oils, which can help satisfy customer demand more quickly.

Digital art represents the new wave. The ability to produce an unlimited number of prints swiftly and efficiently is an undeniable advantage in the digital age. Plus, digital art allows artists to respond more promptly to ongoing trends and preferences. However, it may lack the personal touch and sense of uniqueness some art buyers look for.

Sizes and colors

Colorful canvases of different sizes

When it comes to selling art in 2024, size does matter. Small to medium-sized artworks are trending in the online marketplace. These pieces are particularly attractive to office space decorators looking for impactful yet unobtrusive pieces. However, there's a strong demand for large statement pieces, especially for residential settings. Pieces measuring over 48" in any dimension often serve as the focal point in living spaces and are hence sought after by home decorators. 

On the color front, buyers have always been attracted to vibrant, bold hues, but we're seeing an increasing appreciation for more subdued, muted palettes in 2024. Pantone.com and BenjaminMoore.com are great resources for keeping up with color trends. It's worth segmenting your work to cater to different preferences. 

Furthermore, never underestimate the power of a well-chosen accent color, a strategy employed by many successful artists.

Originals vs. prints

The choice between selling original artworks versus prints often boils down to evaluating the benefits and drawbacks intrinsic to each.

Original artwork 
Pros
  • Higher price tag: Since originals are one-of-a-kind, you can set a higher asking price, resulting in greater profit per sale.

  • Increased perceived value: Buyers may see original art as a unique investment, thereby boosting their willingness to pay a higher price.

  • Lower production costs: There's no need to invest in print production – simply create, sell, and ship.

 Cons
  • Lower sales volume: Due to the higher price tag and uniqueness of originals, you may experience fewer sales.

  • Production demands: Creating original pieces necessitates more time, effort, and creativity compared to producing prints.

  • Physical shipping: Originals generally require physical shipping, which can bring additional costs and logistical challenges.

Prints 
Pros
  • Larger potential customer base: With a lower price tag, prints can appeal to a wider audience, leading to more sales.

  • Resale opportunities: Artists can sell the same print multiple times, creating a consistent revenue stream.

  • Flexible formats: Prints can be sold not only as wall art but can be printed onto a variety of merchandise like apparel, mugs, and more.

 Cons
  • Lower profit margins: As prints are typically less expensive than originals, profits per individual sale are generally lower.

  • Initial investment: Printing artwork requires up-front costs for the necessary equipment or outsourcing fees if using a print on demand service.

  • Quality control: It's important that prints replicate the original artwork in its entirety, which may require a rigorous quality testing process.

So, which should you choose? Consider your personal business model and artistic goals. If you're an artist chasing large sales and broad audience engagement, prints may be your go-to option.

However, if you prefer crafting unique pieces for higher profit margins, selling original work could be the route for you.

Making art that sells: Nine tips for more sales

Artist reflecting on artwork

So, how do you ensure your artwork sells? Keep reading! From developing a strategy for your art marketing to knowing the most popular art subjects, here are our top 9 tips for making art that sells.

1. Know your target market

To make art that sells, you have to understand your target market, what they're shopping for, and the styles they connect with.

You'll be most successful selling art in the niche where you feel the most passionate. For some artists, that may be abstract paintings, art deco, or painting animals. You may have more broad interests and need to narrow them down in order to create top-selling paintings and digital art.

Once you know your niche, no matter how tailored or broad, you can begin researching your target market demographic. Knowing as much as possible about your market will help you understand what they want to buy. Important details about your target market include:

  • Ages

  • Interests

  • Likes and dislikes

  • Medium preference (digital art, paintings, etc.)

2. Leverage print on demand

If you are creating and selling digital art, establishing a print on demand business model can help you leverage your existing art and sell it quickly and efficiently to a broad audience.

The benefits of using a print on demand supplier are significant. Artists don't have to deal with inventory management, order fulfillment, or shipping out orders. With a reliable print on demand service, everything is handled by the supplier, allowing the artist to continue creating and doing what they love.

Once you've created a design that sells, you can offer it as a single item, like a piece of wall art, or print it on a range of other products, like t-shirts, hoodies, tote bags, and more. Offering various products rather than just one opens the door to more visitors to your shop and will drive more sales.

For a reputable print on demand (POD) provider, look no further than Gelato. We partner with a worldwide network of printing suppliers to promote sustainability and local shipping. We strive to offer superior customer service regardless of how big or small your business is. Our product catalog allows sellers to add their designs to thousands of custom, in-demand products.

3. Establish a unique art style

Having an established style is one of the many challenges of being an artist; with a concrete style, you can make money selling your art.

Your artistic style is what makes your original work stand out from other artists; it's how your audience recognizes your work and creates a memorable brand identity that you can lean into for your art and your business.

To find your unique style (if you don't already know it), create a lot of art in various styles and experiment with different mediums. Over time, you can narrow your focus to the elements and style that inspire you and commit to that particular niche.

Many artists regularly analyze their art to see how their style changes. You can do this by creating a poster board and hanging up your recent creations, then comparing them to the art you were doing six months ago.

Exploring your style and examining how it changes can help you when speaking about your work and while adapting your art marketing strategies online.

4. Be active online

To gain exposure and build credibility as a professional artist, an online presence is essential as you start out and gain traction with your business and the art world.

Start by building a professional website to showcase your online portfolio full of your best work. You can also share details about your background and education, where you find inspiration and other important information that your audience will find interesting, and to build rapport with your audience.

Stay active on social media platforms and interact with your followers on your pages. Engage with your audience through polls, Live chats, in your DMs, and any other way you see fit. Ask for feedback on pieces you're working on, drop new designs or paintings, and create polls asking what your audience wants to see.

Like anyone they buy from, consumers want to feel connected with an artist before purchasing their work. Showcasing your art online with a behind-the-scenes look at your creative process gives your audience a unique look and can create powerful connections.

Lastly, showcase your art on online platforms like DeviantArt and Saatchi Art, where you can network with other artists and art buyers in the community. The more people you know, the better!

5. Offer various prices

It's crucial to settle on a price for your art that is appealing to your audience and profitable for your business.

This is another perk of working with a print on demand supplier; you can offer smaller pieces (like a phone case or calendar) with your art printed on them rather than only large acrylic paintings at higher price points. In doing so, your customer base can afford your art on different budgets, and you can still make a solid profit.

Offering art at various price ranges will expand your appeal to different art buyers and increase the likelihood that they become repeat customers.

6. Work with other artists

Whether you're looking for a new art piece to sell in your shop or want to explore new art mediums, collaborating with other artists can help you tap into new markets.

When collaborating, working with artists who have similar styles can help you grow personally and professionally. You can also learn a lot from an artist in a totally different niche than you; every artist has something to teach and something to learn!

You can work with other artists to benefit both of you in a few ways. These include:

  • Create original art with other artists through original paintings, graphic design work, photography, etc.

  • Share a booth at local art fairs to gain insight into networking and talking about your art with potential buyers

  • Team up for a series of classes where you provide tips and tricks on creating original artwork for your audiences using the same subjects

7. Create limited edition prints

Limited edition prints are a designated number of prints created from original artwork. The concept behind limited edition prints is that no more will ever be made once a certain number is printed.

Offering limited-edition prints is a genius sales strategy because it incentives potential buyers to make a purchase fueled by a sense of urgency. It also promotes a feeling of exclusivity in the art world, where once limited edition prints run out, they'll never be made again.

Depending on your work and how much you want to sell, you can offer between 20 and 250 limited edition prints per piece of art.

8. Focus on quality and consistency

When selling art, quality and consistency are key.

According to Statista, global online art sales reached $10.8 billion in 2022, with in-person art galleries becoming obsolete as time passes. Independent artists are able to sell art by showcasing their work in a custom online gallery, avoiding commission fees and making more money.

However, without the ability to see a piece of art in person and evaluate it, some consumers are disappointed in the quality of art they purchase online.

As an artist with integrity, creating visually appealing, high-quality art is what you strive for whenever you pick up your pencil, brush, or camera.

To create art that sells, ensuring your pieces fit your style and offer consistent quality is the best way to build an art business today. With a reliable print on demand supplier, offering digital art printed onto various products will foster happy customers and repeat buyers.

Creating emotionally-charged, captivating art that sells is no simple task, particularly when building a brand and establishing your unique style.

Selling prints and original paintings can make some artists feel vulnerable. Still, if you take steps to offer quality and consistency every time, you'll be fine connecting with art buyers who appreciate your work.

9. Seek feedback

Feedback from other artists can be beneficial to understand how to make paintings sell and where you can improve your creative process. Art sells best when it inspires viewers; other artists can help you modify your creations in small ways.

Seek artists' feedback from online communities, like DeviantArt, a social network designed for artists and art enthusiasts to connect, learn, and draw inspiration from each other. Share your art online in forms like Reddit to gain constructive feedback and opinions directly from your target audience.

You can also ask for feedback on your art at art exhibitions, art fairs, art shows, classes, and other in-person events where you can showcase your art gallery.

Meeting other successful artists to learn about their art business and how they create best-selling paintings and digital art can drastically help you understand the industry and your audience.

How to choose the right platform to sell your art?

Artist considering online platforms

When choosing a platform to sell your artwork, you must evaluate its pros and cons for your success as an artist. Let's look at some platforms and then delve into key factors to make the right selection.

Dedicated art marketplaces 

These platforms are specifically designed for artists and their art lovers. They can offer a sense of community within the art world and accommodate a variety of art styles and mediums. Let’s take a look at some of the leading options. 

Saatchi Art 

Saatchi Art is a well-renowned art marketplace featuring work from artists all over the world. With a mission to connect artists with art lovers, Saatchi Art offers curated collections and personalized recommendations.

  • Key features: Curation and personalized recommendations, global shipping.

  • Target audience: Art collectors, interior designers, and commercial buyers.

  • Commission or fee structure: You earn a 40% commission on every sale.

Artfinder 

Artfinder is an online marketplace aimed at helping independent artists sell their work. They promote original art and limited edition prints.

  • Key features: Mobile app, artist stories, original artwork, limited edition prints.

  • Target audience: Art enthusiasts, independent art buyers, and interior designers.

  • Commission or fee structure: 35-42% commission deducted on every sale.

General ecommerce platforms

These platforms can increase the visibility of an artist’s work to a wider audience outside of the traditional art community. They are also typically easy to navigate and often cost-effective. 

Etsy 

As a marketplace for handmade items, vintage goods, and craft supplies, Etsy offers a space for artists to sell unique art pieces and prints.

  • Key features: Personalized shopfronts, secure transactions, seller tools and analytics.

  • Target audience: Creatives, crafters, and collectors.

  • Commission or fee structure: Listing fee ($0.20 per item), transaction fee (6.5% on price including shipping).

Amazon 

Amazon, a giant in the online shopping world, offers an 'Art' category where artists can showcase and sell their creations.

  • Key features: Worldwide marketplace, customer reviews, advertising opportunities.

  • Target audience: General consumers of all demographics.

  • Commission or fee structure: 'Individual Selling' plan: $0.99 per artwork sold; 'Professional Selling' plan: $39.99 a month + selling fees.

Social media channels 

Social media platforms are increasingly used as sales channels, leveraging their large user bases and visual-friendly formats to sell art. 

Instagram 

As a visually-focused platform, Instagram is popular among artists for showcasing their work and connecting directly with fans and buyers.

  • Key features: Shoppable posts, story highlights, IGTV for artist talks and process videos.

  • Target audience: Millennials and Gen Z users, influencers, art and design enthusiasts.

  • Commission or fee structure: No upfront fees, but using paid features such as Instagram ads will incur costs.

Pinterest

Pinterest serves as an excellent platform for artists looking to broadcast and sell their work to a global audience in 2024. This visual social media site offers an ideal space for artists to showcase their beautiful creations in a setting ripe with creative and aesthetically driven individuals.

  • Key features: Business account, promoted pins, analytics

  • Target audience: Art lovers and high-intent shoppers looking to purchase high-quality artwork.

  • Commission or fee structure: You earn a commission on every sale made via affiliate link clicks.

Criteria to consider when choosing a platform 

When choosing a platform to sell your art, think about how it matches your unique art style, who your target audience is, and what your sales goals are. Here are some key factors to consider:

  • Commissions and fees: What’s the cost of selling your art on the platform? Are fees based on listing, transactions, or commissions on sales?

  • Audience: Does the platform’s user base match your target audience in terms of demographics, interests, and buying behavior?

  • Usability: How user-friendly is the platform? Does it offer tools and resources to help manage your storefront and sales?

  • Support: Does the platform offer support services to help you address any challenges or issues that may arise?

  • Presentation: Is the platform designed in a way that lets your artwork shine? You'd want your art to look its best!

Scale your online art business with print on demand

Many best-selling artists will tell you that finding a happy medium between your passions and creating art that sells is feasible. You may be lucky, and those two collide in your work. Or perhaps you'll have to pivot your art medium and style slightly to match what your target audience wants to buy.

Either way, creating art that sells is a great way to earn a profit and continue doing what you love. Implement a few of our suggestions and strategies in this post and watch your art business soar. Don't forget to offer options to your customers; offer products like canvas prints, posters, or greeting cards, and watch your art sell like hotcakes.

Creating a competitive art business takes hard work, dedication, and creativity. You'll also need a top-tier POD supplier to cast a wider net and reach more interested buyers. Art sellers can leverage Gelato's sustainable print on demand services to take their art business to the next level. Get started today.

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