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Kurt L. Schmierer

Kurt L. Schmierer - On Selling Your Art


Why do I want to sell my art?

  a. To purchase more supplies to make more art
   b. Make money to support myself
   c. Get famous – have fame and recognition

Why do I want to reproduce my art?

  a. Have cheaper form of art to sell
   b. Make more money from my art

Two Questions you need to ask yourself and answer honestly. Your answer will dictate what you have to do.

All of the above involve making some money from your work…How do you make money?

Believe in your work and make an
  Artist Business Plan.”

Choice 1. Find an Agent - Most agents have connections and will do most of the work to sell and market your art. All you have to do is paint/create and show up for signings.  Agents do take 50% to 80% of sales to fund the endeavor and you may lose control of who buys and how they use your work. Many famous successful artists have agents. Agents usually assume all risk in good or bad choices made in the sale of the art or promotion of the artist. As with all artistic endeavors sales and fame are not guaranteed. Agents do have some of the highest success rates.

Choice 2. Get a friend or family member to help - This will allow you to paint and have a hand in who and how your work is sold to, but you generally will have to work more with a friend or family member than with an agent to sell your art. Also, unless the friend or family member is well integrated in the art world there will be little if any connections to help launch a successful start. There is also a commission or a fee you pay your friend or family member for the help. The friend or family member may or may not assume risk in the venture in working with or for the artist. As with all artistic endeavors sales and fame are not guaranteed.

Choice 3. Be the agent/artist – As an agent/artist you will spend your time split between marketing and painting which for most is impossible if not improbable. This is a 365 days a year job and most cannot do this. The benefits are: you control all aspects of your work and sales, make any deal that meets your needs or desires. You can make as much or as little money as you want. As with all artistic endeavors sales and fame are not guaranteed.

Choice 4. Get an Art Partner – Offers mentorship, guidance, assistance and control. Art Partner is not an agent, but is an artist who can assist in selling your art for a fee or commission that is based on what is required by the artist/partner. The more work required by the artist/partner the bigger the commissions/fees for service. An Art Partner believes in the artist and the work and is willing to assist in some burden and some risk. This is a working partnership designed to sell and show art. As with all artistic endeavors sales and fame are not guaranteed.


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Depending on which direction you take, it will have some bearing on what happens next:

1. Body of work – do you have two pieces or hundreds- the more work you have the better your chances in selling

2. Physical/digital portfolio

3. Time to allocate to 1 and 2 and what follows 

4. Financials 

5. How to display your work/portfolio   

     a. Carry around portfolio
     b. Website
     c. Facebook.com
     d. Pinterest.com /or other online social/display sites free or paid
     e. Gallery
     f. Office space – place of business with some security and a way to ensure vandalism does not happen to the art while on display
      g. Business cards
      h. Email and/or phone so customers or interested parties can contact you.
       i. How do I document my work for the portfolio?
       j. Should I reproduce my work for faster and easier sales?

Presentation is as important as the art – showing your best in a bad way will kill the sell most every time. Showing a bad piece in the best way will help make the sell.

      a. Canvases can be framed or unframed as long as the
          edges are finished with paint or trimming.
      b. Most water colors need to be frame and it is best to
          matte it every time (some acceptation and that is a
          case by case)
      c. Pastel, pen and ink framing is also a must for protection
          and finishing

Framing and matting are expensive, but they are very important. They can make a small piece look huge, make a big piece look small, make the focus be on a key point or take your eye away from non-important areas.

A  bad frame job may not be noticeable at first, but if your eyes can not see what you want the person to see then it will be hard or impossible to sell your work. Same goes for photographic art, sculptures etc.

The presentation is important 

Numbers 1 thru 5 need to be planned out and implemented in order to sell your work. Artists can choose most any of these or a combination of these to sell the art, but all need to be understood and be planned according to your goals.

This is important:

I left this for last because if you choose to go further with your art then you really need to assess your art by asking this one question -

   “Why would someone buy my painting of______?”

Why did I not put this first? After reading the above most starting artists will not go any further and continue doing what they are doing now and be happy.

The artists that are not discouraged and are willing to do what it takes to get out there and sell their art to keep the hobby going, make money to live on, or to be famous need to understand that:

People buy art.... 

1. Because of the story they see in the painting. (or any art work)
2. Because of the emotion that they feel when looking at the work.
3. Because they like the artist
4. Because of financial gain in the future based on the artists fame
5. Because they are the artists friend and want to support the artist
6. Because the skill in the detail or the way the artist created the shapes or colors that catch the attention of those who look at it making it a conversation piece to all.

Your work needs to have at least one of these to even be considered sellable, if it has 3 or more it will sell.

A  famous artist can sell most anything to fans or art lovers.
A new artist has to be selective at first when going to market.

I want to help you sell your work!

Kurt Schmierer
Art Partner


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