It’s Easier to Sell Your Art Than You Think


The woeful, starving artist is a popular stereotype, often conjured up when someone wants to make a point about the impracticality of making money by making art. To be fair, artistic talent – that intangible ability to create captivating images, sculpture, and/or something else entirely – is essential for make a living at it. However, the core component of anyone’s argument against pursuing art as a career – that even talented people can’t earn money from art – is simply not true. As the following shows, it’s easier to sell your art than you think:

Originals Sold Commission-Free

The time, effort, and supplies that go into most artwork make them inherently valuable to the artist, let alone the passion, pride, and aesthetic qualities radiating from the work. Many “no name” artists are hesitant to sell originals, as they are unlikely to receive fair compensation for the investment and quality. However, it’s possible to sell an original oil painting or other piece of art commission-free online. This instantly grows the earnings potential of an artist’s work, as anywhere from 10% to 50% is otherwise destined for the middle man.

Image on Product(s)

It’s never been easier for consumers to get high quality, custom imagery printed on merchandise, thanks in part to advanced printing techniques and the internet. When it comes to fashion, having “one of a kind” shirts, hoodies, and shoes is all the rage these days, providing a market for artists to sell their original works as patterns for clothing. There are thousands of people out there (mostly younger) who would buy a sweater with a psychedelic star pattern but not the original painting or print. Artists ought to seize on this clientele to earn more for their work.


Of course, overcoming the obstacle of not wanting to sell original works at a loss can be achieved by selling prints. Depending on the work style, its size, and/or medium, a simple “scan” may not do the trick. An uncalculated photograph won’t do much either. The key is to take professional quality photographs of artwork not able to be scanned. Accounting for color balance and other important factors of photography will enable the prints to serve as near perfect replicas of the real thing, increasing the chances of a sale.


It’s not unheard of for unknown artists to be contacted about paid work after showcasing samples from their portfolio. Increasingly, popular sites like Reddit are providing a place for artists to share their creations, where users from around the world can then easily contact the creator. Simply posting an aforementioned scan or photo of your artwork could lead to a commissioned, or more. Post updated work without over saturating the social network you’re using and watch further requests come your way.


The old school way to sell your art is of course to head downtown or to a public park and hawk your wares. Too many young artists turn their nose up at this, but that’s kind of like aspiring comedians refusing to do open mics. It’s a “make your bones” experience and helps artists get to know their audience better. Of course, not all art forms are easily transported across town to sell on the street corner, but for the ones that are, it’s easier than you think to make a sale this way. Be willing to negotiate the price, but establish a limit in your head and stick to it. Oh yeah, and make sure to check the local laws on street sales.

We won’t say it’s easy to sell your art, it’s just easier than you think. Coupled with true artistic talent, a variety of avenues exist for income earned through art. It’s just a matter of how hungry an artist is to make a sale.