I found some wonderful resources, but decided to track down my own real life expert with a lengthy career and a history in my own story and love of art.
I reached out to Mark Johnson.
He created the vibrant watercolor of the park in my hometown that hung in my childhood home.
In 2014 I came across a vintage screen print in an antique shop on Main Street for only 25 bucks and snatched it up right away.
Now, Johnson’s artwork is once again hanging in my home… 25 years later. Cool huh?
“I’d probably sold that to that person for $5 just so somebody would have it,” said Johnson.
I was thrilled when Mark invited me into his home. It’s actually a funny story. Click the link below to hear more.
He went through the story of each piece on the walls and stuffed into a closet.
“I’ve got hoards of stuff just stuck away somewhere,” said Johnson. “I’ve done all kinds of things. I’ve done modern art… crazy things people think what the heck were you thinking?”
Johnson set out to make a living with his craft in the 70s.
“I’d go to these art shows every weekend for a long time and I got tired of doing that,” Johnson said. “I used to try and sell this stuff all the time and it’s hard to do. You kind of run out of energy.”
It was back before the internet, so Johnson advertised in magazines and anywhere else he could find.
“I’ve done these park pictures and they like it,” said Johnson. “Probably just because they’re a picture of the park and everybody likes the place in the first place.”
He’s so right! Those park pictures were very popular. People love a reminder of a spot that brings back so many memories.
It’s a very important key for artists to keep in mind.
Example: There’s a popular artist in the town where I live now. He uses vibrant color combinations to paint the Blue Whale and Cain’s Ballroom.
However, people around here do and they want that memory hanging in their home.
See more from The Hammer Studio by clicking HERE. I’m sure I’ll end up with one of those pieces soon.
Back to Mark Johnson… he figured out a way to bring in a more regular income that is still along the same lines of his passion.
“I’ve framed up all kinds of things… documents, photographs, artwork. You name it.”
In one part of the interview I joked about framing people’s junk. Johnson strummed my heartstrings when he stopped and said, “It’s all pretty important or they wouldn’t want to get it framed.”
Check out more of Mark Johnson’s pieces HERE.
I recently found a great blog post called Why Artists Fail In Business And How To Go From Artist To Entrepreneur.
Arree Chung said, “The main reason why artists fail at business is because they don’t identify a viable market to fill.”
Most artists are expressing themselves, which is powerful… but not enough to sustain a business.
You have to think about the end-user. What value does your artwork offer and what need can you fill?
“Artists need to think not only about what they want to make, but also why a consumer would want to buy it.”
Chung came up with a way to use his artistic ability to create decals for children’s rooms.
The market was saturated, BUT mostly with cheap looking styles. He took the style AND safety up several notches.
“They are easy to apply, removable, inexpensive, and safe.”
If you really want to sell, that’s not the end. You have to craft a business model and systems with as much gusto as crafting your masterpiece.
As for myself… I like to master research and information, so here are some other valuable links I found online. I’d love to hear your story on selling online. Leave a comment and share the learning!
Click HERE to find close to 300 places to sell artwork online.
Create you own free and easy website. Click HERE for my favorite website with the best support for beginners.
Click HERE to read or listen to how to sell your artwork online and pricing that works.
HERE’s the homepage to sign up to start selling on Etsy.
Also, HERE’s a wonderful in-depth blog with answers to everything you need to know about selling on Etsy.
The easiest move is to upload your art to Fine Art America. It’s a simple site to use and has a global audience. They’ll take care of the printing, framing, matting, shipping, collecting payments from the buyers, and sending profits to the artists.
If you’re trying to sell artwork, don’t forget about local boutiques and coffee shops. It’s instant decor and business owners realize people notice when they support local artists.