A Geometry Lesson for Selling Your Art

If you’ve been following my latest smARTips, I’ve been making the case that no side of the Art-Selling Equilateral Triangle can be left out.you_yourart_youraudience3

When learning how to sell your art successfully, there are 3 sides to consider equally.

1 -> You
2 -> Your Art
3 -> Your Audience

In experiential reality, of course, these three sides are always intertwined. We tease them out to make a point (or a few points).

What’s important here is that it’s the alignment…

of these 3 equal sides that also lines up the best possible sales.

The tricky part here is: equally, since each of you will be prone to giving one side or the other more weight.
In my last two smARTips, I talked about Side #1 and #2 – (You and Your Art)

But Side #3 -> Your Audience felt like an entire blog post.

And, yes, on the surface this seems to fly in the face of my equal weight point.

However, because I’ve worked with so many artists who misunderstand the essential relationship to their audience, who imagine that paying attention to their audience is the same as catering to a public opinion or approval, and this in turn leads to fears around compromised creativity, that in order to gain equal weight…

I’m going to step on the scales for a minute.

Without an audience, there is no show

True, there are those artists who create for their own pleasure alone. They are few and far between. The rest of us feel incomplete, or slightly dissatisfied if no one else sees our work.

Most artists have something to say, which implies there is someone else to hear it, see it, taste it, touch it.

I would argue that having an audience for your work is as essential as the work itself. And that for many of you having a buying audience is even more essential.

Besides the social animal fact of our human specie, we need each other as witnesses to our lives. And artists, who delve into the creative core of their hearts and souls, have an even deeper need of that witnessing.

Without your audience of potential buyers and collectors (or fans and admirers), there is a hollow space beneath the creative vision.

So, how does one begin to give equal weight to the Audience side of the Sell-Your-Art Equilateral Triangle?

Trust: the beginning of all great relationships

One of the things I love most about the Social Media revolution is that it has put the issue of trust right out front.

The whole point of friending and following is to build trust in relationships that cannot be dependent on geographical proximity. (I am not your next-door neighbor.)

Over time, tweeting and posting begins to reveal a personality that you either identify with or don’t. People expose their values, their preferences, and their positions. (And those who don’t will signal that maybe, just maybe you can’t trust them as much as you’d like to.).

Your audience of potential buyers and collectors want to trust you and your work – a quality that goes beyond loving what you do and that engenders a long-term relationship. (I can’t tell you how many artists have a handful of collectors who own 2 or more pieces of their work.)

And, right here (I could go on and on as there’s so much to this topic it boggles the mind…), I’m going to stop and ask you:

What are some of the ways you have discovered you can give your audience this trust in you and your work?

The comment line is OPEN!

Keep your eye on August because we’re going to delve into the many, many other ways, besides selling your art through galleries or by yourself, you can create a healthy cash flow.

And, no, I don’t mean a day job. :-)

13 Responses to “A Geometry Lesson for Selling Your Art”

  1. Sari says:


    Ok, I’ll bite…

    As it happens, I have been studying a different sort of triangle recently…I was reading a blog

    http://kloppenmum.wordpress.com/ called
    “All About Tantrums”, & learned about Karpman’s Triangle there…

    Karpman’s triangle puts people into 3 roles, persecutor, rescuer, or victim…

    The blog talks about how you can escape those roles…

    Now why am I reading a blog about children’s tantrums when I don’t have any children?

    Because I have been getting involved in conversations with other artists, some of who seem to be suffering from tantrum issues, & it seems to be becoming more common…

    What I know about anger, weird anger responses that seem inappropriate, not good anger, is that there are some biological factors happening as well as psychological…

    I’ve been seeing it in artists who live near water-they seem to get excess mercury from living near to sewage treatment plants

    (God knows so many artists choose the cheapest land in town), & the excess mercury in the gallbladder causes violent angry talk & behaviours…

    (Mercury builds cartilage with magnesium in a normal gallbladder-it’s just too much mercury that is the problem)…(Note: my work-Grove Body Part Chart-says that a little magnesium will help that problem)…

    Anyways, to your question…How do you build trust? With collectors, & I’d add, with your peers…

    Well, I like to see artists using the internet to communicate well…Like you said Ariane, you start to suss up a person’s style of being from reading what they write online…

    So I like to see artists interacting online, in ways that you can get a feel for their personality…

    In terms of trust? I see sudden angry outbursts, mean spirited responses, gang judgmentalism, censorship by peer group, & general lack of research before blurting out something aggressive…

    For me that burns trust to a cinder…

    The gospel of “More” creates situations where artists forget things that they have put out there, then angry answers when you try to address their query…They just plain forgot that they had asked the question…

    Narrow mindedness…Myself I have ventured recently into the Medical Arts…Yes, Arts…The root of the word medicine is Ars medicina, from the Greek, the art of healing…medical Arts buildings…

    Yet, artists have been busting me about me talking about medicine…Like I am not allowed to do anything but paint or sculpt? It is hard for me to believe that censorship of action is springing from the art community…


    Not only do artists need to communicate in a way that people can read or see online & in person, but that communication needs to be whole, healthy, sane, reasonable, not tantrums…

    This speaks to inner health biologically, as well as something you & some of your compatriots touch upon often, a healthy spiritual life…

    I was asked to be a beta tester for something called Happify…(Happify.com-people can go there & request an invite)…

    What struck me is how important it is for me to be happy in order to work & communicate & build trust…

    It is also key to discard knotted up gnarly things that are attached to good things…You know, resolve weird issues from your past…

    In order for an artist to build trust with collectors, you need to be trustworthy…That means some biological & psychological fine tuning…You can’t fake that…

    I identify your weaknesses & work on them…

    When a collector asks a “dumb” question, or another artist, try not to jump on them with aggression…

    Wow! The tantrums I see are truly remarkable…Like being an artist gives you the right to be a jerk?


    • Yes, Sari, I know exactly which tantrums you are referring to as I’ve been watching you – and them – in this online conversation that sort of went off the tracks.

      First, a note to you about that: GO GRL! Your responses rocked, even if the artist was so preoccupied with self-congratulatory righteousness that he had no clue he’d just been check mated!

      I love your awareness of the biology as well as the psychology affecting the trigger releases for inappropriate responses (online and off, I might add).

      And your point about being trustworthy in order to generate trust is a gem.

      In our overlapping universes, you have managed to bring up the point of trust between artists, just as I’m writing (right now, took a break to come here) about the artist-to-artist relationship for next month’s blog post.

      (Eyup, world, Ariane is actually ahead of the blog post game… that’s what happens when you plan for time off! – “Plan” being the operative concept, she says a bit sheepishly, knowing her history…)

      As for exploring the medical world, one of my best friends and artists started out as a medical transcriber before she grew her artist hair out – she and I talk all the time about science/medicine and art–one of the most compatible combinations ever!

      As for narrow-minded artists… let’s just say that even though artistic temperaments are quite different from, say, an electrician, artists’ biological, psychological, emotional, and personal history are standard fare with the rest of humanity.

      There’s a reason that reason isn’t sufficient to engender transformation, change… or trust.

      Immaturity has no professional boundaries, at least not as far as I’ve seen.

      • Sari says:

        I love you Ariane…Sari

        • oh, goodie gum drops – I get to go to bed tonight with a big smile on my face!

          Love also seems to not have any professional boundaries these days, Sari, something else I’m relishing about our New World.

          ♥ to you, good woman!

      • Norman says:

        Art & Science. I am reading, for the third time, Art & Physics bu Leonard Shlain. It is not an easy ride but worth it. I have a leg up having a background in both fields but the parallelism is astounding.


    • Norman says:

      I have noticed over the years, 75 of them, that very often people ignore you or do not even realize the you disagree when you stay ‘cool’. Research has shown that a firm, even aggressive response is all that will get through. As a teacher staying cool only serves to give the teacher ulcers.

      • Hmmmm, can’t say I’ve had the same experience.

        I find confidence helps get the message across, but never had to use an aggressive response.

        Can’t help but wonder if this falls out along gender lines…

  2. Sari says:

    Um typo near the bottom of my previous comment…Not “I identify your weaknesses…” but just “Identify your weaknesses”…No I ain’t in the counselling business!

  3. Ruth says:

    The first thing that comes to my mind is that I, as the artist, have to be honest with myself and my work. If I paint something because it sells well, but I’m “selling my soul” to do it, that’s going to come through, and I think my audience will pick up on it. I need to be honest in my pricing, and fulfill my obligations (commissions, email responses, paying suppliers). I need to be supportive of other artists and their work, not verbally throwing them under the bus to try to make myself look better.

    • Self-honesty, definitely. This goes along, Ruth, with Sari’s point about being trustworthy to generate trust.

      The point about what your audience will “pick up” is priceless. So often the subtle forces of what I call your energetic fingerprint simply gets lost in the focus on 3D realities.

  4. Kate Aubrey says:

    I have found open, honest, attentive communication to be very helpful in building trust in my audience. Oh, and don’t leave out “kind” in that string of adjectives.
    Not only are people often quite excited about talking to The Artist, they all have the same need I have to speak and be heard.
    Add gentle humor to that, and you can really make an impact…on them And on yourself.
    Hugs to you, Ariane.

    • Oh, I’m loving adding “kind” to the trust list.

      And the desire to be heard/seen – give that to someone and it’s pretty darn hard for them to forget you or your work!

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