How to Begin Selling Your Art-Part 2

How to Begin Selling Your Art-Part 2

This video is a follow up to one I did about 2 years ago. The reason for the follow up is that I have received numerous questions about how to approach businesses (that aren’t art related businesses) to display work. (The link for the original video can be found below).

In my city, there are numerous places in our central business district that display artwork, so I assumed that businesses in most other areas do this as well. I was mistaken - that is why I received so many questions. Me, and many other artists I know have sold, and continue to sell, their work in non-traditional art venues. These venues may include coffee shops, bakeries, distillers, wineries, bank lobbies, hotel lobbies, boutique dress shops, hospitals, senior living communities and restaurants to name a few. While folks don’t go to these businesses to buy art, many times they do because they feel a connection with the work. It’s a great way to get your art up, seen and sold when you are starting out. Before you approach a business about displaying your work , you need a plan.

There will be issues common to most all businesses with regard to installing a display of art. Make sure you have answers to the questions before approaching the business about displaying your work. This will insure you are prepared and appear professional. Here are some things you need to consider:

  • When will the work be installed? During business hours, after business hours, on weekends, etc?

  • Will you be placing nails or hangers in the walls and will the owner appreciate that? Or will you have an alternate proposition that doesn’t harm the walls and can be removed easily with the display?

  • How will sales be handled? Will the business be responsible for the sales transactions or will you be? This is usually the biggest issue. (More on this below) Do you offer the business owner a commission on all sales? What will their incentive be for letting you hang work?

  • Does the business have insurance to cover unforseen events or do you need to have coverage for it?

  • What is the duration of the display?

  • Will there be a reception when the display period begins? If so, who pays for it? Who invites the guests? Is it during business hours or after hours?

  • Do you need a written contract or will a verbal agreement be enough?

You don’t need the answers to all these questions before you approach a business, but have a list with you of items you need to discuss with them so that both parties understand their responsibilities.

So many people asked, “How do I approach a business?” Search for several businesses that would be good possibilities. Make sure they are in a good location, have good foot traffic, have lots of wall space, etc. Then just walk in, introduce yourself and ask to speak with the business owner. Tell the owner you’re a local artist and you would like to display your artwork in their business. Simple as that. It also helps, of course if you are already a patron of the business and already know the owner. Be sure and have a checklist with you like the one above so that you don’t forget the major issues that need to be discussed with the business owner.

How do you handle sales? This will be your biggest issue. The business could collect checks for you, however few people write checks anymore, so this approach leaves out many potential buyers. The business could process the credit card charges for you, but remember the credit card companies charge at least a 2.75% fee, so the business owner would be losing money and he would have those charges on his register for purchases not made for products at his business - so this is really not a good idea. You could agree to meet with prospective buyers at the business to process the transaction, but this would disrupt your day, particularly if this is a side hustle for you.

Here’s what I have found that works well. If you have a website, you can get a QR code (Quick Response code-code generator sites can be found through Google) for the checkout page for each piece of art in your show. That code can be put on the wall labels so that the customer scans the code and pays for the item right there on their phone of tablet. If you allow folks to take the work before the show is over, they can immediately show the receipt on their device to the staff and take the painting home with them. Easy peasy.

Now get out there and sell some work! You can do it!

The original video, Part 1 can be seen here:

If you'd like to learn about abstract painting, then please join me for a painting workshop: (You can view a list of 2019 workshops HERE)

  • June 12-14, 2019 David M. Kessler Fine Art Studio, Winston-Salem, NC. For information and registration Click Here. Only 2 seats left!

  • June 20-22 Floyd Art Center, Floyd, VA. For information and registration Click Here.

  • July 10-12 David M. Kessler Fine Art Studio-Mentorship Workshop, Winston-Salem, NC. For information and registration Click Here.

  • July 19 David M. Kessler Fine Art Studio-Modern Watercolor on Canvas, Winston-Salem, NC. For information and registration Click Here.

  • July 24-26 Showcase Art Center, Greeley, CO. For information and registration contact Colette Pitcher, email:

  • August 7-9 David M. Kessler Fine Art Studio, Winston-Salem, NC. For information and Registration Click Here.

As always, thanks for your support!


P.S. If you you'd like to learn more about Abstract Painting in the comfort of your home or studio, I have a great course called Abstract Painting Academy available for you:

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