Saturday, November 14, 2015


We're all capable of DREAMING BIG and most everyone does. Just look at the lotteries and the million dollar checks from Publishers Clearing House. Look at thousands of teenagers who spend hours on their neighborhood basketball courts dreaming of NBA careers. Consider how many folks sit at their computers and dream of starting a Microsoft, Apple or Facebook. Look at the hundreds of people with cash who dreamed Bernie Madov would make it into a REALLY BIG fortune. How many have seen their dreams turn into reality?

Lots of people are capable of THINKING BIG. They've attended multilevel “opportunity” meetings, clicked on the link to “Single mom in 'my town' makes $600 an hour, part time,” “Make a fortune in Real Estate with no money down,” or “Billions in Grant Money going begging.” Some have taken at least a few of the recommended steps investing time and dollars toward reaching BIG. And some have made it – there ARE “triple diamond” Amway distributors, and some savvy speculators own properties they bought for pennies at tax sales or foreclosures! There are more inspirational books, blogs and seminars on THINKING BIG than anyone could read or attend in a lifetime. Thinking, reading or attending isn't the key to BIG.  DOING is the difference.

As an art rep for more than twenty years, knowing many artists with big dreams and loads of talent, I've met quite few who went from DREAMING BIG to THINKING BIG. I've represented a few who went from THINKING BIG to MAKING IT BIG, by taking advice from the best and following through on what they were taught. The best of these experts, in my opinion, is Barney Davey, who gives practical, no nonsense, steps to success in his books and his blog, while keeping in mind that what constitutes success varies in scope with each individual and his circumstances.

If only I had Barney's books when I started my art career, I might be able to look you in the eye today and say, “I MADE IT BIG!” - while leaning on my Lamborghini Countach in front of my waterfront mansion and glancing at my Rolex watch.

The truth is, like most want-to-be-artists supporting a family, working to pay the mortgage and stay current with the bills - I NEVER MADE IT BIG. I also learned that HALF BIG or even a QUARTER BIG isn't that bad.

On the way to becoming owner of an ad agency, then building a business as an art rep, I learned THE ADVANTAGES OF THINKING SMALL – accomplishing one small goal, before moving on to the next, without spending time or stress concerned with how far I'd come to reaching BIG. I'm not claiming the way I did it is the best way to earning a living as an artist, but I can attest that any artists willing step outside of their “Comfort Cage“ by actually standing in front of a potential buyer and selling what they create, will find one sure way to earn a living. But, keep in mind, it's just one way.

Sunday, September 27, 2015


Here are art rep and artist, Dick Harrison’s TEN COMMANDMENTS for selling what you create:


2. The most effective way to show and sell your art is almost always in person with the art in hand. If you show and sell your own work, you deserve 100% of the profit. If you ask others to help you sell your art, they must be fairly compensated for their knowledge, time, effort and expenses.

3. Learn how the “art business” really works – who gets how much and why. There are accepted standards and you are not an exception.

4. As a professional artist part of your productive working hours WILL be spent in selling and promoting yourself and your art. Think 50%.

5. Interior Designers, Decorators, Architects, Gallery Personnel, Accessory Buyers, Consultants and Art Reps who help you sell your work are ART PROFESSIONALS, too. They should be treated as such.

6. Never undercut the prices you have established with the sales professionals who help sell your work. “Back door” or “studio sales” to an associate’s client is the worst “sin” an artist can commit.

7. Talent and technical excellence are not the only skills necessary for a successful career in art.

8. Develop a distinctive style, theme or subject matter.

9. Stay aware of art trends, particularly “fashionable” colors and subjects that drive the market.

10. Never stop learning. Listen to the people who buy your art or sell it for you. If you aren’t selling, you aren’t listening - or you are aiming at the wrong audience. Be ready to adapt or change your approach.

Saturday, September 26, 2015


Selling Art to Interior Designers with JND
November 23, 2013 by Barney Davey

The Just Noticeable Difference (JND) Scale for Artists

This a guest post by Dick Harrison, the author of Sales Tips For Artists. His previous guest postHow to Sell Art To Interior Designers, remains one of the most popular posts among the 500+ published on this blog.

What Is the JND Scale?
  1. So that negative changes such as reductions in product size or quality, or increase in the product price are not discernible to the public. That is, they remain below the JND.
  1. So that product improvements, for example, improved or updated packaging, larger size or lower prices, are obviously apparent to consumers without being wastefully extravagant. That is, they are at or just above the JND.

Presentation Drives Perceptions – Seeing Is Believing

The  JND Scale is a psychophysics term. It is used for a variety of purposes, including marketing, to measure small differences people notice.

According to Wikipedia, “Manufacturers and marketers endeavor to determine the relevant JND for their products for two distinctly different reasons:
When it comes to product improvements, marketers very much want to meet or exceed their buyer’s differential threshold. Simply, they want to make it easy for consumers to appreciate any improvements made in the original products and not observe negative aspects. If they increase the size of the product, they make the packaging larger. If they reduce the size of the product, they keep the packaging size the same."

It is admittedly a bit of a stretch, but I think the concept of the JND Scale helps to explain why equally well-done work by some artists sells steadily when work by others does not. Often, the JND in what or how artists create is subtle, but perceptible, in ways that makes selling art by them easier and faster. Interior designers’ work is all about visual interpretation and perception. The best are JND masters.

Selling Art to Interior Designers

For more than 20 years, I was an independent, full-time art rep selling to leading interior designers and art galleries in Florida. During that time, I came to know some artists had a JND to their work while others did not. This was despite equal technical skills, materials used and similar subject matter. The JND Scale explained the difference.
Invariably, when I placed comparable pieces of art, suitable in color and theme to a client’s project, I nearly always knew which would be chosen. Although both were exceptional works of art that I was pleased to offer, those that sold quickly and easily had the JND. Often, the buyer could not elaborate their buying decision, but my experience let me know the JND drove the sale.

My staples were landscapes, florals, birds, animals, and beach and water scenes. Many talented artists create art that match that general description. Most of these subjects and scenes were of places the customer already knew, or would like to see. My top selling pieces were those that evoked a desire in buyers to want hang the work in their home or office so they could enjoy looking at it every day. In my experience, it was in the way an artist approached his or her creation that affected the JND Scale.

Interior Designers Loved Ken Hawk — He Personified JND

Ken Hawk was one of my bestselling artists. His flair for color and brilliant palette, used on whatever he painted, was what set him on the JND Scale. My Florida based buyers could not resist the unique way he used color.

Interior designers loved to mix it into their commercial and residential designs. Collectors wanted to own it. Certainly having a remarkable colorful palette like Ken’s, which was so crucial to the many interior designers with whom I worked, is one way artists can bring the JND Scale into their work.

Interior Designers Love Colors that Complement

Interior designers loved Ken Hawk
Other ways I see the JND Scale fitting into an artist’s work are when it has a rather unexpected viewpoint of a subject. Sometimes, it was because the subject that although it might have fit into one of the broad categories mentioned above, was presented in a way the buyer had never or rarely seen.

Christina Wyatt’s Work Is an Example of the Unexpected Viewpoint

Christina Wyatt’s work is a perfect example of the unexpected viewpoint of a subject. I met her through Barney Davey, publisher of this Art Print Issues blog.
She tells me a number of other Florida artists are now painting mermaid subjects, which is an unfortunate byproduct of being successful and unique. Without question, at the time I was actively selling art in my Florida territory that is fascinated and surrounded by things aquatic, I would have sold lots of her gorgeous underwater creatures – real and imagined as hers are – with great success.

While her original work and her fine art prints are something my buyers might not have at first expected to hang on their walls, they would have eventually succumbed finding it too exotic and wondrous to resist. That is the power of the JND Scale at work. 

Christina Wyatt
Christina Wyatt – The Mermaid’s Sanctuary

Nike Parton - Freedom and Spontaneity

Nike Parton was a Florida artist, who probably had the most “free” watercolor style I’ve run across. She built a loyal following of devoted collectors and interior designers through her long life. They loved her unique style. It was the ability to create what at first glance seemed a “careless” brush stroke, but was work that spoke volumes. It was realism so “loose” in technique that it caught the subject in a way a detailed “like it is” could not. You can see more of her work, and spontaneous style, on
JND and Pricing Art

Nike Parton's work delighted interior designers and collectors

Nike Parton – The Caretaker’s House

If you are at that hoped for the point when you are selling so much art, or where you think the current price point for your images needs upward adjustment, the JND Scale can come into play just as it does for the “manufacturers” mentioned in the definition at the start of this article. If your JND is in place, your new pricing will not be so obvious to induce a buyer to hesitate to purchase it. Or, perhaps your smaller pieces are now selling at prices similar to what your larger pieces sold for before you applied the JND Scale to your work.

I suggest you critically look at your own work. You may find it has the JND that sets it apart. Knowledgeable designers, art buyers, and collectors can look at a piece of art and say, “That has to be done by so and so.” Compared to other artists you are selling against does your art exhibit that distinction?

Always think of your work with a capital “A” to set it apart in your mind. This is how you want it perceived in the minds of your collectors. They need help to decide they want your unique creations enough to pay new higher prices for your worthy talent, hard work and creativity.

Many artists understandably shudder at being lumped in with the manufactures of everyday products with discussion of such things as the JND Scale, but the truth is you do manufacture a product. Your art is both a creation of your skill and innovation and a production. There is no shame in that. Likewise, there is no shame is working at putting the JND Scale to use in your art career.

It is not about calculating how to create work made to sell. It is about making work that makes you happy. Art you are proud to have made and proud to know it is easily finds a place to be loved and appreciated. When your work comes from the heart of your creativity, excels in its presentation, and touches buyers and motivates sales, the JND Scale is nothing more than a way to think about why you are successful from a business perspective. When you are selling art regularly, the result of fattening up your bank account cannot hurt either.

There is another JUST NOTICEABLE DIFFERENCE (JND) I’ll write about in another article or blog that every artist can use to increase sales. The working title is: I’M NOT A SALESMAN! – REALLY?

Wednesday, March 27, 2013


Do you want to fatten your wallet or trim your waistline? Here are eight reasons why it isn’t happening:

No focus: you didn't set goals, you didn't put your goals in writing, and you didn't keep your goals in mind daily.
No priorities: you may have set a goal, but you didn't put it on or near the top of your priorities list.
No support system: you tried to go at it alone; no buddy system, partners, family, spouse, friends, mentors or coaches to turn to for information and support.
No accountability: you didn't keep score for your own accountability, and you didn't set up external accountability (ie. report to someone else or show your results to someone else)
No patience: you were only thinking short term and had unrealistic expectations.
No planning: you winged it. You didn't plan your work into your weekly schedule; you didn't have a “menu” on paper, you didn't make time (so instead you made excuses, like "I'm too busy")
No balance: your program was too extreme. You went the all-or-nothing, "I want it now" route instead of the moderate, slow-and-steady wins the race.
No personalization: your program was the wrong one for you. It might have worked for someone else, but it didn't suit your schedule, personality, lifestyle, or disposition.

One of the best Internet advisers on food and exercise is Tom Venuto. He's a top class mentor for body-builders and his straight from the Deltoid advise is backed with the best scientific and common sense information on exercise and diet - how to do it and keep doing it. His eight reasons why people fall off the Diet or Exercise wagon apply just as well to any artist who wants to become a success. In fact, what he says can be applied to anyone starting a business or endeavor of any sort.

These principles are lifted directly from: FAT BURNING TIPS NEWSLETTER Brought to you by Tom Venuto and Burn The Fat

If you want to become physically fit, check in with someone like Tom Venuto who has made it happen. If you’re an artist, look in on Barney Davey’s or my