There is a difference between "Trendy" and "Comfortable"art appealing to two different sorts of buyers. As an art rep for 20 years I sold to both sorts of buyers. About 85% of my customers were Interior Designers, Decorators and Architects. This huge market many artists overlook bought art from me over and over again for years. Sometimes a single piece, sometimes several, often a score of pieces and occasionally hundreds, depending on the project they were working on. I sold more “Comfortable” art by far. By comfortable I mean art that wears well; art the owner will look at and enjoy daily for years, and sometimes pass on to children who grow up with, and grow to love a special piece.
That doesn't mean artists shouldn't be aware of trends, particularly color trends. Florals, landscapes, birds and boats are ever popular. These "wear well," but don't think for a second we are talking about "ho-hum" images. My best selling artists painted those subjects time and again, but my top sellers painted with a "just noticeable difference" in style, palette, conception that set their images apart. My buyers may not have been able to verbalize what the JND was, but they recognized it immediately and wrote checks to acquire it.
"Trendy" art is sometimes purchased to impress friends or business associates, to build a body of work that may become collectible and increase in value, or satisfy a buyer's particular taste for the unusual. All are valid reason to purchase – including "comfortable" art. I dealt with a number of "cutting edge" designers who recognized what was about to be "hot" before it came to a boil. They recognized "trendy" and led hundreds of other designers into trends that became comfortable over time.
Barney Davey and I have collaborated on HOW TO SELL ART TO INTERIOR DESIGNERS (See Amazon > Books > Dick Harrison). For many, it has become a manual for making money without abandoning "serious" art. There are a few "nose in the air artists" who denigrate "decorative"and “comfortable” as less than worthwhile. Some may even believe “marketing” is beneath them. A few may have reached their ivory towers, but most starve a little each day in their garrets.
Book Review: How to Sell Art to Interior Designers
By Barney Davey & Dick Harrison
Published by Bold Star Media
© Copyright 2014
Learn from the pros how to sell your art successfully
Barney Davey and Dick Harrison, who are both dedicated the business of selling art, share their many years of experience and expertise to help both up-and-coming artists and seasoned veteran to venture into the field.
Many artists do not have the business acumen to know how to sell their art. In fact often their creative passions override the fact that they might actually make a living from it. However, doing so takes knowledge that only these art industry pros can provide.
“To make a living from your art… your plan must go well beyond passion and involve generating a profit as well,” the authors note.
This book provides “insider information” and advice on such topics as the various types of interior designers, how to sell your art to them, the importance of tailoring your own artistic ability to meet the needs of particular clients and how to keep them coming back.
“When you demonstrate that you and your art can regularly fill a need or solve a problem for an interior designer, you’re well on your way to developing a long-term, mutually beneficial relationship.”
You will also learn how to present your work in the best possible light and the various alternative options for selling more of your artwork. Although the title of the book implies that interior designers are an artist’s only choice, the authors present other options as well.
Rather than putting your eggs all in one or even a few individual baskets, the authors show you how to diversify into other fields such as design centers. Find out how these centers operate, how to locate and connect with them, and how they could become another valuable source of income.
“Individual vendors in these design centers are in the business of selling art, primarily to interior designers, so the potential for multiple sales of primarily reproductions to one vendor is very promising.”
They also write about corporate art consultants and corporate art buyers. Find out what they do, how to locate them, how to determine their needs and how you could work with them.
You will also learn how to harness the power of networking both on and off the Internet including the importance of establishing relationships, good communication skills and why you should maintaining a blog or web site. Like many artists, you might panic at the thought of promoting your art. You will learn how to lose the fear of selling, and the seven ways you might sabotage your chances.
No matter what route you take to sell your art the authors warn, “There are companies that prey on artists…Due diligence is always required.”
This book is a highly valuable resource that every artist should read so they know the opportunities that exist for them to sell their work while avoiding the pitfalls along the way.