how do I know if I am good enough to exhibit in the market? I mean, I may think I'm really good and my friend  would also consider my work great but how would I know if I would sell or that I should now be ready to exhibit my stuff. Basically I want to know where do I start?

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These are the very questions every artist must consider when they begin the journey of discovering the best way to sell their work Baljeet. Only with a little trial and error testing will you know for sure! You kind of have to pick a place to start and just dive in.

Here are some helpful tips I found useful when I was getting started selling my work:

  • Sell your work at a show with a friend who already has an established following.
  • Visit the shows in your market and look at what is selling. Do you see a place for your work?
  • Ask for input about the marketability of your work from friends who will be honest and direct.
  • Try out a few smaller shows and see what happens.

The best advice I can give is to look at your options for selling, find one that most appeals to you, and start small. This is a great way to begin!


When the funds are low you kind of keep wondering if you should invest in frames and what if no one buys. My worst fear is putting up a sale at a fair and no one buys anything because people so not come to fairs to buy acrylic abstracts and I don't exactly paint trees and beautiful houses. Art is great as a hobby but the selling part makes me scared as if I were a child who has not his homework.  

Thanks Suzanne..I am thinking of painting a few pieces and putting up a show at a local cafe. I am not too sure of a sale because honestly I wonder if people would visit a painting exhibit at a cafe. But suggest me how many pieces should I put up for starts, approximately? and should I invest in frames as well? 

That is a good question. Friends usually try to be nice :-). Ok, I am actually still beginning, but I made a facebook page, I plan on exhibit some paintings in a bar I know - if they let me. And I am doing events with a group of people every two weeks - painting outside and showing pictures. I think the best way is just trying to be out there and let people see what you do.

However, I am not looking for selling, because I know even for professionals it is very hard. At least here in Germany.They do artshows and stuff, but almost never sell anything there. If, they do paintings on order or one woman I know, sells watercolor paintings over ebay to make a living. And these people are professional artists for years. But maybe it is different in the US.

Wikipedia: A convention is a set of agreed, stipulated or generally accepted standards, norms, social norms or criteria, often taking the form of a custom.

Baljeet, It would be a good idea to ask these questions to the people who own the bar that you plan to approach for an exhibit. They will have a certain amount of space available for your exhibit and will have ideas for the type of work they will accept and will also know what type of framing they would like to see in their bar.

Most property owners have guidelines in place for exhibits. I would ask them what they want to see and go from there. Good luck with your exhibit. Invest only as much money in making art to sell as you can easily afford!

thanks Suzanne, your reply was very helpful. 

you are so right Jazzylady. Sometimes it seems there are more people making pictures than the ones who want to buy. Even in India there are lot of exhibits but mostly by popular artists. Even the trend of holding group exhibitions is limited to people with some art background like art colleges and all. It is very hard for an amateur like me to break into that circle. I don't come to know at all about these exhibitions till I read in the paper the next day, may be because I paint at home and do not have any friend doing the same thing. Well, may be it is just a matter of time and things will improve..

From what people tell me here, there are a lot of snobs in the art scene, it is really about prestige. And if you don't have a formal background you have a little chance. It depends what you are aiming for. I personally just want to do what I like, so I don't worry about these things. Of course I am happy if people like my art and I wouldn't mind selling something, but I have no control over it. But it is definitely a good idea to find friends who are doing the same, I did that and it is so much fun. And in my case taking a class and practice a lot. It really brings you forward.

ur right. it's all about networking I think. and work on...teh tortoise would win the race one day..ha ha..

I think a good place to start is to join an artist co-op that you admire and in which your artwork will likely fit. That way you start with a group of people who have contacts already which will help you learn the ropes.

Its good to go over there and talk to some of the artists first and show a few of them some of your pieces to see how they respond.

I plan to do that myself as soon as I have enough watercolor/pencil/ink mixed media pieces ready to show. I already showed them a small notebook of pen and ink pieces they really liked.

I also think it helps to follow your muse honestly rather than worry so much about what has worked for someone else. Developing one's vision and then staying true to it (assuming it really resonates with your subconscious and conscious visual mind) comes through. In my experience, folks tend to like that. Plus it helps you keep at it with energy and enthusiasm. Of course you can evolve, and should, and sometimes even radically change. But you get my drift, yes?

Well you don't have to stay there forever. IMHO it helps to join a group for a while to learn the ropes.

I also think participating in competitions is a great help--both little ones and big ones as time goes on.

And of course, biting the bullet and sending out queries to various galleries--especially after you have made yourself a website. I personally like the user friendly kind like wordpress--so you don't necessarily have to hire a website designer to get your work out. Various art groups also often can help with this too since some have website builder technology built in.

There will be times you will sell, and times you won't.  I would suggest, get a couple of friends to sell with you, so you can split the vending cost at least.  I'm still in the red at the moment; however, every show or fair I vend at will give my artwork exposure that it wouldn't normally get.  I can't go to the big fancy stuff yet, but in my area, vending fees are pretty small, so while I may not make much profit, I'm not investing all my money.  You can also have a great chance to meet other crafters/artists who can help you find more connections and opportunities.  I have to tell myself this all the time - "You have to begin somewhere."  Just have to remember you are worth the investment.  :-) 



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