Sourcing and Selling Art – How to Approach the Business

Sourcing and Selling Art – How to Approach the Business

We are living in unprecedented times, in a vast number of different and unique ways. The near-ubiquity of internet access has given amateur and professional artists alike the opportunity to share their work to more people than ever before, making for an incalculably large flow of art; meanwhile the burgeoning new epoch of AI technology is promising art on demand to those without the skills to create for themselves.

Of course, the debate around AI art has been febrile, with arguments ranging from the soullessness of created works to the plagiaristic nature of AI trained on pre-existing art. Suffice to say, despite the limitless abundance of art in today’s world, it remains a highly valuable thing – and especially so to the right seller. But how might you start an art selling business today?

Establishing Your Brand

Before entering into your art-selling enterprise proper, you should first devote some time to considering the form your brand will take. Generally speaking, the term ‘brand’ applies to your outward form – the way in which you present yourself to customers and clients, whether in terms of logo and visual asset design or your tone of voice in content and correspondence. Here, though, ‘brand’ takes on a much broader meaning, going to the core of your enterprise.

Here, your brand as an art seller is akin to your philosophy, and the central manner in which you intend to operate. For instance, some art sellers’ brands relate to the uplifting of lesser-known and talented young artists, while others might lean towards the collection and sale of esoteric vintage works. Where you position yourself as a brand will have impacts for your position within the industry, your income and cashflow, and the resources you use in order to ply your trade.

Protecting Your Brand

At the same time as establishing your brand and structure, you should also be giving some time to understanding the legal systems in place behind the sourcing and sale of art. Forgeries and copyright law are particularly prescient considerations, and alone enough to constitute the seeking of independent counsel as you start to incorporate yourself.

This legal assistance could also be indispensable for generating terms with potential artists, buyers and other such clients. Creating iron-clad contracts enables you to insulate your business from the potentially costly fallout of copyright snafus or plagiarism claims.

Venues for Sale

The act of finding artists and artworks to sell is much simpler than the act of finding sellers and sale venues – if only for the glut of talented artists and valuable works waiting for representation. Choosing how to market your roster is markedly more difficult, but made easier through being informed by your brand. 

As an art seller with a focus on newer artists, you might lean into contemporary forms of art sale and solicitation: platforms like Etsy, social media accounts and influencer reach. Hospitality venues and pop-ups at independent craft markets may also but you in better touch with your target audience. For more conventional art dealing, finding a gallery or exhibition space to partner with can make life far, far easier.

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