About the Author: Jason Horejs

Jason Horejs is the Owner of Xanadu Gallery, author of best selling books "Starving" to Successful & How to Sell Art , publisher of reddotblog.com, and founder of ARTsala. Jason has helped thousands of artists prepare themselves to more effectively market their work, build relationships with galleries and collectors, and turn their artistic passion into a viable business. Connect with Jason on Facebook

29 Comments

  1. Boy, are you right! I sell pottery at our Farmer’s Market, as well as a few local galleries. One frequent visitor to my booth looks for all the world as though she is homeless, not a penny to her name.
    But she comes in, vocally admires whatever tickles her fancy, praises my work, and buys.

  2. Yes! I’ve sold Art to a completely disheveled looking, strange acting collector. Turned out he was a genius, a retired chemistry Prof, who didn’t care what he looked like, what he said to anyone or what you thought of him. His art collection has outgrown the walk space .

  3. Hello Jason,
    A few years ago, my SO/Partner and I sold hand-painted infant and toddler clothes at art fairs throughout the west. In Tuscon, we had the “stereotypical” Bad-Boy Biker come into our booth and we both thought “yea, right!”. Then he cooed “Oooohhh, these are precious!!”, and bought a few garments. I guess we had just had our pre-judgmental butts handed to us!

    –Chris
    [then] LaughterPieces

  4. Thank you, Jason, for your art moment. I always look forward to hearing what you have to say. Your gallery is beautiful. I have found that the art buyer is as unpredictable to spot as the piece of artwork that you might sell next.

  5. Jason,
    That is so very true. My dental hygiene background had me in lots of dental offices over the years. Several doctors wouldn’t discuss expensive treatments as “they aren’t interested” in that type of work. I would always let MY patients know what is available. They will “choose” what they want. If they did not know their whole smile could be enhanced, how would they know they could change it. If they want simple and inexpensive, they will tell you. And you should be a good listener and let them tell you want they want.

  6. Yup, I have seen some strange, disheveled people buy art or at least give you a nice art discussion. I always remember my landlord when I was a young girl who was a multi-millionaire who put a lot of money in a brown paper bag and shuffled around when he walked. You never can tell. My bias seems to be smell. I have to move away and keep my mental chatter down. Oh well, I’m sure we all have one bias!

  7. I learned this lesson years ago in two different venues, neither fine art but both closely related. When I was just out of college I worked for a time in a fine jewelry store in the northwest where there were a lot of very wealthy wheat ranchers. The owner of the store made a point of telling the young new help like me that what people wore or how they looked had nothing to do with what they might buy. “We sell diamonds worth thousands to the fellow in overalls and boots with cowshit on them. Be polite to everyone and never think appearance is what counts.” He was right.
    Years later I worked in a high-end floral design shop in New England where I learned that the people in the rattiest clothes were likely to spend the most money. It was a kind of point of honor not to flaunt their wealth in fancy clothes. These were people like the Henry Cabot Lodges (Mrs. Lodge was a customer)…
    Your point is excellent, Jason. Good luck with the person who has a camera in a fanny pack! Be sure to let us know – I have no doubt you’ll make that sale one of these days.

  8. boy is that true, I’ve had friends who completely blow people off because they don’t think they will purchase. My experience has been you just never know, not ever…….I had these goth kids in my studio right before we closed so I just kinda picked up and just waited and amazingly they bought a couple hundred dollars of small odds and ends definitely worth the extra 15-20 min they were in there. You never know…..not ever, seriously….

  9. I like Art Marketing Minute.

    I once had a wad of money and had to buy a house full of furniture. I went to a furniture store, and the sales person wouldn’t give me the time of day. I’m a petite woman and was dressed casual that day. The sales person ignored me for a good 15 minutes while I looked around the store. Then the sales person walked past me and went to talk to a tall, older, white gentleman wearing a jacket and polo shirt who had just walked in the store. I don’t know if he bought anything, but she lost out on several thousands of dollars in sales from me that day and didn’t even know it. A different reputable store got my business. I have to admit, I didn’t have a camera or a fanny pack.

    1. Tina, being a petite woman who wears very casual (but clean) clothes almost everywhere, I can identify with your post. I’ve had the same experience MANY times, of people from salespersons to food counter waitpersons who look over my head or even around me, to ask what another person wants.

  10. Thank you Jason, I agree with what you are saying. I talk to everyone who comes to my Exhibitions, and have sold to many who are just browsing and suddenly seeing one of my paintings that would look great in there home, and brought it. So you never know what is around the corner. I love painting with a passion, and the people I meet. Thank you for all the information you share.

  11. My husband is a salesperson in another high-dollar field. He says the same thing. One father and son came in to the store in old overalls and worked him and the manager over on a price…They did the deal, thinking these good old boys probably couldn’t spend any more, and they would otherwise lose the sale…Hubby’s jaw dropped when he saw them get into a Lotus in the parking lot and drive off (this was the 80’s)!

  12. We greet everyone the same way when they enter the gallery. You just never know who you are talking to & shouldn’t everyone be treated the same way anyway? I’ve had people with fanny packs & cameras alike spend a great deal of money in the gallery. I once knew a racist truck salesman trying to sell a truck to a Navajo gentleman. He told the guy he didn’t think he had the cash for the sale. Then the Navajo guy took off one boot & then the other & dumped $20,000. cash on the salesman’s desk. Ahem……ass well handed.

  13. There is a notion that I subscribe to that whatever you think about, give attention to, creates what you get. If you think that certain types of people don’t buy your art, or even think that certain types of art don’t sell, that is what you will get. You are actually attracting it by holding a contrary thought. I hold this notion because I have experienced it. If you think that all those who see your art are potential customers you have a better opportunity to make sales. Maybe not every time but often enough.

    1. Isn’t that the old Henry Ford adage “whether you think you can, or think you can’t – you’re right!”? (I might have the quote slightly mis-quoted.

  14. I like the old saying, “If you think you can or you think you can’t, you are exactly right.” Sorry, I’ve already written one response, but just really wanted. To squeeze this one in too. Thanks.

  15. I once worked for commission in a high end furniture store. The sales staff took turns greeting customers who walked in. It was my co-workers turn when an older African American couple walked in. He was in overhauls and his wife in a house dress. My coworker announced to the rest of us, ‘they’re not going to buy anything’ and turned to me and said, ‘you can have them’. I walked over, greeted them and they said, ‘we want to buy a dinning room set’ and did! Queen Anne, in cherry wood. They paid cash! I made a nice commission waiting on a very nice, ‘down to earth’s couple. David K.,Connecticut

  16. You are so right, David! Laurie and Jim (I’ll call them) first attended one of my home studio sales years ago. They were not stylishly dressed, in fact, looked like they had come back from grocery shopping or running errands. They were so quiet and laid back as to almost disappear among the 150 or so attendees. They looked at all my paintings and purchased a small oil. Over the years, Laurie and Jim have attended all my home shows and usually purchase a small oil for their collection. They have acquired over 15 of my pieces and I’m not the only artist they collect. Laurie and Jim, salt-of-the-earth art collectors.

  17. I think collectors come in all shapes, sizes and dress. As told to me by gallery staff: On the first day of my recent group show, a woman walked by the front window of the gallery and stopped to stare inside at the wall where my work was hanging. She was dressed in faded jeans, old rain boots, well-worn jacket and led a pack of (wet) dogs on leashes. She ended up buying 8 pieces of my art in one fell swoop.

  18. It reminds me of the old saying ‘Never judge a book by it’s cover’ I’ve learnt my lesson too many times so now I treat everyone as a potential buyer or collector of my artwork…

  19. Jason, I read your blog faithfully! I am reminded of a great story about Sam Walton always driving a very old truck while dressed in work clothes in a very small Arkansas town. His daughter, Alice, through the Walton Foundation has built a fabulous art museum, Crystal Bridges. It is full of American art masterpieces They are the Walton family founders
    of Wal-Mart stores. Definitely don’t judge shoppers by appearance or first impression!
    Another funny story…my friend is a petite African American lady who always shops with cash. Ok, she had $50,000 in cash in a brown paper bag. Probably not very safe! But she was buying a new car! Went to 2 dealers to find a car salesman who wanted to sell her a car!! Wow!

  20. I would agree with your summary in general Jason, although I have to say, I am yet to sell a painting to an AMATEUR artist. We welcome everyone to our gallery, but the amateur artists who belong to art groups, over here in England, at least, have their own work on their walls, but if you suggest that they might like to BUY one of their heroes’ paintings, so they have one at home to inspire them, it’s as if you are asking if they would like you to saw off one of their legs! I’ve never been able to fathom it, but live in hope that one day, we WILL sell a piece to an amateur artist, but so far, I regret, not once have we been successful. And it cannot be that NONE of them can afford a piece. Would be interested if you experience the same over on your side of the pond…

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