Art Marketing Minute | Overcoming Your Prejudices When Selling Your Art

If your ultimate desire is to make sales, it behooves you to make a conscious decision to build positive relationships with each and every viewer of your work. You need to set aside any prejudices, develop sensitivity to your customer’s needs, and avoid anything and everything that might offend.

Watch the video below for more on overcoming prejudice.

Have you Overcome Prejudice?

What have you done to combat any prejudicial tendencies you might have toward potential buyers. What have your art-selling experiences taught you about the importance of providing great service and building relationships with everyone you encounter? Please leave your thoughts and experiences in the comments below.

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About the Author: Jason Horejs

Jason Horejs is the Owner of Xanadu Gallery, author of Dad was an Artist | A Survivor's Story and 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

21 Comments

  1. I do not have nearly the years of experience as many whose comments I read, but even without prejudice, I have been surprised many times at who is an art buyer. I’ve learned that you cannot ever size someone up on first glance to determine their likelihood to purchase something – it has often been those I sized up as not having much potential who have made the larger purchases. I’ve learned to always stay open – to everyone.

  2. Agreed… best to keep conversations light and focused on art. I don’t comment once someone disagrees especially on a political subject anymore. Once they’ve presented their point I try bring the conversation back to art. It’s really not worth the aggravation. Private conversations are another matter; even there I usually limit my comments to “Well, I don’t agree.” if that’s the case.

  3. A lot of the work I do sells locally . Many repeat customers are either friends or know me from other friends. I do sometimes sell to tourists . I have found that quite a few pieces have gone to fellow artists .

    When I worked for a gallery, my boss told me not to judge others. One of our most irritating customers( she threw a dead spider at me) was also responsible for buying a lot of art. I thanked her for drawing my attention to the spider and disposed of it. And had a whiskey when I got home.

  4. Well of course there is going to be nasty people who also buy your work and hundreds that do not have same moral code. I detest hunters and I had one trying to commission a piece from me. I didn’t do the piece for that client for many reasons but I think the more people buy your art the more money you can use to for good in this world and to support your work.

    I really think the best collectors are actually the ones that are not rich. Wealthy people just buy art from already really well known artists, so they do support art but they just support very few artists in the art industry, as normal people support all the artists that are emerging or trying to succeed! In fact is the public that really supports the career of most artist that one day would be selling to the millionaires. Millionaires don’t support them until they made it and many galleries do similar!

  5. I have worried a bit over the titles of some of my pieces. They come from my music and contemplative experiences. Since I currently don’t sell much of my work (establishing a market), I don’t have a real gauge.
    I’m at a crossroads with “titling”, “Telling the story”, and potentially “offensive” references.

    There are a couple of pieces I’ve done which are entitled “Lux” (Latin for light).
    Why not “LIght” is the question.
    Quick answer- it doesn’t have the same context or meaning nor does it sound as pretty.
    The problem is with using Latin for some of my staunchly Protestant audience.
    I feel deeply about my title and intent of the work.
    What might I do that “threads this fine needle”?

    I point this out only to show how very near the surface some of these topics are for many people.

  6. I really enjoy having relationships with clients, students, gallery personal and other artists that are focused entirely on a common interest in art. It’s great to have so many relationships where political views never come up.

  7. When reading the initial subject of this post, my thoughts were reflecting on a sale I once made, that I initially rejected. The customer, someone I had only known of…the friend of a friend. She liked and wanted to purchase an acrylic on canvas board of the ocean. She said it would look just right in her bathroom (I assume it was a large one). I explained the humidity might damage it and she said it wouldn’t.. I chose to put off the sale because I didn’t want it damaged. Everyone said I should consider it a sale and go for it, stop being so particular. Since each piece is one of my children and I don’t want to see it “hurt”, I couldn’t see the money for the damage, so to speak. I was also considering the what ifs…could she demand her money back when it fell apart, legally…her word against mine. I did sell to her, with other people around so they heard me tell her the humidity could damage it. What are your reactions?

  8. Many times I have people interested in a work and they have a story or sn explanation to tell me about the artwork I made. It may quite differ from my initial motive and intention, but instead of imposing myself on them I allow them to seize the moment and make it their own, especially if they’re interested in buying. I allow things to flow and leave all judgement aside and smile!

  9. This topic brings up a question for artists who include scripture-based art in their work. Since being perpetually offended by someone or something is the social trend of the moment (in which I refuse to participate), are you saying galleries are not going to consider an artist’s piece if it has any basis in scripture? That in itself is a prejudice.

    1. Not necessarily Wendy. While it’s a good idea to try to avoid conversations in the areas I mentioned, this doesn’t mean you have to hide your opinion or beliefs in your artwork. There are many examples of artists who are creating political and religious artwork (and, of course, sports related work too!) The artwork can then speak for itself.

  10. Excellent points. One question, what about letters to the editor? I do have opinions and we have an active local newspaper. While I am able to express myself carefully, I don’t feel anyone should have to censor themselves constantly. Any thoughts about this?

  11. Great timing. My friends and I have our own opinions and very much enjoy being presented with the perspectives provided by artist statements.
    This week, my friends and I went to a gallery full of interesting art from two artists who show together. One of the pieces (priced at $70k) was accompanied by an artist statement. In talking about alienation, the artist was quite successful in alienating me and a couple of the people I was with. It is one thing to inject opinion or make a statement. It is quite another to preach at the audience as though if they disagree they deserve shame. It is particularly insulting when the statement is supposed to be philosophical but is intellectually lacking. It is a lesson to me to not insult the intelligence of my audience.
    Be careful out there.

  12. Art selling has shown me the value of tact! I might ask questions but they must always pertain to the work of art itself not my personal stance. If I can educate a person about art styles or art mouvements I will (as a former educator) if I can help a sale or interest but I don’t talk about anything inflammatory.

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