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 the Art Business Academy. 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.


  1. Have some of your artists been successful with selling in their local areas paintings of their hometown scenery, historic homes, familiar landscapes, etc.?

    1. That depends a great deal on what your “local area” is. There’s two factors in play: how desirable/unusual the local scenery is, and the financial mentality of the people who would care to have images of the locality. In my case, it’s a generic land that could just as easily be in West Virginia or Nebraska as Wisconsin, and is inhabited primarily by a bunch of lower-middle and working class families that are just as happy with a Walmart poster as an original painting. They want cheap pictures of birds and cats. The only people buying my “local scenery” paintings are emmigrants who want a little memento of their old hometown. Given the size of my community, that’s a pretty small customer base. Can’t even cover my cost of materials and gallery space. If you’re talking about an upper-middle class area or someplace with notable features (or even better, near a tourist trap), you might sell a few.

    1. I take it you don’t submit anything to competitions. My county fair requires “sign and date,” and most judges won’t bother to look for a signature on the back–just DQ it if they can’t find a signature easily on the front. I’ve looked into a few state fairs, and a lot of them require full names on the front–no initials or Whistler butterflies. Some even specify where the signature has to be.

    2. Disagree. Most everything in competition requires a visible signature. I make mine as unobtrusive as possible to not disrupt the flow of the painting. I also use a 5 letter nickname

  2. I paint abstract which can be hung anyway a person chooses. How do I sign it? Most people use the signature to know how the artist meant it to be hung, I understand. Plus, how do I wire the back?

    1. Invent a circular signature.

      I’ve never actually tried it, but just giving it a thought right now:
      Take a length of wire long enough to lay a diamond on the back, plus a few inches. String four eye screws on the wire and twist the wire into a loop. Screw eyes at the centers of all four sides so that there’s a few inches of twist on each one. That should give you a diamond on the back that can hang from any of its points.

  3. As a gallery owner and art buyer I think that it is important for the artist, the gallery and the purchaser for the artist to sign their name and the name of the artwork, on the back of the painting.

    It is also good practise for the artist to sign the front of the work with a distinctive and consistent signature, as the buyers look out for this. It can be very discreet, or bold – just in sympathy with the artwork.

    We find that clients are disappointed if the artist has not signed the front of their works, and it is an impediment to sales 💟

  4. I have seen beautiful artworks completely ruined by a too prominent, or over-large, or too contrasting signature. That is a common mistake many artists make. Personally, I have given up on buying artwork where the signature was too eye-catching.
    For myself, I sign my sculptures as unobtrusively as possible, you actually have to look for the signature to find it.

  5. When we had our frame shop, customers would bring in pieces that they painted without a signature. I always encouraged them to sign and be proud that they did this the same way I do to all my paintings. But don’t date them (which I do on the back) because once at an art show, a customer remarked to their companion that after seeing how old the painting was that it must not be very good because it had not sold yet. I know – it takes all kind.

  6. As an experienced artist told me when I first started painting – “you created it – so own it”! Meaning sign the painting. You cheapen/lessen the value of the piece in the eyes of the buyer. I always sign it in the lower right corner (with a few exceptions depending on the composition of the piece) with a small simple signature. I also sign the back along with the name of the piece.

  7. I’ve had galleries in both East and Western United States for over 40 years and have consulted with both artists and galleries for that length of time. After people buy art, they often spend more time discussing the experience they had purchasing the art than they ever do the art. They care about the artist, they care about their experience of the art purchase, and they CARE DEEPLY about seeing that signature on the front of their painting. Whether it’s a small insignia you develop like Albrecht Durer did, or something large (but in a color that interferes as little as possible – it does not have to be black) or something in between, sign on the front somewhere. Put your title and copyright notice on the back. But do not leave the signature off. Your putting your needs over those of your client when you do that, and if you wish to sell your art, that’s not a good choice. MG

  8. I am a fine art drawing media artist. Signing on the back of a piece, or notes about the work, would only be for posterity. I frame up all my for sale works and the back of the paper is unavailable unless removed from the frame. Signatures are like a water-mark. But I don’t want the signature to interfere with a collector’s enjoyment of the subject matter that I present. And, contrary to Mr. Jorejs suggestions, I place the year the piece is completed under my signature. I don’t think someone who finds my art to their liking cares when a work was created. That date is part of my chronological journey through life, and a benchmark as to my development as an artist. Someday it might matter; “It ain’t valuable until the artist dies,” and “It ain’t art until it sells.”

  9. I think it is very necessary to sign my art. I want people to know about me. I like my stylized signature and think that your work should always be signed, not dated. On the back, I sign it and code it with a code which is an art or part number, and it corresponds with my catalog of works. That way I know all about it and keep records about each one, including the date each one was done, whether it is the original or part of an edition, size, everything. I also place a Certificate of Authenticity with each on the back, which also includes copyright info and a nice story.

  10. Hey Jason – have you given any thought to making text versions of these available? I don’t often have the time for a podcast but you always have such interesting topics. Cheers – Casey

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