Ask a Gallery Owner | Should Artists Brag About Their Sales?

I received the following question from a reader in Calgary:

I have a burning question for you. I have discussed it with other artist friends, but I would like to hear your opinion on this if you have the time.

Is it prudent for an artist to boast about a sold painting on social media?

It makes me absolutely crazy to see artists post, in upper case, bold letters, flourished with multiple exclamation marks, SOLD!!

…Face Palm! ARGH!

Is this remotely helpful for one’s future sales?
Is this blatant bragging?
Is this amateurish?

I rarely post SOLD on my social media, let alone a tiny mention of the sale.

My thought is, creating and sales are what we are supposed to do, and it screams amateur to me. Am I off base here?

Do realtors ‘brag’ about the last house they sold? Do used car salesmen? How about a plastic surgeon…SOLD!! another pair of triple D’s!!

Michelle

 

My Response:

Hi Michelle – it’s great to hear from you, and I’m glad you reached out with this question. I do understand what you are saying – that it feels braggadocious to share sales online or through social media. I would actually argue that it absolutely is a good idea to post sales in this way. Posting sold work can create buzz around your work with your followers – they will often congratulate you on the sale and feel genuinely excited for you. That’s all good energy and vibes going your direction. More importantly, however, when your past buyers see that others are buying your work, it helps them feel validated in their decision to have purchased your work. For those who haven’t yet bought from you, it helps move them closer to a purchase decision when they see that other discerning buyers are purchasing your work.

I especially love seeing posts where we get to see the artwork in its new home, and perhaps a photo of the artist and buyers.

Sales should be celebrated!

I know it feels like you are tooting your own horn to post sales, but if you don’t toot that horn, no one will!

Obviously you would want to be cautious not to overdo it, or to reveal personal information about the buyers, but as long as you’re careful with that, I would encourage you to go for it! I think you’ll find that your followers will love to see what’s going on with your sales.

P.S. just for fun I’m including a page from a local newspaper with a realtor’s ad where we see an illustration of exactly what you mentioned – the realtors listing 10 recent properties that they’ve sold.

Michelle replied:

Thanks so much for this feedback. You highlight good points. I will try it…it just won’t be double BOLD or UNDERLINE!!! “in your face” kind of post. A matter of fact, not fluffy, not bragging , just informational.

Do You Share Your Sales?

What do you think – is it a good idea for an artist to publicize recently sold artwork? How do you let your followers know about these sales? Have you seen other artists go too far in bragging about their sales? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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.

14 Comments

  1. I think it is fine to post a sale. I
    Always post a sale and my fellow artists and friends are always happy for me as I am happy for them when they post that they have sold. To me it creates a buzz of excitement!

  2. I do post when a painting sells, absolutely. It’s usually in the form of, “pleased to have a new patron”, or “this painting is headed for a new home in the south”. It can be done in a way that doesn’t involve too much cheesiness.

  3. Hi Jason, I am in total agreement with you. if the sale is presented in an elegant way and displays a proper level of credit and thanks to the gallery and patrons, it does encourage potential collectors as to the viability of the artist’s dedication to their career.

    Thank you for your representation, dedication, and hard work!

  4. As an art gallery in New Mexico we always post sales. We love supporting and bragging about our artists AND you are exactly right, Jason, it creates buzz. My business partner and I see posting sales ad another advertising opportunity and a great business practice. People share our posts and are genuinely excited for us and the artist. The buyers happily send photos of the work “in it’s new home” with permission to post on social media.

  5. This article couldn’t have been more perfectly timed Jason! I just sold a piece yesterday and changed my FB and Instagram posts to reflect that. I also am hesitant about “tooting my horn” but I am hoping that it helps to validate my artwork will drive up excitement for other future pieces.

  6. So how often do I post a sale? I sell 200 plus original pieces ranging from 6×6 to 30x 48” each year. I would like to create positive buzz and validate clients previous buys but when is it over kill? When is it too much of a good thing?

    1. That’s awesome Gail! I wouldn’t hesitate to post a sale every other day or so. Remember, your post is going to be one of many in your followers’ social media feeds, but the repetition will keep you on their radar and reinforce the message that they like a popular artist’s work.

  7. I didn’t mention sold art in my IG and FB posts until about a year ago. Many, many fellow artists and people in the art business encouraged me to do that. It felt very uncomfortable and to be honest it still does a bit but the energy and response has been so nice. Also my sales are way up. Coincidence? Not sure. But I am thrilled that more and more of my art has found loving forever homes. Thx Jason and to all who contributed to this conversation. Warmest regards to all.

  8. Jason — not to be contrary, but is there a danger of diluting your cachet/success with too much success? I know this would be good problem for an artist to have, but how much is the “rare catch” aspect of a purchase of interest to buyers?

  9. If you have ‘too much success,” wonderful! Congratulations! Maybe talk about this in more general terms…so people can say “I’m thrilled for you!”
    I do find people genuinely interested in what went out the door. People who love your work are going to be happy knowing they aren’t the only ones and happy for you. It reinforces their beliefs. It’s also part of developing your stature in the art world…of course if you are already a famous name, maybe….um, wait, wouldn’t hurt then either.

  10. Hi. I was born and raised Canadian, but have lived in the US for 30 years. It is very noticeable to me that Canadians frequently have a hard time with this issue. I see my Canadian relatives and friends always concerned that that they will appear ‘too show offy’. I don’t see my American friends with the same concerns. It is a cultural thing, my Canadian friend.
    Canadian culture finds it offensive to show off too much money, too much talent, too much success, too much luck. But this is sales. Success breeds success. My suggestion as someone who straddles this line often…check those sensibilities. Can you shape your message in a way that encourages the sense of success but doesn’t offend your Canadian readers? ie. “I’m so happy that my customer…..

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