Avoid Politics, Religion & Sports When Interacting with Potential Buyers | Xanadu Gallery’s Art Marketing Minute

Even though we aren’t currently in an election season (are we ever truly out of the election cycle though?!?) it’s almost impossible to get away from politics. In this Art Marketing Minute, we explore the importance of keeping your focus on your art when you are trying to sell.

Share Your Experience

Have you made the mistake of bringing up politics, religion or sports in your interactions with your clients? What was the result. What have you learned about directing the conversation away from these topics? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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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

11 Comments

  1. I have a pseudonym/Alter-Ego that paints political artwork & I am becoming very well known for it. I make it clear that it is very separate from the rest of my artwork & it does work very well for me! It’s actually what I’m most known for…

    1. Hi Jason
      I really struggle with podcasts so I hope that you are able to continue writing your reports as often as you currently do. I wear hearing aids but I also struggle with your accent – we hard of hearing people have difficulty with unfamiliar words and different accents.
      Thanks
      Lin

  2. I have some political art and some sports art so in can be hard to avoid the topics. Most people comment when they feel the same as me…the people with other feelings or opinions never speak about it but fortunately I have plenty of other art for them to enjoy and buy.

  3. I have had customers and other artists bring those topics up and since I don’t think it’s anyone else’s business what my leanings are I never agree nor disagree with whoever it is that decided it was ok. Unfortunately it bothers me that some folks think my silence means I agree but I just have to suck it up and act neutral. There have been times in the past when I’ve made a joke (not when selling art but in other contexts) that once the person has finished making political comments, I will say “Now it’s time to talk about religion.” This usually makes the point pretty clear that I want nothing to do with either topic. Hadn’t heard sports being a taboo topic because it’s usually a fun thing in my experience but I’ll keep my ears open to fanatics who might not think it’s all fun and “games.”

  4. Intentional art is all about making a statement, political or otherwise. Either it resonates or it infuriates, but its function is to garner a reaction either way. Just what was our old friend Picasso thinking when he turned out Les Demoiselles? Something misogynist perhaps….like so many of his later ugly women? An artist depicts what is in his/her soul, for better or worse. If landscapes in blue are what he/she visualizes….then I envy the vision. If folly and desperation inhabit that sacred space…then we get “The Scream” by Munch. We keep being told to engage our potential clients with our personal stories and creative process to generate interest in ourselves and our art…..so why should we avoid honest discourse if the situation calls for it? I say be true to yourself, and if you lose the sale because of it, at least you’ll have the peace of mind knowing your art isn’t compromised.

  5. Unless the paintings have this kind of content, I’m not sure why they’d even come up talking with art customers. I engage them with conversations about art. If they wander into other territory, I just bring it back to the art (not just my own but whatever else is in the gallery at the time). I’ve never had anyone try to get me into a discussion of politics, religion or sports in the gallery.

  6. I studiously avoid politics even though I have strong political beliefs. I made a decision years ago not potentially alienate 50% of my customers.

    A good friend, who is an amazing artist, posts extremely negative posts on Facebook. There is no doubt that it has a negative impact on their sales.

    If the waitstaff at your favorite restaurant expressed their political views (opposite of yours) would you continue to go there?

  7. I would not like to comment on this topic if you don’t mind. How about a discussion on themes and topics for a good gallery opening? Or combining different kinds of medium–watercolor, oils, acrylic, crafts….what sells the best in areas of the United States? In other countires, what is popular? What about illustrators for children’s books? Is there an exhibit that shows just this topic. Just wanted to get it back to art in general. Cheers!

    1. (Off topic but… There IS a place that exhibits illustrations for children’s books and it’s in Abilene, Texas of all places. It’s called The National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature.)

  8. I am right with you, Jason, on politics and religion as topics to avoid. But I have to question sports. My husband runs his own Business Consulting Firm and is quite successful. His favorite teams are no secret to those he does business with. In fact, it develops into friendly banter. Customers of his who may hold different teams or maybe it’s their alumni teams in high regard will send him shirts from his rival teams, make silly wagers (whose team wins a play-off, the other has to wear the shirt of the winning rival for a day, etc.). A President of a very high end business will regularly send “gifts” from my hubby’s rival teams. It’s a game they play to recognize it is just a game and should be for fun. I don’t think he has ever lost business because of it. I know the point is to focus on art to make a sale. But the collectors also love to know personal bits about the artist, get to know the person behind the brush. Sometimes, sports fans love to engage with someone they can relate to. I happen to like wine tasting and collecting. There are some who don’t agree with alcohol intake but I don’t think the fact that many know one of my passions is visiting wine countries prevents them from purchasing from me. It might be fortunate that I really don’t know much about sports (but I pick my teams for silly reasons…I like the color of their jerseys, a player leads a good life off the field and is a good role model for kids, the college is local, etc.). Many times I have read where people buy the art but they also buy the artist creating it. They like to have a personal connection behind the work. I can’t predict who will win the Super Bowl but I can tell them a beautiful area to visit to collect some great varietals, is it kid or dog friendly, as well as awesome restaurants to go with it. This is just my humble opinion from what I have experienced. Perhaps it is different for others. That’s what makes us interesting.

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