Results from Xanadu Gallery’s 2015 State of the Art Survey

The results of Xanadu Gallery’s 2015 State of the Art Survey are now in. We would like to thank the 1018 artists who completed the survey, contributing to a better understanding of the current art market for artists. This is our fourth annual survey.

As always, it bears mention that our surveys are intended to be an informal check of the pulse of the art market for artists. The survey is not scientific – the survey group is voluntary, not randomized, and we’re not statisticians – but we feel the data obtained gives a good general sense of the art market.

If you would like to look at the raw responses, you can see the public version of the survey  results here: https://survey.zohopublic.com/zs/report/weCNwg

Our analysis looks at the broader picture of what all participants reported, but also compares those responses to artists who reported generating over $25,000 in annual sales. This comparison can help give some insight into the habits and outlooks of artists generating significant levels of sales.

Also, please not that you can click on any of the graphs to display them full-size.

Participation

First, as mentioned above, we had just over 1000 artists participate in the survey. This included artists from around the globe.

Residence

 

Survey participants are working in a wide range of media, with expected concentrations of artists working in oil, acrylic and watercolor.

 

Medium

 

37% of responding artists report that art is their full-time professional undertaking and their primary source of income.

Professionally Engaged

 

Sales and Perception of the Health of the Art Market

Participants report that 2014 was a good year for sales. 54% reported an increase in sales, while only 23% reported a decrease in sales year over year. When asked about the overall health of the art market, 40% of respondents feel that the market continues to improve, while 42% feel the market is holding steady and 18% feel that the market is declining. Every year I’m interested to see that while a majority of artists feel that the market is either steady or declining (42%+18%=60% this year) when asked about their personal outlook for sales in 2015, a full 80% or respondents feel that they will sell more in 2015 than they did in 2104.

14v13

 

HealthofMarket

 

Outlook2015

 

Artists reporting more than $25,000 worth of sales in 2014 are slightly more optimistic about the health of the market, but less optimistic about their own prospects for increasing sales in 2015.

25+HealthofMarket
For artists reporting $25,000+ in art sales

 

 

25+Outlook
For artists reporting $25,000+ in art sales

 

Production

51% of respondents report that they produced more work in 2014 than 2013. For $25K+ artists productivity increases weren’t as strong as they were for the broader audience. This may be because these artists are already producing at a higher level. Artists reporting $25K+ in sales, nearly 65%, report production of over 30 pieces per year.

14v13

 

For artists reporting $25,000+ in art sales
For artists reporting $25,000+ in art sales

Number of Works Created

 

25+ Number of Works Created
For artists reporting $25,000+ in art sales

Gallery Representation

Direct sales to collectors continues to be an important part of the overall revenue generation for artists. Higher selling artists are showing in more galleries, but even those artists report that a significant amount of their revenue is coming from direct sales.

 

SalesThroughGalleriesvsDirect

For artists reporting $25,000+ in art sales
For artists reporting $25,000+ in art sales

SalesChanels

Advertising

With direct to client sales playing a more important role in artists’ income, respondents are reporting increasing advertising expenditures. As would be expected, artists generating sales of $25K+ reported spending even more on advertising.

InvestmentAdvertising

25+InvestmentAdvertising
For artists reporting $25,000+ in art sales

Artist report planning to invest in a variety of marketing efforts.

15MarketingPlans

Time Management

58% of respondents report spending 1/4 or less of the rime on marketing and business management. For $25K+ artists those numbers shift significantly with 49% reporting spending between 50% and 75% of their time in the business and marketing end of their practice.

StudioTimeVsAdvertising

 

25+StudioTimeVsAdvertising

 

What do You Think of the Survey Results?

Do the results of this year’s survey match your experience? 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.

50 Comments

  1. Thank you for continuing to lead a fairly large crowd of eager artists ! All of the responses are food for thought and I will use them as I move forward pursuing my own art path . I have promised myself to be more active and aggressive this year and Jason , you are the ” sentinal ” !

    Jeff Lange

  2. Jason,
    Excellent job. I have been trying to produce two good paintings a week for years and have fallen short because I refine and nitpick the work to much. In the last two weeks
    I have produced seven terrific paintings. It is all about FOCUS the in the zone mententality. Thinking back to my past life in brand identity design you set the bar
    high and meet the deadline. No excuses, no second guessing, make it excellent or you’re
    toast. do or do not there is no try. Self imposed deadlines and limitations do work.

  3. Very revealing but not a surprise.
    We figure to do better this year, I read the chapter on what to do at a show just after getting back from one. Everything you described as the wrong thing to do described me. Fortunately my wife was better than I, but I have changed my actions at shows now.

  4. This was great information. It confirmed all my suspicions, and confirmed I’m on the right track. Thank you for such a comprehensive report, Jason!

  5. Thanks for releasing this most facinating survey. I beleive as artists we will make owr own conclusions based on our own perception of our particular art practice. Thanks again and keep up your good work.

  6. Thank you for the survey. Very informative. I am a widow and have a physically demanding job so I feel pretty good about producing one work a week and they are usually large. I spend most of my breaks and lunches working on ideas so I feel pretty good about my efforts in creating art. A very good survey.

  7. Thank you for your efforts. It’s always interesting to see how my experiences in the art market compare to those of people in other locations and situations. I would have liked to see the marketing plans of the $25K and up crowd broken out. Other than that one minor complaint, I found the survey quite revealing.

  8. I find lists of numbers difficult to wrap my head around, hard to hold onto as I move to the next ‘set.’ I prefer a verbal ‘interpretation’ of the stats (which I think you’ve done before). I have a great interest – as a person who works at my art with discipline – in discovering what, if anything, the bigger money earners are doing that I’m not…or that I am!

    Your efforts are much appreciated.

  9. Seems I’m running with the pack with slight variations here and there. Very valuable to see these results and ponder over where the most potential for my own improvement might be and then focus on those areas.
    Thank you, Jason

  10. Great survey, Jason, thank you. It confirms, what I already know, my lack of business skills, or better said, lack of dedication to to business side is my downfall when it comes to sales. I do best selling to people who know my work already.
    Thanks for sharing the results.

  11. It appears that I am somewhere in the middle of the pack. I do look forward to a better year and know that hard work and determination is what will help me accomplish the goals I have in mind. Thank you for the survey and all of the other information that you share.

  12. Thanks for the pie and bar graphs. The color distinctions are a bit hard to identify in small ares, but the overall explanations correspond to the numbers. I do hope that the future of art sales will improve. Were you surprised by any of the results?

  13. I recently purchased your book although I’ve been following your videos etc for awhile. Marketing in the most overwhelming part of being an artist. I realize that isn’t news to you but it is a major stressor in my life. Marketing doesn’t come natural at all. It’s partially the way I was raised and then a lack of knowledge about the best way to go about it. I’m in the middle of the pack but I feel more like I’m in the middle of a deep lake. Ya I know that sounds rather dramatic. Sorry. Thanks for helping though. I guess everyone has to work their way through all this.

  14. Thanks Jason. I found the numbers about costs on marketing and percentage of time on making vs marketing most interesting. I fell in the big percentages for most of the answers. Hoping to make fewer pieces and market them effectively this year.

  15. Art, Art, Art, I think it, eat it, sleep it every day. So many ideas are lost on a daily basis doing the other job. My goals are to shake that in 2015. The survey encourages me to follow my path. 2014 was good for me in solo shows, awards, and over-all sales. Fine tune the marketing, gallery representation and most important my art. Make good quality art and plenty of it…Thanks Jason for posting the results of the survey. Helpful and inspiring. Following all of your efforts to help improve us.. I think it’s working..

  16. The very last graph is the most important: artists who consistently sell and are able to make a living from art are spending at least as much time marketing as creating.

  17. What stands out to me is that this group reported more income from direct sales than any other, including galleries. I recall it was the same last year. However puzzling is that a high percentage reported that they plan to spend more of their time next year approaching galleries. Also connected with this is that those making more income are spending 50-75% of their time on marketing, hence their higher rate of sales success. Seems like what is being suggested here is that artists who wish more income from sales of their art should spend 50-75% of their time on marketing and direct sales.

    1. This is precisely what I am taking away from this survey! I very much agree that it seems obvious where I need to spend my time as I move forward in the Business side of my career! I am hugely grateful for this survey at this time. I am just beginning to get out & sell at Art Fairs , etc. this year. I’ve been a Professional MINDED Wildlife Artist most of my 58yrs of life. However, I am just now gaining the assistance I’ve always needed- thanks to Wisconsin’s Dept. of Vocational Rehab. – to gain my own independence & be the PRO I have always dreamt of being! My goal for 2015 is to at least match my SSDI income & subsequently replace it in 2016! I’m a very hard worker & I look forward to being self supporting through my Art! I’m moving in June & buying a house, so this year is very exciting for me! This survey gives me a lot of hope & I’m going to share it with my DVR Team & Mentors! Thanks TONS , Jason! I so look up to both you & Barney Davey! I intend to gain YOUR representation before long! LOL! I recently bought Barney’s Guerrilla Marketing book & I’m learning to identify my goals & set out the steps to get there! I have more support now than I’ve ever had , but knew I needed! It’s making an enormous difference! I want to share with others, that if there’s a young Artist in your family, or you know of one – please give them all the support & guidance possible! My family never knew how to help me & so I’ve had to figure it out for myself up until now. 58 yrs is a long time to wait before beginning to bloom! Life is GREAT! There’s “WIND BENEATH MY WINGS” which is why I’ve named my Business – Wind Beneath My Wings Studio & Workshops ! Life is KEEN in 2015! LOL!

  18. The art market is indeed changing as seen by the high numbers in direct sales and artists spending more time on their own marketing efforts. I am curious to see what the stats will be in the next 5 years once we are through this significant transition in the art world. It appears we are all trying to figure it out day-by-day. Thank you, Jason, for tracking the evolution of this shift. It will be important data as history unfolds.

  19. Overall, interesting though some of the graphs are a bit hard to decipher. (such as where do your sales come from).
    I would really like to see the separation at the $50,000+ income level. (instead of $25,000) This would show the different habits of full time pros vs. part timers. I think that would be valuable info for everyone. (advertising, time management, production levels, etc). Also a few more choices in categories i.e. How much time creating vs. marketing/buis. I think for most full timers it’s 70/30 or 60/40, but not quite 50/50. Lastly, I find it interesting that optimism for personal sales outstrip optimism for the market in general. I wonder if this indicates a bit of delusionary fancy about our own abilities. Just sayin, if you think the market is only improving at x amount, what makes you think You’re going to do better than that. This could be a whole new discussion about new approaches to marketing, but I digress.

  20. The survey helped me to see that the results I expected – are in fact, happening. Good news for me! It also confirmed that I am not alone in my efforts to stay afloat. I feel like I am part of a greater whole. When I am in my studio by myself, I have no way of knowing what the rest of the world of artists is doing. Thanks for taking the time to survey us, Jason. You rock!

  21. Hi Jason and fellow artists
    First of all I want to thank you Jason for these opportunities to learn. I found it interesting that when it came to expenditures marketing directly, the mass of artists and the $25,000 plus groups were more even than I would have thought. I would also include that for many that are in galleries that there are already marketing efforts in varied manners of course that are part of those commissions paid if and when sales are made. There is obviously a value that needs to be placed by artists on being in galleries that transcends paid out commissions because of your enhanced ability to direct market is based on the perception of value that is created by being represented in “good” galleries. I personally was surprised by the low marketing dollars invested over the year. 0-500.00 or even $500.00-$1000.00 is not going to give you much exposure through direct mail, brochures, business cards, ads in magazines, studio openings or tours etc. I am not the artist btw, I am the husband and strongest supporter of my wife Linda Calvert Jacobson and we both believe that marketing has to be a huge priority ever year and throughout the year. I will also add that for all the artists that read this, you can only make a sale if someone sees your artwork by whatever means that you take to do this. I hope this offers at least some food for thought to all of you fellow artists to find ways that your art can be seen. You can’t change even a small part of your world if no one sees your creative endeavors. Keep the faith and keep striving to be the best you can be. BTW 2014 was our first year to break into the $25,000.00 bracket…next goal is to break past $50,000.00 of course 🙂

  22. Love seeing the info. Do you have any analysis of how this compares over time to data from previous surveys? As a former Marketing Analyst, love to see what trends exist, and what might be driving them. Love that you pull out the data for those who are selling more than $25K as a metric for distinction between those who have something working and those who might still be trying to figure things out. Has the size of this pool changed over time as a percentage of the respondents?
    Thanks for doing this!

  23. Very good info, Thank you. What I got from this was that I need to produce more art. I just don’t see how it is possible for anyone to create 2000+ pieces of original art in one year WOW! Well I fully intend to do more than last year I am inspired.

  24. Thank you for the information Jason. Nice to compare your efforts with fellow artists. Looks like I’m where I should be at this point. Sales were good last year and already off to a good start this year so I’m keeping my fingers crossed for a terrific 2015.

  25. Thanks for some very interesting information. The one that stood out to me was that for those reporting making over $25K in sales, 49% say they spend 50-75% of their time on the business and marketing of their practice. I know artists who don’t spend 10% of their time on those things and are constantly asking why their art isn’t selling. While I’d much rather be painting than doing the business end, cash flow is important to most of us. Very few people will come knocking at my door with cash in their hand begging me to sell them something if they don’t know about my art.
    Thanks for all you do for all of us.

  26. As always quite helpful. I appreciate you sharing the statistics you found. I was glad to see my production was higher than most and more like the >25,000 group. I believe my quality is very good now I just need to make that turn into more sales.

  27. Thanks, Jason, for conducting the survey and sharing the results. The survey fosters a sense of “community” among Artists who are associated with Xanadu Gallery.

  28. Thanks for this information Jason. I have spent the last 6 weeks working on the business side of art, and have plans for the next six weeks as well. I have a lot of catching up to do to be ready to begin making a decent income from my work. I thought it was interesting that 60% of artist said they sold at “Art Walks” but otherwise not much conversation about it!!!! Everything I read supports your advice to work on the art, produce and market-when the marketing part becomes more of a habit and less of a challenge I believe things will flow better for me.

  29. Jason,
    Thank you for publishing these results. They are very enlightening. I am not an artist but my step-son is a metal sculptor, and I help him with marketing. I also co-founded an unofficial non-profit artists and gallery advocacy group here in Chattanooga, TN. FLAG -Friends of Local Artist and Galleries. Keep up the great work!
    http://www.FlagCommunity.org

  30. The last 2 questions appeared to be the same question yet with different statistics. What’s up with that or is something wrong with my reading ability?

    1. Different level of sales from the respondents. The first group is all artists, the second is those artists who are selling more than $25,000 per year. I should have noted this on the graphic.

  31. I noticed that the ratios for the salary of the artists and the amount that was spent on marketing venues are closely related. The money-made raises accordingly to the amount spent. It seems the reason for more success may have been more advertising and marketing. That makes a good deal of sense, and I have always said that the artist must know to promote their activities and art to find income. Galleries earn their salary by marketing their gallery and the artists they employ. Although, I do not need to tell Mr. Horejs of this remarkable fact.

  32. Thanks for the great survey, Jason. I did a summary of my art business sales, income areas, costs and mailing list increases for 2014 before I participated in the survey. Thanks for having the survey, it made me actually look at the numbers instead of guessing, and I was surprised by some of my findings. Thanks again for sharing the results and all of your knowledge you share on this blog.

  33. Your results were really interesting and surprising to see. From all accounts, in spite of my own sales, I had heard the market was not doing well. Rather, it looks more promising than I expected, so that is great news. And for those who questioned why would an artist seek gallery representation if they are self-selling successfully, my quick response would be so they could spend less time on marketing and have more painting time. I for one, though a newbie, have decided it would be well worth to give the gallery their fair share, rather than spend so much time on the business end. Thank you so much for this fascinating survey.

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