Once I had more than a few paintings accumulated, it felt like a natural step to try and sell them. This was back in October 2020 or so. I was curious to see what would happen if I tried to sell. I felt pulled to try it. I had no idea if I would sell any. I was ok with the possibility of not selling any. If not now then when would I try? I certainly did not want to wait 10 years before I took the next step and that next step felt inevitable. I don't know if that's a good enough reason or what even is a good enough reason. But for me, curiosity was a big factor.
Being that I was making art that regularly, I was needing material for it. I felt if I could sell a few paintings, I could make some of that money back and use it to buy more and better materials.
I already had a day job, and still do. So, trying to sell was not going to hurt me that much financially.
A few thoughts crossed my mind on this topic:
Would there be any interest?
Would people think I'm too full of myself?
Would anyone actually buy them?
What if no one buys them? Would I still make art?
Where should I begin?
Am I a real artist? Who is a real artist? How do you know you are one?
Do I make real art? What is art?
I recognized quickly this was imposter syndrome and and its never easy to face these feelings. Having felt like an imposter at my day job already and pretty much all my life, this feeling was not new to me. I had the tools to fight it. It never really goes away, especially for us creatives. If anything, braving through those feelings and putting yourself out there has given me better chances at coming through on the other side. You just kinda have to learn to work with it by your side.
The people who have purchased my work so far are all who have had some relation or connection with me. Like friends of friends or past colleagues. But, every sale matters. Don't ever feel like sales from people who you know matter any less. This is what I used to think before. It's unhelpful. You exchanged money for something you made and that's a sale and a big deal. Having said that, I do think that to sell your art (and mine too!!!) more regularly, just selling your work to people you know is not going to be helpful. This is something I am still learning to move past. Right now my sales are quite random and unpredictable.
Every sale matters.
I'm still in an early stage. I am proud of how far I have come in 2021 but there's so much more I want to learn about selling, creating a collective body of work, learning to talk about my work, etc. Another thing I have learnt is this: I have seen artists put out series that have a similar idea or subject holding it together. I am not sure if that makes selling their work any easier, but my next step is going to be to work on creating a series, along with all the little stuff I make which is just part of my regular practice. When I started selling none of my paintings were connected to each other in any way, no common theme or idea. But, don't let any of these deficiencies stop you. If you feel you are ready and curious enough to try it, try it!! There is no perfect moment. You just have to start. Also, keep in mind, these words are coming from a person who has a full time job to fall back on. This line of thinking may not apply to your specific situation. So, obviously consider that too.
There are also some finances to consider such as:
An online platform - think of those website hosting costs,
Packaging material costs,
Pricing your work, etc.
Storing your work and studio space
Here are some book recommendations that may be helpful to start with:
The Complete Smartist Guide by Ekaterina Popova and Alicia Puig,
Show Your Art by Gita Joshi.
These books helped me a lot and have ideas to ponder over on showing your work and about selling art in general. There's many more books and I will add to this list as I read them.
Once you are past that point of whether you want to try and sell your work or not, the next steps will follow naturally, like what platform to pick. Whether to have your own website or to use Etsy or just plain PayPal! You'll learn along the way and adjust course. I am a firm believer in learning by doing. It may not be feasible in all situations and aspects of life but in this particular case the benefits were far greater for me. Some other day I will post about what all I have learnt in the past year of "trying".
Let me know below if you have questions about what I have described above and we can talk more about it. I love talking about all this as you can probably tell and I am still learning. There's so much more to this topic. If you have any helpful advice, tell me below.