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In the business world, selling is everything.

I wouldn’t say the same thing about art—most artists enjoy art for art’s sake, and selling it is simply a nice bonus. However, if you’re interested in making a living from selling art, it makes sense to take at least a few pointers from the business world.

So today I want to take a look at the business concept of “fulfilling a need.”

In business, every product fulfills some sort of need. If you’re lucky, people will need (or want) a specific product that only YOU can supply. That type of product sells itself.

Over time, however, more and more competitors will enter the market and the “need” for that product lessens. What happens then? The best version of that product (or best-marketed version of that product) survives while all the rest lose out.

Art is the same way. . . every once in a while a new type of art comes along which becomes extremely popular. At first, one artist reaps the benefit (the original creator) but eventually the competition grows so much that only the best (or best-marketed) artists survive.

One great example of that is daily painting. For a while, Duane Keiser was the only one creating a painting a day. Then more artists followed suit—and now? Well, if you’re one of the most talented daily painters, or if you’ve learned how to market yourself really well online, then sure, you can still find success in that market. For all the other artists that don’t quite make the cut, it’s a bit harder to succeed.

The solution, as anyone in the business world would tell you, is to either find or create a new need to fulfill.

Create a need? Is that possible? Absolutely!

Just look at daily painting—the public’s desire for daily paintings was created by a good marketing system (blogging) and the viral nature of the internet. Of course if you’re not up to creating a new type/style of art, there are always needs out there already which savvy artists can step into.

For instance, last week I wrote about selling art at trade shows and conventions. I explained that if you create art within a certain niche (animals, cars, etc) you can find a related trade show to sell your art.

In the same way, if you’re looking for a new need to fulfill and you’re willing to take on a challenge, you might look through a list of upcoming trade shows in your area and try entering a new niche.

That’s one of the best ways to find and fulfill an artistic need. . . just locate a group of people that no other artist has approached yet and try it out for yourself.

To sum it all up, I think it takes at least one of the following three things to be really successful at selling your art:

1. Be the best. (Or be one of the best.)
Be the best in your niche, in your area, or even at marketing your art. If you’re the most talented artist around, then you’ll always have a better chance at selling art.

2. Find what’s being overlooked and do that.
Whether it’s a subject, style, or medium, if no other artist’s are doing it then you’ve got a good chance to corner the market. Plus, if you really are the only one fulfilling a certain need, then by default you’re also the best.

3. Create the need yourself.
Generate desire for a NEW type of art by coming up with something that’s uniquely yours. When imitators and competitors show up, hang on for dear life and hope that your branding and art marketing efforts will be the strongest in the long run.

Start thinking about this now. Ask yourself: Whose needs or wants are being fulfilled by my art? And are there any other needs I could fulfill as well?

*Note: this post may contain affiliate links*

About a week and a half ago I came across what I think is a very smart art marketing technique used by Chris Bolmeier. Chris is a fellow painter and blogger (she's actually written for EmptyEasel in the past) whose articles are often just as fun to read as they are insightful. Visit her art blog and. . . read more

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