How to Sell Art Directly From Your Studio

By Margaret Modjeski in Art Business Advice > General Art Advice

Like many artists, I have a website, Facebook, and Instagram. But I’ve had the most success selling art directly from my studio (with some help from social media).

Here’s what I’ve learned:

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Your studio space matters

I have a studio that I rent in Dunedin, Florida. The space houses 13 other resident artists too. We have wall space both in our studio and outside, and as a group we put on a new show each month, which I always enter.

Just having a studio that’s visible and easy-to-get-to is a huge help in selling. We have visitors from all over the world, and it is fun to know that some of my paintings are in many states as well as in Canada.

If there’s a studio for rent near you with a gallery or display space attached to it, I’d recommend trying it out.

Framed watercolor painting of an egret head on a bright blue abstract background

“Egret with an Attitude” sold from my studio. I was out that day, and a fellow artist made the sale.

Social media posts lead to foot traffic

People often become aware of us first through postings in social media. By the time they come into our gallery, some of them already have the intention to purchase art. I post quite often on Facebook, usually every time I complete a painting. I just take a photo and add it to my Facebook art page.

People will then message me and ask if my painting is available and the price. (I don’t post prices on Facebook, or use Facebook Marketplace.) If they’re serious about buying, I usually have them come to my studio to pick it up and pay me.

(In fact, I just sold a painting as Christmas gift to someone that way. Her husband had commented on my painting on Facebook after seeing my work at a six-women show the month before.)

I also post shows I am in, awards I have won, as well as pieces I have sold. Many times my buyers pose with the art they have purchased for my page, which helps spread the word too.

I also make sure to post to other art-related Facebook pages with thousands of members. For example, Palm Harbor Happenings has over 20,000 members now. Local businesses are always allowed to post there on Mondays, but because I post art happenings I can post any day of the week.

If you haven’t already, I recommend looking for Facebook groups on food, culture, and art in your city as well, and see what their rules are for posting about your art. You may be able to reach a lot more buyers than you first thought!

Other local venues may work for you as well

Art centers

I sold my first watercolor when I first started painting a few years ago at the student/member/faculty show at the Dunedin Fine Arts Center. I still enter that show every year. Look for a local art center or arts organization near you—it’s a good way to get plugged into the local art community, if nothing else.

Local businesses

I have some of my art in a hair salon in a historic building in Tarpon Springs, Florida. I have known the owner for many years and she lets me put my art in her space free of charge – although I did gift her an original the first year I put my art there as a thank-you.

I have sold a few paintings there. And recently the owner actually bought something I posted on my Facebook page for a friend of hers.

Local juried shows

I always put my art in my art club’s juried shows. It’s worth it just to win awards, even if nothing sells (I hang my awards in the corner of my studio). Visitors to our gallery and studios always seem to be impressed that most of us have won awards.

Framed watercolor painting of a frozen lake in winter

“Tranquility” above sold last November during a show in our gallery.

Local government buildings, libraries, etc

This may or may not work for you. I had my art in the Downtown Clearwater Main library galleries for the last 3 months of 2018. No one in the 3 shows I was in sold anything.

Consignment shops

I placed my art in a local consignment shop for several years. I did keep those prices a bit lower, and I sold everything I had there over a 2 year period. I even rented a wall there for a while, but I’m no longer doing that. Last year was the last year I am going to consign with them, just because I’ve decided that it’s not worth it to give up 50% of the sale.

Pop-up shops

Just downstairs from our gallery on the busiest corner in Downtown Dunedin, a local coffee shop owner opened a “Pop Up Shop” last winter. (She wanted to make use of an expensive retail space that hadn’t been rented.)

She asked the artists from my gallery and studios to each put a piece in the shop. I sold 3 watercolors in the 2 months that it was open, including this coastal dunes painting.

Framed watercolor painting of coastal dunes and ocean water

Keep your eyes open for local co-ops and pop-ups happening in your area. And don’t be afraid to reach out to someone and suggest joint effort. You might be surprised at how excited other businesses will be to partner with you.

Special thanks to Margaret Modjeski for sharing her tips on how to sell art from your studio. To learn more about Margaret or her art, please visit her website.

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