The Creative Cut Off: How To Make Money From Your Art

Image From Pixabay

The business of selling art is a tough one. For the most part, few creatives start their journey with money in mind. But, if you want to make a living doing what you love, money has to come into it somewhere down the line. The problem is, being good with a paintbrush doesn’t make you good at selling art. Equally, there are sure to be many gallery owners who wouldn’t dream of picking up a paintbrush. The two rarely go hand in hand. Which could make things difficult when you’re branching out. You’re an artist, not a business person. Where are you meant to start?

First, you need to get into the business frame of mind. It may help to distinguish days you do business from days you create. While it’s true that you can get creative to grow your business, it’s a different ball game. As such, getting yourself into the painting zone before you enter the arena may not be the best idea. Equally, you won’t be in the mood to paint if you’ve spent the day seeing your art in a clinical, business way. Separate the processes to avoid things getting muddy. Once you’ve worked out a routine, get down to business. Here are some points you’ll need to master to give yourself the best chance.


The moment you make your work available, you give the public access. As such, you need to protect that work. The good news is, you have automatic copyright to anything you paint. The bad news is, people could still try to pass it off as their own. While this won’t make a huge difference to you, many painters hate the thought on principle. If you don’t already, get into the habit of signing your work. This will also make it more appealing to buyers with a particular interest in you.

Up Coming Solo Exhibition By Anthony Van Lam


Exhibition 1-29 August 2017

Official Opening: 5 Saturday August at 2pm

Artist’s Long Lunch 13 August 2017

 “Keeping a watchful eye!” -Water Colour on on Arches paper

It’s also worth considering how you show that art to the public. If you’re opting to show in galleries, there will be clear rules in place about not photographing the work. But, if you’re selling online, which can be more lucrative, things aren’t as clear cut. You’ll need to show examples of each painting, but you don’t want customers making prints instead of buying. So, what can you do? Putting some sort of clear banner across the work may be your best bet.


You’re also going to need to learn to sell yourself. Getting loyal customers is about more than making good art. It’s about being a likeable person. If customers warm to you, they’re more likely to come back for more. In many ways, successful creative pursuits involve selling yourself as much as your work. Building a social media presence is always important. It’s the best way to show people a little bit about you. You’ll also need a website from which you can interact with customers. Turn to a company like Network Dynamics enterprise hosting to ensure your website is the best it can be. As well as selling here, you could provide the addition of a blog. It’s extra work, but it’s a good way to get traffic coming back. And, extra traffic means higher listings. So, it’s good news. Plus, this is an excellent way to let people know what you’re about as an artist. You can share personal feelings about the art world, and why you love to create.

Image from Pixabay


One of the major challenges in any creative pursuit is the need to remove sentimentality. Any artist worth their salt will feel a huge emotional connection to their work when they’re creating. But, remember what we said about the two processes being different beasts? When you’re doing business, you need to remove all sentimentality. Weakness is never a good thing when it comes to selling. Being sentimental about your art is the worst weakness you can have. On the one hand, it could mean you pull out of a sale. If you love your pieces too much, you won’t want to let them go. It’s tough, and no one said it wasn’t. But, it’s also necessary. If it helps, remind yourself that your creation is going to spread happiness to someone else. Which is important, right? But, that’s not the only risk of being sentimental. If you’re dealing with business people, they will spot your weakness and take advantage. They may try to haggle you down and use your love for the piece as bait. Don’t let them!

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To your success,

Vinh Van Lam & Stuart Horrex

Your Coaches CoSydney & ArtSHINE



Vinh Van Lam
the authorVinh Van Lam
Vinh Van Lam, co-founder of ArtSHINE, is a visionary art coach and entrepreneur with a passion for fostering creativity. With a diverse background in art and business, he brings a unique perspective to empower emerging artists, enabling them to thrive in the dynamic art industry through the innovative platform of ArtSHINE.

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