Understand the “Why” of Owning Your Art

Some artists find it hard to describe why people should love what they make. You may need to dig a little deeper to find out.


Art Festival attracts customers who connect with an artist's work. Read about connecting with your own customers at www.ArtsBusinessInstitute.org


Business leader, author and speaker Simon Sinek has a popular YouTube video explaining the importance of knowing the “why” behind what you want to sell, and how this ultimately drives consumer behavior. And like those other business people, artists who want to increase sales of their work should also have a clear idea of the “why” that drives fans to become collectors.

Sometimes, in order to find your “why” you must transform that simple question into others that give you clues about your audience, and how you connect with them.

Who did you have in mind when your created your work?

What do people say when they see your portfolio?

How does your art make them feel?

As you answer these, look toward your artist story and inspiration, and how this interfaces with the viewer. When you converse with people who are seeing your art face-to-face, what comments do you hear? What behavior do you observe? That can give you enormous insight into their motivations for making a purchase. They may tell you directly what they love about the piece. Or they may say, “It reminds me of …” or “I just feel good …” or they may show you by their expression when holding your work in their hands.

Emotions are the basis of every sale. That is easy to see when it comes to collecting art, which is rarely a truly functional purchase in the traditional sense. Art enhances an environment. It affects people in the room. It conveys the collector’s taste, and shares their personality with others, through the choice they made by owning your creative work. It may make them feel wonderful about themselves and their lives. Tap into this, and you have identified the core message you should be sharing about why your prospects should become your customers.

A writer who loves collecting art was recently asked how she feels about the original artworks that she owns, and how they make her feel. She immediately began speaking about a particular painting she bought that was created by a disabled artist with a compelling story. She was impressed with his ability to overcome adversity, and what that said about the human spirit. The story made the painting “more than” and it also made the desire to own it irresistible to her. She admitted that whenever she saw the painting in her home, it reminded her of the story. It brought back the feeling she had at the time of purchase.

Successful artists cultivate collectors by appealing directly to their emotions, and this means that to re-create those emotions, you must be digging deep into the “Why” of collecting and the experience of ownership. When you have clarity on your why, make it the touchpoint in your marketing message and your artist story. Then, see the results you achieve through this strategy.



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