Nevue Fine Art and Marketing

Art That Sells – What Artists Need to Know

Are you trying to sell more art? Is your studio becoming a storage area for unsold art? Are you struggling to find the most popular art that sells? In this article, discover the best art that sells online.

Art That Sells – What Artists Need to Know

Art is a form of communication. Before humans began to document events with text, they would record historical events with images. That was the way people communicated or documented events.

Today we call that form of communication visual art, and it can be found hanging on walls in homes and businesses all around the world.

People purchase art for different reasons. Some people are collectors of a particular artist or style while others buy art to accent walls in their homes. Businesses have art hanging on the walls to create a more “welcoming” feeling or to “distract time” in the waiting rooms.

Just like any trade or specialty, artists have learned throughout the years, that there is money to be made from their skills. There are more artists today generating an income from their art than ever before, thanks to the internet.

Are you interested in selling your artwork?

Art That Sells Best

Many artists who are just starting out become frustrated and impatient when their art is not selling. They start to believe their art is not good enough or they are not creating the style of art people are interested in purchasing. They begin to search for the best theme or subject of art that sells most.

Have you ever felt this way?

Here is a study I came across that I wanted to share with you. Even though this study was taken in 2003, it still holds value for artists today.

Art Business Today took a survey in 2003 to find out what the top 10 best-selling subjects for Paintings in the UK were.

These were the results:

  1. Traditional Landscapes
  2. Local Views
  3. Modern Landscapes
  4. Abstracts
  5. Dogs
  6. Figure
  7. Seascapes
  8. Wildlife
  9. Impressionistic Landscapes
  10. Nudes


As you look at this list, I am sure most of you can say that you create art that fits into one of these categories.

The question that needs to be answered now is, “Why does some art sell more, while other art collects dust?

These are just a few variables that will determine if a piece of artwork sells or not.

One of the main reasons a piece of art does not sell is because the right person has not seen it yet. There is a target audience for every style of art. As a selling artist, you have to find where your target audience is.

Instead of focusing on if your art is good enough, focus on finding where your audience lives. Once you have found them, start promoting your art to them. Make them aware of your artwork and provide them a way to make a purchase.

Art That Sells – Everyone is Unique

Everyone has different tastes and is attracted to different things. It would be a boring world if everyone ate vanilla ice cream, dressed the same, drove the same vehicle, listened to the same music, watched the same television show and had the same art on their walls.

Everything about you is what makes you unique and different. Your thoughts, emotions and what you are attracted to define you as a person.

No one in the world will have the same tastes you do.

No one in the world will create art exactly like yours. Yes, there are going to be artists that will draw or paint the same subjects you do, but no one will be able to replicate your style.

So the question that needs to be answered is, “Does knowing what art sells best actually hold any value to artists?

I don’t believe it does.

Understanding who your target audience and knowing where to find them is what will help you to sell more art.


Selling Art

Selling art is not easy, and success does not happen overnight. There is a lot of work involved in selling art or anything for that matter.

In order for you to sell art, you will need to devote time during the week to learn the ins and outs of operating a business. (Yes, selling art is a business.)

Start with learning the basics:

The list above might look overwhelming but if you focus on one area at a time you will be able to develop a solid foundation for your art business.

Schedule an hour or two every week to learn about operating a business and how to market your artwork.

Art that sells is art that is marketed.

There is a Market

You are lucky to be an artist in today’s day and age. Before the internet, artists would have to create art based on their location if they were interested in selling their crafts.

I am sure it would have been difficult for an artist living in Florida to sell a painting of a polar before the internet came along. The artist might have gotten lucky to have a polar bear collector stumble across their painting, but I would have to believe the odds of that happening was slim.

Artists can now specialize in any subject and become very successful no matter where they reside.

The list of “the best art that sells” does not hold much value today, thanks to the web.

I am not saying that every subject will be easy to sell, but what I am saying is it is now possible for you to sell whatever subject you have a passion for. The internet has made it possible for artists to express themselves through their craft without any limitations.

With every positive, there is a negative. Yes, it is possible for an artist to sell any subject without being limited to their location. The negative is there is much more competition due to the internet.

Artists who sell the most art are the ones who spent the time learning how to become marketing experts.

Not only will you want to enhance your artistic skills throughout your career, but you will also want to continue to learn about marketing your crafts.


Express Yourself

Art is a form of communication that creates an emotion. Just like when you listen to one of your favorite songs. No matter where you are or what you are doing, your favorite song will bring you to a different place.

Musicians can create that special emotion with instruments and harmony. You as an artist can create that same feeling with a medium on a surface. Instead of wasting time trying to find a diamond in the rough, spend the time polishing your artistic skills.

Stay true to who you are and learn how to communicate your feelings through your art. It doesn’t matter what medium or colors you use. Your art will be a unique fingerprint of your inner voice. Don’t forget to brand your art with your signature. You want everyone to know you are the artist who created the piece they are enjoying.


Throw Away the List

Now that you know about “the best art that sells” list courtesy of Art Business Today. It is time to take the list and throw it away.

  1. Traditional Landscapes
  2. Local Views
  3. Modern Landscapes
  4. Abstracts
  5. Dogs
  6. Figure
  7. Seascapes
  8. Wildlife
  9. Impressionistic Landscapes
  10. Nudes

More than likely you fall into one of the categories listed above. Now is the time to stop worrying about what subject sells better than another. Spend your time finding out where your target audience is. Learn how to promote and market your art and keep creating beautiful art.

Learn How to Market Your Art

It is more important for you to spend time learning how to market your art rather than trying to find out what art sells most.

Instead of searching for what the best-selling art is in 2016, search for best ways to market art online.

Rather than researching what the best-selling art on Etsy is, research how to drive traffic to your Etsy Shop.

Put away some time every week for learning and strive to become an art marketing expert.

People need to be knowledgeable about your art if you are hoping to sell it.

Here are some articles to help you get started on your marketing journey.

  1. Digital Content Marketing – What Artists Need to Know
  2. How to Sell on Pinterest Tips for Artists
  3. Online Art Marketing Basics Know Your Audience
  4. How to Be More Productive Marketing Art Online
  5. How to Sell Your Art Online Tips
  6. How to Write an Artist Business Plan That Works
  7. Selling Art Like a Pro Best Strategies
  8. Art Marketing Plan – How to Make a Presence Online


Make a presence online and help your target audience find you. The best art that sells is yours.Click To Tweet

Online Gallery

If you are going to sell art online you will need a place where people can view and purchase your work.

You can build or have someone build a website that will showcase your art.

Selling art on Etsy is an easy way for artists to get started.

There are also Third-Party websites that help make selling art easy for artists.

In my opinion, owning a WordPress site is the best way to go.

Take some time to research what the best solution is for you.

Here are a couple of articles to help get you started.


You might have heard the term, “content marketing.”

Content marketing is just a fancy phrase that means sharing your story. There are several different mediums you can use to share your story online. The most common mediums businesses use are blogging, video and audio.

Providing a valuable content and an easy way for people to share your posts will greatly help you to build an online presence. I use Social Warfare to help me with my social share strategy.

To be noticed on the overcrowded web you will need to create a content marketing strategy.

Are you ready to start building brand awareness and increase organic traffic to your art gallery?

Join all of the other artists who are building their business by blogging.

28 Day Blogging Challenge for Visual Artists

Download your copy today


Content marketing is just a fancy phrase that means sharing your story.Click To Tweet

Here are a few articles to help get you started on developing a content marketing strategy.

  1. 10 Reasons Artists Should Start Blogging
  2. Sell Art by Blogging
  3. Plan Before Your First Blog Post: For Artists
  4. Starting an Art Blog Part 1 Hosting
  5. Starting an Art Blog Part 2 Content Writing
  6. Starting an Art Blog Part 3 Building an Audience 
  7. Artist Blog Startup: Step By Step
  8. WordPress SEO: Optimize Your Artist Website for Search Engines
  9. How Artist Blogs Build Loyal Customers and Generate Sales



Social Media

Creating a strategic social media strategy will help you to be noticed and build brand awareness.

Combining both blogging and social media strategies into your art marketing plan will help to separate you from your competition.

Here are a few articles to help get you started on a social media plan that will work for you.



The art that sells the best is your art.

There are people who are interested in what you are creating.

Find your niche and start marketing to your target audience.


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More resources to help build your online art business. 

Art Business eBooks

Art Marketing Video Courses

Art Business Planners

Art Business Workbooks

Art Marketing Resource


28 Day Blogging Challenge for Visual Artists

Are you ready to start building an online presence?

Take the challenge and join all of the other artists selling their art online.

By Dave Nevue




The Productive Artist How to Live Your Dreams 

The right mindset and time management skills are essential for any business. These topics are often not talked about but are key elements for your success. You will learn how to have a winning mindset and time management skills necessary for operating a successful art business.


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Disclaimer: Please note that some of the links on this post are affiliate links and will be clearly marked as so. I will earn a commission at no extra cost to you if you choose to purchase through those links. I will only recommend products I have used, found helpful to my business and are companies I trust.

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