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16 Ways to Demonstrate Your Art Has Value


by Alyson Stanfield

Sometimes we get sloppy and forget that everything we do and say around our work affects how others perceive it.

You teach people how to treat you and your art. Make sure you’re sending the right signals.

Here are 16 things to consider.

Making and Preparing Art

  • 1. Use the highest quality materials you can afford. It would be humiliating for your art to start falling apart after it’s purchased.
  • 2. Select frames that complement your work and are well made.
  • 3. See that your mats are cut meticulously. Nothing ruins a good image like a sloppily cut mat.
  • 4. Ensure that all 2-D art rests flat against the wall. It shouldn’t bow, droop, or buckle.
  • 5. Sign your art. It doesn’t matter how you sign it or where, but sign it. Signing art says, “This is complete, and I made it.”

Handling Art

  • 6. Don’t schlep your art around in supermarket bags. Use portfolios and beautiful boxes.
  • 7. Use the right amount of packing material to ensure that the work will arrive safely.
  • 8. Insure your work and studio appropriately. Home insurance rarely covers business mishaps.

Exhibiting Art

  • 9. Let people see the art! Your work should be well lit wherever it is on exhibit. Look out for hot spots, glare, and shadows.
  • 10. Create uniform wall labels that are carefully cut and stay snugly on the wall. Wonky labels that appear to be an afterthought can ruin an otherwise solid installation.
  • 11. Use museum-quality hanging and installation devices.

Documenting Art

  • 12. Document all of your art with high-quality photographs. They should be as good or better than the art because they represent the work and if you do your marketing right, you will sell art from JPEGs.
  • 13. Keep your inventory database up to date, noting details such as size, specific materials, and exhibition record of each piece.
  • 14. Maintain a price list. It’s unprofessional to make up prices on the fly.

Interpreting Art

  • 15. Talk about your work with respect. Develop the language to speak intelligently and confidently about it.
  • 16. Don’t ever apologize for your art or leave anyone to believe that you are less than an artist.

What else would you add to this list?

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