Skip to content

02 People buy art

Wander around any commercial art gallery and you’ll see people looking at pictures. You’ll also notice people avoiding making eye contact with any of the gallery staff for fear they may be invited to discuss a painting which, horror of horrors, could lead to a sale. But surely the primary purpose of a gallery is to make money for fts owners and the artists by selling the pictures and associated paraphernalia.

But artists manage to sell their work in other places and by other routes. Quite often hotels decorate their rooms and corridors with art, often with a price tag attached. It can of course take much longer to sell art this way – the number eyes viewing per week is probably smaller than a gallery would have and the hotel guests are not there to buy pictures. Cafes are perhaps a little faster at shifting artwork. People sit and stare while waiting to be served, or for the coffee to cool so can be more susceptible to the advertising nature of having paintings on the walls.

And it can work the other way too. Galleries install a coffee shop and some of the customers will go on to view the paintings and make a purchase.

Other artists will bypass the gallery and the high commissions they usually charge and set up their own sales website or use one the established shopping methods like eBay or Etsy to keep administrative costs down.

One interesting method I cam across was a charter boat which had walls decorated by artists specific to the route the cruise was taking.

unsplash-logoPatrick Baum

Drive through the centre of Oxford and you’ll see roadside railings covered with paintings – all for sale. I’ve wondered about having a travelling gallery in a lorry but suspect it probably wouldn’t pay for itself.