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Sell Your Art without Selling Out

Sell Your ArtIt was Vincent Van Gogh who said, “The only time I feel alive is when I paint.” The tortured but brilliant artist died penniless, but his artwork now ranges in the million-dollar category simply because it is brilliant. The same may apply to modern-day artists. You are talented and you are productive. In fact, you easily create more than ten different artwork pieces every month. The inspiration to paint will make you create beautiful one-of-a-kind designs that are beautiful to you and which look lovely, but they don’t sell. This may be due to price, design, artistic sensibilities, or just that you are far ahead of your time like Van Gogh. However, no one wants to be like Van Gogh during his lifetime, as starving and struggling to make a living is just not fun. Does that mean that you have to compromise on your artistic sensibilities and create artwork that appeals to the masses? No, but the website Copy Blogger states that you have to start learning about art merchandising and art licensing as it will help you make a living. Will that teach you how to make money with art? Yes, and it will teach you how to create artwork within your creative sensibilities for a paying market and eventually have a successful career.

What Is Art Merchandising and How Does It Work?

The simplest way to explain art merchandising, is by you taking a walk through the nearest supermarket or local store. Do you see those beautiful products covered with wonderful abstract or funny designs? Most manufacturers buy or license these designs from independent artists for a limited period of time to decorate their products and make them appealing to buyers. The website Almost every household and commercial product is usually covered with designs. As a result, it stands to reason that you can easily cash in on this market by creating artwork to suit a product.

How Do You Start?

The process may seem simple but it is a little difficult for traditional artists to adapt to a paying market. However, take a look at our top tips on how to create and promote your artwork for art merchandising.

Evaluate your Art

Artist Maria Brophy advises you to take a long hard look at your artwork. Can it be adapted to a selling market? For example, a landscape artist can create wonderful designs that can be adapted on to mouse pads, T-shirts, mugs, wallpaper, etc. However, terracotta sculptors have a smaller market that may be very limited in use. As a result, the possibilities for merchandising will depend on your artwork and just how it can be adapted on to products.


Artists usually specialize in one field. However, they do like to dabble just to keep their hand in. Do you usually get inspired to create wearable or useable art? The website Artsy Shark states that it’s not unusual for artists to try other media just to widen their inspiration base. For example, you might be a landscape artist but if also specialize in horticulture, you may be approached to create images of flowers, plants, etc. as these are very popular designs on products. If you like to create small funny landscape images, you may be approached to create artwork for mugs, plates, etc. The possibilities are endless.

Market Trends and Audience

Having your finger on the audience and following market trends is not something that most artists do but you may be inspired by recent events to create unique artwork. All art is marketable but manufacturers may prefer trendy and appealing designs that can be placed on products and that appeal to current audience sensibilities. The best way to do this is by finding the biggest art merchandiser websites online and taking a careful look at the top selling designs. It also helps to follow graphic design websites and just generally surf Google to find what is trending in interior design, product design and color sensibilities.

Plan Your Display Website or Online Store Strategically

You want manufacturers to approach you for merchandising or you may want to approach manufacturers yourself. This is only possible if you can show them how your artwork will make their products appealing. Make sure your website has digitally clear but high resolution images, visible contact information like telephone numbers and email addresses and a complete downloadable catalog ready for manufacturers. Prepare for customers by having specific artwork already on display. For example, if your niche is textile design or surface design, you can easily create artwork and then display it on your website and then promote it through merchandising websites like

Make sure you have several different designs, ideas, styles and themes on your website to attract a large market. It also helps if you promote your artwork through social media or list it on websites like Artrepublic, CafePress and IcanvasArt. These websites provide direct links to manufacturers and you may get your first break from them. The world is your oyster if you can make it into art merchandising.