Episode 83 – Making It in the Art World by Brainard Carey / Selling Work on the Streets

Selling Work on the Streets

We could begin with artists who sell work on the street. This may not be for you, but consider it for a moment. In New York City and many other cities and towns, artists set up small tables on the street and sell their work. The more savvy artists that have been there for a while are selling matted photographs or prints of some kind in the range of $15 or two for $25.

The artists who are selling on the street are able to get a license to do so fairly easily because they are selling their own art, which is allowed in New York and many other cities. Of course, many artists set up with no license at all.

Nevertheless, this is a valid system of making a real business outside the traditional art market. The artists that are doing very well on the street are selling inexpensive matted prints, but also they are usually hiring others to do it for them, thus increasing how much they earn. It is a fairly simple business plan. If matted prints of your work (which means common color copies or some- thing as inexpensive) cost you about $4 each to make, then you could give someone $2 for every print they sell. So if they are making $4 for selling two prints at $25, you are making $17 on each sale without being there. Not too bad, is it? You could also sell matted prints to boutiques or small stores at wholesale for $8 each. You make $4 with every sale. I am outlining this simple business model because to most readers, this may seem like the least attractive way to sell art, but it is also an easy way to see how sales and profits are made. I have seen artists do street sales on many levels, and it is helpful to discuss because it is such an entrepreneurial venture and the model can be adjusted in all types of ways.

To learn more about Brainard Carey and his services for artists, or to take a class from him, click here.  To join one of his free weekly webinars, click here. To download the workbook mentioned in this series, click here.


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