Recently on the Fine Art America artist forums a member was talking about setting up an art auction site. Other members had a lot of questions about establishing trust, curating the art, and other concerns. Things provided by well established art auction houses.
The “entrepreneur” brushed off these concerns saying “we are the sellers here, not the buyers.”
Sorry folks but if you don’t understand the motivations of the buyer, you are not going to do much selling.
Motivations of the Seller
As an art seller it doesn’t take too much soul searching to understand why you want to sell our art. There are several reasons. The major one being money. You need money to pay for equipment, supplies, food, rent, models, studios space, gas, trips to the dentist etc. Everyone needs money for their time and effort.
The other motivation is a personal satisfaction of knowing that someone else appreciates the work you are producing. Other motivations include career advancement, prestige, reputation, fame, branding and other achievements. But all in all its rather straightforward. You are producing a creative product and need to find buyers who will support your ongoing efforts.
Motivations of the Buyer
Motivations of the buyer can range from wanting to cover a crack on the wall to wanting to make a financial investment. The motivations determine if someone buys art on sale at Walmart, buys from an artist at an art fair or buys at a high end aution and stores the art in a bunker for ten years.
If your method of selling does not match the motivations of the buyer, you are probably not going to sell much art or photography. Let’s some reasons people might want to buy art.
- They need a gift for a wedding, graduation, birthday, housewarming etc.
- They want to decorate a room.
- They want something cheery to greet them in the morning. Something uplifting that will make them laugh or smile.
- Something that will remind them of something – a trip, a place, a time, a location.
- To impress. They want to impress their friends and co-workers with their good taste. The art enhances the owners self-esteem or self-perceptions of its owners.
- To collect. They enjoy collecting art of a certain genre or theme.
- To inspire. They want art or photography that will inspire their own work.
- To think. They want art that will make them think and question.
- To relax. They want art that is calming or relaxing to look at.
- As an investment. They want to park their money somewhere and hope it appreciates.
- Price. The art was a good deal or it was in their budget.
- To make a statement – social or political statements, philosophies, beliefs or values that the art embodies. The art expresses the buyers views.
When it comes down to it “the art we buy is as much about who we are as it is about the artists who create it”