Saying that the art market has dramatically changed over the last 10 years is a considerable understatement. Although it used to be that getting representation and the freedom to just focus on creating art was the holy grail of an artist’s career, that just isn’t the reality of today.

While I know and work with artists who have representation, sometimes by multiple galleries, I also know that the number of sales they get from that representation keeps shrinking.

That’s why now, more than ever, artists need to consider these 3 trends if they want to “make it” in the ever-evolving industry that is the fine art market.

#1. The retail crisis we are presently experiencing is also affecting art galleries, which means they will continue to close and consolidate locations in 2018.

As a contemporary art lover, this makes me sad. Although I strongly encourage artists to take action in their business and not wait for a gallery to represent them, I still feel that galleries have a role to play in the art market.

However, too many galleries don’t know (or don’t want) to adapt to the new reality of online sales.

They want to continue with their old ways, ignoring the fact that worldwide online art market sales reached an estimated $3.75 billion in 2016, up 15% from 2015 (according to the Hiscox Online Report), and this trend is growing faster each year.

So here is your opportunity to shine!

Artists don’t have the baggage, overhead, and the “we’ve always done things this way” attitude that’s costing galleries right now.

You are lean, mean, and creative, and you have the advantage here.

You can easily shift your strategy and adapt to new market realities, and use the tools at your disposal, such as the internet, to sell your art.

But selling online isn’t as easy as setting up an online shop and hoping “if you build it, they will come.” You’ll need a robust business strategy, a strong implementation plan, and a growth-oriented mindset to make it happen.

#2. Artists who are making it on the internet know that their personal branding is now more important than ever.

Serious collectors are browsing Instagram, looking for art and that “next great artist.” This means that you need to make sure you are bringing your A-game to the table.

Collectors want to invest in work by artists who not only create remarkable art, but who also have a brand that stands out, a track record of consistent sales, and who also heighten the collectors’ credibility as art buyers.

On that note, brands and businesses are also using social media and the Web to see what artists are doing and develop collaborations.

These brand partnerships can lead to new income opportunities, heighten visibility, and open up new market segments.

Which leads to the third trend I want to share with you…

#3. Developing new streams of income through partnerships and collaborations is going to be key to artists’ success in 2018.

The art world is going through a huge transition. Artists who are willing to be innovative and see the present turmoil as an opportunity, not a threat, are those who will emerge successfully when things correct themselves, because they’ll have set solid foundations for their businesses.

As the saying goes, “hindsight is 20/20.” Too often we wish we’d started working toward a goal, invested in a project, or started saving for a lifetime opportunity years ago. Don’t waste one more second thinking about what could have been. Instead, choose to invest in something that’s guaranteed to give you a return this year: YOU.


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