An interesting question which I get asked at least once or twice every week. Time to answer it.
There is not one simple answer to this question. Instead, there are 3 main reasons why one may decide to buy art. Two of them are subjective, the last one’s more financially motivated. Let’s dive into it.
Relate to the art
A collector may relate to your art in various ways. An artwork can make someone nostalgic, cause feelings of love, happiness, fear or furiosity, or simply please the eye.
The power of aesthetics cannot be underestimated when it comes to art. One can simply ‘like’ the artwork. One’s personal taste is established by many different influences. As Menand (2016) states: “Some combination of inputs including, but not limited to, reasons, hunches, bodily needs, past experiences, unconscious desires, social pressures, mystic chords of memory, and price point is behind every preference; they are weighted differently in almost every case; and they are highly malleable.”
With that being said, it should be clear that you simply can’t please everyone. Not everyone is going to be a fan of your art - never. Whether you’re a small artist or world famous, there will always be people who like your art and some who don’t.
So don’t set out to make something everyone will like, because you will fail. Instead, create what you like, and find collectors who like it too.
It goes without saying that this advice is for those who consider themselves expressive, 1/1 artists. If you are trying to make commercial art, a PFP project, or are doing design work, the demand in the market plays a much more important role.
Relate to the artist
A collector can also relate to you as an artist. To your story, mission, vision or the concept behind a collection. Maybe you’re supporting a cause or community that a collector wants to support too. In this case, he or she may not necessarily find your art the ‘most beautiful’, yet he or she does want to buy it.
Hence it’s highly recommended to work out your personal brand as an artist. Show collectors what you are about. Write out your story, record a video or get someone to interview you, or do all three. Get a professional website where you can display all this in a representable way. Something that shows collectors you are serious about what you are doing.
Dive deep into your mission and vision, show where you come from, how you’ve developed your skills, and what inspires you. If you are supporting a cause, charity or community - then show this as well! Try to make it engaging with pictures or videos.
If you want to spread your reach, then we recommend you try to get on podcasts and join many Twitter Spaces. Inform people about what you stand for without shilling - just share your thoughts. You don’t have to literally talk about yourself to share your story. Giving your opinion or advice, or just being present in a Twitter Space, is often enough. Chat, connect, and let others hear your voice.
This will attract people to visit your profile - so make sure that’s optimized too. Write a short but strong bio (description at the top of your Twitter profile) that intrigues. Ask others to give you feedback on this. From there, you want potential collectors to click through to your collection or website.
Value of the art(ist)
An established artist may have collectors who simply acquire their work because of the potential value increase. Sometimes these collectors may not be interested in the aesthetics or the story, they’re just in it for the possible financial gains. For them, buying art is, above all, investing.
How to get collectors?
You may find other motives for people to acquire art, but these are the 3 most common ones I’ve come across. As an artist, you can use this information to get a better idea of how to promote yourself.
If you want to increase your chances of getting collectors, then the answer lies (almost always) in networking. Become friends with other artists in the same niche (as their collectors might also be interested in your work, and friends often promote friends) and work on your personal brand.
If you want to dive a little deeper, then have a look at this interview with Nik Kalyani or this one with Barthazian. If you are working on an NFT Project, then don’t miss out on these 7 effective marketing tips.