3 Things Your Collectors Need to Know

by Carolyn Edlund

Potential customers need as much information about your art as possible to make a buying decision.

Customer shopping in an art gallery. Read about collectors at www.ArtsyShark.com

You’ve identified prospective collectors who have a genuine interest in your art. You will definitely want to cultivate that interest by sharing your story and the concept behind your art.

But that’s not all the information that collectors need, because much of the buying decision that they face is based on their own needs and wants. Basically, collectors need to know what’s in it for them, the details of the buying process and your terms, and whether they can get help or customer service if they need it.

Let’s take a look at these a bit more closely:

What are the benefits?

Since the customer’s biggest concern is themselves, it helps to be able to share how the art under consideration enhances their life, makes them happy or fills a need for them.

In describing your art, you need to share its features, but phrase them in terms of the benefit to the buyer. Why does each feature matter, and how does it affect the customer?

Do your paintings work seamlessly with different styles of décor? What type of impact will they make in a room? Share this information visually by using an in situ photo that helps them experience your work in a different way. In situ photos (or e-commerce software that shows the art on a wall) can be extremely helpful, allowing the shopper to visualize how your art will appear in their own space.

Does your work fit into a standard frame, so they don’t have to pay for custom framing? Or, is your work ready to hang, so they don’t have to bother with framing at all? That’s a big benefit.

Is your original signature on each piece you are selling? Do you include a Certificate of Authenticity with your art? Many collectors believe the artist’s signature really matters. And, that certificate adds value to the purchase, too.

Are your materials archival? Acid-free? UV resistant? Museum quality? Eco-friendly? Tarnish resistant? Gluten free and nonfattening? 🙂 All these make a difference to many people, and each one is a reason to buy. Salespeople refer to these as “selling points.” They can be a game changer in getting the results you want when working with potential customers.

Take a look at your own portfolio. Determine the features, and how you can turn each one into a related benefit. Be able to speak about benefits fluidly, and keep them in your toolbox to use when communicating with potential customers.

Give me the facts.

Collectors don’t only need to know that the art they are considering is right for them. They have other concerns as well, which are more logistical in nature. Sharing this type of information puts them at ease with making a purchase, because it helps them understand how things will happen.

  • What are your prices?
  • How is your work shipped?
  • What are shipping costs?
  • Is it insured?
  • Who will install it?
  • Do you take returns?
  • How should your artwork be cleaned or maintained?
  • Do you need a deposit on commissioned work?

Place yourself firmly in the shoes of your own buyers, and make a list of what they need to know, given the work that you sell. Complete transparency on everything is best, and certainly helps when dealing with the third thing that collectors need to know…

Can I trust you?

There is a lot of mistrust out there, because ripoffs do happen. Without trust, no sales or transactions would take place, and your creative business would be stopped cold. There are a number of ways that artists can instill trust in potential customers, putting them at ease and making the sales process run more smoothly.

  • Clear, concise and professional presentation of your portfolio, your bio and purchase details
  • Your contact information, readily available to them
  • A written satisfaction guarantee and return policy, on your website and marketing materials
  • Testimonials from satisfied customers, with their full name (and preferably headshot)
  • Trust badges on your website
  • Your bio and CV, showing years of experience, as well as recognition and praise for your work

Are you providing enough information to your own prospects? Listen to potential customers to find out what they need that you are not currently providing. Usually, they will be straightforward if they are truly interested in the art you are selling.

Then, review your marketing, your website and your selling process to make sure you have provided benefits to your customers, as well as all the facts they need and a reason to trust you.



How to sell art on facebook

Social Media for Artists

by Alan Bamberger

Plenty of artists sell plenty of art on Facebook, but selling art on Facebook and other social media websites involves more than loading your page up with images and waiting for sales to roll in. Not only do you have to make a good case for yourself and your art, but you also have to be active and consistent in how you get the word out, attract an audience and work to cultivate a loyal following. It’s not enough for people to simply know you’re there; they need reasons to come back for more… and more… and more. Here’s a list of tips and pointers to help maximize your chances for success, grow a fan base and sell more art:

* Make sure your art is organized into galleries of related works. Way too many artists dump all kinds of art into their photo albums with no curatorial oversight whatsoever. Dividing your art into groups, series or categories not only makes it easier for your fans to click right to the types of art they want to see the most. Even more importantly, well organized art is easier for people to understand… especially those who are visiting your page for the first time.

* Regularly update your page not only about your latest art adventures but also with fresh images. Posting new work and works-in-progress with reasonable regularity is a great way to show how productive you are and how serious and committed you are to being an artist. If you post updates or introduce new art only every once in a while, people won’t have much reason to take you seriously or visit your page because hardly anything ever changes.

* Make your entire page public. The reason you’re on Facebook is to increase the audience for your art. Don’t limit that potential by making sections of your page private, not allowing people to tag you, or otherwise restricting who can see, comment on, respond to, message or chat, or otherwise interact with you and your page.

* Your page should be much more than a place to show your art. It’s where you welcome people to your artistic life, introduce yourself and your art, and talk in ways pretty much anyone can understand, relate to, appreciate and get involved with. The better you do this, the more followers you attract. More and more galleries are paying attention to artists with large followings… and offering them shows. Followers have literally become the currency of social media and can play a key role in your success in both the online and gallery worlds.

* Think of your page as an illustrated ongoing commentary on your progression and evolution as an artist. Make it a good read… and a good see. Develop a consistent storyline or narrative. Focus on your art-related activities, on what you’re doing and how you’re doing it… like what you’re up to in the studio, your latest shows, recent sales, how you decide what to make next, the challenges you face while working on a new piece of art, where you go or what you listen to or read for inspiration, and so on. The best artist Facebook pages make people want to come back for more. Like a page-turner book or a great TV series, fans can’t wait for the next exciting episode or adventure.

* Consistency is really important whenever you post. Make sure everything connects up, that there’s a flow to what you write and show, and that no matter when or where on your page people join in, they can feel like they’ve got a grip on things and a sense of who you are and what you’re about as an artist. If your page gets too confusing, people will stop following you.

* Make sure your posts relate to your art and art life in one way or another. In other words, stay on topic. Posts on unrelated subjects or aspects of your personal life that have nothing to do with art should probably go elsewhere, perhaps on a personal page viewable only by friends and relatives. If you do decide to post off-topic, make sure you provide enough in the way of explanation so your art fans can understand.

* “Likes” are OK. “Comments” are better. “Shares” are the best. The lowest level of engagement is clicking “Like” and moving on. Not much action there. Commenting means more and lots of comments on a post often leads to an interesting discussion thread. You know what happens when a thread gets interesting? More people spend more time reading it which also means they’re spending more time around your art. You know what happens when a thread gets REALLY interesting? It gets shared. And “Shares” are what you want; that’s the highest level of Facebook engagement and the single best way for new people to get introduced to your work, by friends who share your posts (and art) with their friends.

* Get people involved with your life as an artist. Post images of your art along with descriptions or comments that encourage discussion and invite others to respond. Whenever possible, relate your art or artistic perspective to larger ideas, issues, concepts, beliefs, philosophies. Connect your art up with topics we can all appreciate or identify with, or experiences we all share. The more people engage with your posts, the better. When people comment on or share your posts, those comments and shares appear on their pages. People who don’t know you will be exposed to your posts, and if they find them interesting, will likely click over to your page. If they like what they see when they get there, they might “friend” you, message you or otherwise start to follow what you’re up to. This is the Facebook equivalent of the “ripple effect,” of expanding your circles of friends and contacts, and people’s awareness of your art. In the long run, it’s how you attract new collectors.

* Whenever you post an image of your latest art, say something about it. Briefly introduce it. This is essential, especially for people who are seeing it for the first time. Provide enough background information or explanatory so that people who like the way it looks, but who may not know you, will have a better understanding of what it represents and who you are as an artist. Descriptions or comments always deepen people’s experiences of your art. One to three sentences will do it in most cases.

* In addition to posting images of the artworks themselves, show them hanging or on display at various locations. This way, people can get a sense of what your art might look like in their homes or offices.

* Give people reasons to want to own your art. Present it in ways that make it more than just another pretty picture or decorative object. Is there a story behind it? What inspired you to make it? What does it mean or communicate or represent. Give it a significance and value that extends beyond the visual. Anyone can buy a good looking piece of art anywhere, but as for one that enriches, fulfills or has meaning beyond the visual, art like that is a lot more difficult to find. The more deeply people connect with your art and what it stands for, the greater the chances they’ll want to make it a part of their lives.

* Avoid the temptation to show too much art. Curate your page the way you would any exhibition. Sometimes it’s better to regularly remove older works and replace them with new ones rather than add and add and add. There’s a fine line between impressing people and overwhelming them.

* Mention prices every once in a while to remind people your art is available for sale. You’d be surprised how many artists never ever say a thing about selling or post about their art in ways where it’s difficult for anyone to figure out whether anything is for sale or not. Don’t inundate people with prices and sales pitches, but make it clear that if anyone is interested in buying anything, they’re welcome to contact you. Another good reason to mention prices is that many people are either afraid, embarrassed or too shy to ask. But if you tell them first and they see they can afford something they like, they’ll be far more likely to respond.

* If you have a page where your art is for sale like Etsy or Saatchi or FineArtAmerica for example, post a reminder every once in a while that includes a link to that page. Also have the page permanently linked on your Facebook page in your “About” section so anyone can click over to it at anytime.

* Return all emails and messages promptly, especially when someone is interested in your art. For many people, art is somewhat of an impulse buy. Take too long to reply and that impulse might cool.

* Facebook is a great way to drive traffic to your website. Your website is where you control the show, where you present your art at its absolute best, where there are no distractions, outside interference or reasons for people to leave and go elsewhere (like there are on Facebook). So learn how to link your Facebook posts and images of your art directly to pages your website so people can click over as easily and effortlessly as possible. If you can’t figure out how to do this yourself, contact your website’s tech support or the people who built it and ask.



* Don’t post images of your art with no accompanying descriptions, explanations or text (this is the worst way to present work). Far too many artists post image after image after image of their art without saying a thing about it. I go to these pages and all I see is “My art” “My art” “My art” “My art” and all I’m thinking is, “Great… another artist is making more art.” Even brief descriptions or explanations deepen people’s appreciation and understanding of the work.

* Don’t post images of your art on other people’s walls or promote your art on their pages or their discussion threads unless they ask you to do it or give you permission.

* Don’t message people you don’t know and ask them to visit your page, look at your art, give you feedback about your art, or otherwise reply to you about your art… unless you have a really good reason.

* Don’t post images of your art and then tag other people so they see it. People do not appreciate this and often have to waste time removing the tags. Only tag an image when it’s relevant to the person or people you’re tagging.

* Don’t send emails or messages about your art to groups of people unless every person on the list will know exactly why they’re receiving them. If you’re hosting an event, set up an event page and invite your friends that way.

* Don’t add people to your page or group without first asking their permission. Instead, either invite them to join or follow you.


In case you’re interested, I review artists’ social media pages all the time and make recommendations on how they can improve their overall organization, presentation and people’s engagement with their art. If you’re interested in having me do this for you, you’re welcome to email alanbamberger@me.com or call 415.931.7875 and make an appointment.


Three Fun Apps to Help Your Art Marketing by Carolyn Edlund

Want to share your art creatively through social media? These apps give you new ways to use your images, and they’re absolutely free!

Artwork shown in a gallery setting with Photofunia. See the article at www.ArtsyShark.com

Photofunia – Create all kinds of effects, and place your art in settings that vary from a billboard, to an open magazine, to an art gallery! This free phone app gives you a delightful way to present your work, tell your story, surprise your fans and make a splash. Simply download the app, upload your art, and choose from hundreds of ways to express yourself! Art won’t be shown to scale, but you can definitely start a conversation with this type of presentation. Perfect for a social media post.

Want your artwork to appear as though it's on the side of a building? Read about the Photofunia app at www.ArtsyShark.com

ArtSee – This useful app is a serious tool that helps artists show their work in situ. You can take a photo of a wall, add an art image taken at a fair, and show it to scale. Or, choose from room views available already on the app and let your artwork shine in those environments. Could be a great way to share a reminder photo of art that a potential customer was considering at a fair!

Artwork shown in situ with the ArtSee app. Read about it at www.ArtsyShark.com

Layout from Instagram – An “official” app from Instagram, this tool helps you create collages. Share a grouping or series of your work, or show steps in progress if you like. Promote an event or photos of your studio, and then instantly share on Instagram or Facebook through the app itself.

Collage of artwork made on Layout app from Instagram. Read about it at www.ArtsyShark.com



How to talk to artists at art festivals (or open studios!)

How to Talk to Artists at Art Festivals- The Do’s and Don’ts (Warning: You’ve probably been guilty of at least one of the don’ts…)


How to Talk to Artists at Art Festivals – the Do’s & Don’ts (Warning: You’ve probably been guilty of at least one of the don’ts…)

I visited the Cherry Creek Arts Festival here in Denver today. I go every year. As an artist I was fortunate enough to be chosen to show at this festival (one of the top 3 outdoor art festivals in the country) for 3 consecutive years back in the 2000’s. (I’ve since moved on to strictly gallery exhibits) As I was wandering around enjoying the art, I was struck by the conversations around me, and reminded of the “horror stories” shared by fellow artists (and experienced myself over the many years of doing outdoor shows) about rude and insensitive people, and even well-meaning people who unintentionally insult the artist. On the other side, I see many people who are intimidated by art and feel insecure talking to artists and asking questions. So if you are one of the millions of people visiting an arts festival (or gallery opening, or art walk) this summer, this “How to Talk to Artists” Primer is for you.

Please Note: The following was compiled as a result of nearly 2 decades of conversations and questions with fellow artists of all stripes, and is a reflection of the main concerns expressed by hundreds of artists over the years, and not at all strictly my opinion or experience. Every artist is different. This is meant to give a general idea of what life is like for the fair artist, and hopefully give a little knowledge and understanding to the patron.

Lesson One: Understanding the Artist

We may be somewhat unconventional people, but we are human, just like you. What sets us apart is the intense drive to create. It is what we are made of. We can’t not create. (I apologize for the double-negative) What we make is part of us. The pieces you see hanging on the walls are our “children”. We put our blood, sweat and tears into every one of them. Frankly, it takes (ahem) big balls to put ourselves on display, to open ourselves up to criticism and judgment. No matter what we do, there are going to be people that don’t like it. Being an artist is a hard life. We are all self-employed. We do not have companies to give us regular paychecks, insurance, and security. Most of us also have to do all our own marketing, sales, packing & shipping, and everything else it takes to run a small business. A typical working artist spends 50% of the time on marketing and sales and the rest of the time working on his/her creations. We also tend to put in 50-60 hour work weeks. Make no mistake, being an artist is a JOB, not a fun hobby we do in our spare time. Most of us went to school to learn our craft and earn a degree, and have spent years (in my case, decades) continuing to learn, practice, and get better at what we do, just like any job. It can be a thankless job as well, as most artists make very little money especially in the beginning. It can be a rather humbling career.

Lesson Two: How did these artists come to show at this festival, and what does it take to get here?

With the larger Arts Festivals around the country, this is how it works. There is an application process about 6 months before the festival, with artists submitting images of their work (usually with an average fee of $35) to a jury who selects which artists will be allowed to show at the festival. The competition is fierce. With the Cherry Creek Arts Festival for example, only about 9% of all submitting artists are chosen to exhibit (and of course, the jury fee is not refundable). The artists then pay a “booth fee”, which can be anywhere from $800-1600 depending on the show (CCAF is $850 for a 10 x 10 space for 3 days). The artists then have to supply their own booth and display. Artist’s displays can cost in the range of $1000-$5000, some even more. Many artists also travel great distances to get to the festivals, usually driving with all their art and booth set-up hundreds and thousands of miles, incurring costs for gas, hotels, etc. As you can see, most artists are out-of-pocket for thousands of dollars before the festival even opens.

Here’s what doing a festival can feel like for an artist: Imagine packing up a tent along with all your most valuable possessions, being on the road driving for days, then setting up your tent on an asphalt street with hundreds of other people in 90 degree heat, and placing all your valuables in this flimsy tent. Then, you get to spend 10-12 hours a day for three days standing in that hot tent (you can’t leave except for bathroom breaks and to grab a fast bite), smiling at thousands of people till your face hurts, and hoping like hell people like your valuables enough to buy a few from you. Then, at the end, when you’re dog-tired, you get to pack your tent and things back up and drive all the way back home, or to the next festival and do it all over again.

Lesson Three: What to Never-Ever Ask or Say to an Artist

So you’re at the festival, looking at the art on display. If you’ve read the above, then you know more than most of the people there already (good for you!) and probably have some appreciation for the artists, even if you don’t like their work. Here is the Top 9 List of what to Never-Ever Ask an Artist, and why:

#1 “Can I get a discount?” Or, “Will you take $500 instead of $1000 for this?” First off, this is an insult to the work and the artist. Unlike a flea market, artists generally do not expect to haggle. This is their livelihood and their blood sweat and tears on display. That being said, most professional artists build about 10% wiggle room into the price for their collectors, and this is ok, but asking for more than that is not. Most artists price their work at very fair rates based on time, materials and overhead. Think of it like this: What would you say if you went into work on Monday and your boss asked you to work at half your usual salary for the week? You’d probably quit.

#2 “Does this come in any other size/color?” Each piece of art is a unique creation by the artist, not a mass-produced item. Again, this question is insulting the artist’s work, however unintentionally. (Note: this one refers strictly to original art, not prints and reproductions, which can of course come in several sizes. It is in the context that implies “Can you change your original art to suit me?”) DO ask to look at the artist’s portfolio, there may be something there you like even better!

#3 “Is it finished?” Another one that makes artist’s cringe. If it is on display and for sale, always assume it’s finished.

#4 “How long did it take you to do that?” I can feel artists all around the world shriek in horror at this question. How long it takes to make has no bearing on the value. My favorite answer to this question is a little story about Pablo Picasso. Pablo is having a coffee in a cafe’ when a fan comes up to him, exclaiming how much she loves his work and asks, “would you draw something on this napkin for me?” Pablo does a drawing on the napkin, hands it to her and says, “that will be $10,000”. She cries “$10,000! but it only took you a few minutes to draw it!” and Pablo replies, ” But madame, it took me a lifetime to learn to draw that way.”

#5 “How did you make that?” There is a fine line with this one, as it’s all about the context. Often, this question is asked with the intention of, “I’ll go home and make one just like it!” Which is obviously not good for the artist. Inquiring about the artist’s process (ie: “Tell me about your process.”) is ok.

#6 “Your work is just like so-and-so’s.” Ouch. Artists like to think they are unique creators. We would rather not be compared to other artists. It IS always ok to ask who the artist is influenced by.

#7 “It must be fun to just paint all day.” and/or “What do you do for a living?” If you’ve read the above paragraphs, you already know why this one is a no-no. They are artists. That’s what they do for a living.

#8 “I want to learn to paint when I retire/have free-time, etc.”  It’s wonderful that you’d like to paint, (everyone should have a creative outlet!) however it can imply that art is a hobby, which to these artists, it most definitely is not and this can be taken the wrong way. This question goes hand-in-hand with “How can I learn to paint like that?” Just don’t go there. “Do you teach?” Now that’s a good question.

#9 It should go without saying, but never insult the work. Even if you think it’s hideous. Just keep it to yourself. That’s a person’s heart and soul on display, even if you don’t like it. Comments like, “My 5 year-old could paint that!” are always rude. I’ve had many rude comments thrown my way, such as, “Why would anyone want to hang that on their wall?” (CCAF 2008) and, “You’re painting on top of photographs!” (Spoken very loud and accusingly at my own art opening in 2010) It just plain hurts. That person standing behind you may be the artist, don’t assume he can’t hear you. I’m an artist and see work I don’t like all the time, but I always try to have enough respect for the artist to keep my mouth shut. If I want to discuss the work in a negative way, I wait till we have left the festival or gallery. Always.

OK, if I haven’t completely scared you away from talking to artists at art festivals by now, here are a list of questions that will always be welcome:

#1 “Tell me about your work.” It’s the perfect question.

#2 ” What/who influences you?” An excellent conversation starter, always welcome.

#3 “What inspired you to create that?”

#4 “What attracted you to working with pattern/the figure/still life’s/animals, etc?”

#5 Sincere complements are always welcome. “Beautiful work”, “well-done”, “great technique” is always nice to hear. I had one man tell me, “This is hands-down the best work of the show.” and I could tell he really meant it. That was 4 years ago and it still makes me smile.

#6 It’s ok to just be silent. (it’s much better than an insincere complement) A person thoughtfully and quietly studying a piece is always welcome. Don’t feel like you have to say something.

A few final notes:

Never take pictures of the art unless you ask the artist for permission first. There are unfortunately people out there who take hi-res images of work to make prints of and sell. Obviously this is a highly illegal copyright violation, but it happens. Also, some folks take pictures thinking they will go home and try and copy the piece (this is theft and copyright violation). Both these scenarios are bad news for the artist. You may just want to take a picture because you think it’s pretty, but the artist doesn’t know that. Ask before you shoot.

And lastly, remember these folks are working hard and are here to sell their work. While many artists will not mind shooting the breeze when the booth is empty, don’t be offended if an artist excuses themselves from your conversation to greet/speak with someone else who may be a potential customer.

Don’t feel bad if you’ve been guilty of one of the “bad” questions. We’ve all been there, even the arts professionals! You are now armed with more art festival knowledge than most, and you’ll never be in danger of unintentionally insulting an artist again. So go forth, explore the arts, and have fun!

Artoberfest 2015

Come to

At Western Avenue Studios

Saturday & Sunday October 3-4

Come to Western Avenue Studios (122 Western Avenue, Lowell, MA) Visit me in Studio#A409
During the October Open Studios on Saturday, October 3rd and Sunday, October 4th, we will be celebrating The First Annual ARToberfest. Visit over 100 artist studios to learn, shop, and be inspired!
Saturday, October 3rd and Sunday, October 4th12-5pm – Two full days of open art studios and lofts – meet the artists, browse the art, buy the art. (FREE Event and Free parking.)
Saturday & Sunday October 3 & 4: 12-5pm – Take part in art-themed activities for all ages including many art demonstrations. (FREE event and Free parking)

Saturday & Sunday October 3 & 4: 12-5pm – Visit the “Artful Biergarten” (a collaborative  indoor “art garden” installation) (FREE Event)
Saturday & Sunday October 3 & 4: 12-5pm – Local and Craft Beer Tasting in the Onyx Room. (PAID Event)
Saturday evening, October 3rd: From 5–7pm The Loading Dock Gallery will host an exhibit opening reception of their new exhibit “Harvest” with a Poetry Convergence — where art and words collide. (FREE event)
Saturday night, October 3rd from 7pm-11pm: Bavarian food, Music from The Oompa-pa’s, and fun!  (Tickets for the Saturday night party are $20 with proceeds to benefit the Miracle Providers NorthEast. Reserve your tickets at: http://miracleprovidersne.org)
At Western Avenue Studios
122 Western Avenue,
Lowell, MA 01851
Follow us on Facebook for complete event information and listing of artist demonstrations times:

For more Artoberfest events, click here

At Western Avenue Studios
122 Western Avenue,
Lowell, MA 01851

Orange tags will mark the entryways to participating studios and lofts.

At Western Avenue Studios
122 Western Avenue,

Lowell, MA 01851
follow the river Jackson NHsmller

Create Income through Renting Your Artwork by Carolyn Edlund

Create Income through Renting Your Artwork

Renting artwork to individuals or businesses is an opportunity available to artists. Have you ever considered it?

Cafe with Artwork

I recently spoke with Samantha Ward, who is the Artist Relations Manager at Easelyabout this interesting twist in the online marketplace.

AS: Your website offers this type of opportunity to artists and clients. How does the rental program work?

SW: We rent high-quality prints of artist’s work, and artists receive royalties on our rental prices. It’s a very passive income stream, which makes it easy to do. All we need are high-quality images of the artwork, which we then market, print, and ship.

Customers can buy these prints, or swap them out for free every year for a new piece. Artists also receive commission if a customer buys a print after renting it. The longer a customer rents, the more discounts are unlocked on the print. We can also help artists facilitate sales of the original pieces that customers are renting prints of, if the customer decides that they want to purchase the original.

Artwork in Dance Studio

AS:  What are the major benefits of this to the new collector?

SW:  Art rentals allow people who are not necessarily comfortable with the art world to get their toes in the water, so to speak. Rentals give an opportunity for people (especially young people) to get involved. After a while, they start to follow artists and familiarize themselves with their work. Then, when they are older and more comfortable with the art world, they may begin collecting original pieces from these artists.

Cost savings is one of the more obvious benefits of renting. People who can’t afford to buy, or who are too timid to commit to an original piece, can rent artwork at prices that they can afford. Perhaps later in their life when they are capable of investing in an original, they will be more likely to buy from the artists who they have discovered through renting.

AS:  Why do you see businesses renting artwork?

SW:  For larger businesses, we solve a cash flow problem for them. Often, they won’t have any art or they have art that has been sitting on their walls for decades because they don’t want to buy all new artwork upfront for an astounding price. With art rentals, businesses that would never consider even having art are willing to start filling their walls!

How to hang an art show! By Lisa Mardner, Painting Expert

You are having a solo show and are responsible for hanging it. You’ve worked hard on creating a strong body of work for the show, but now the challenge is how to place the artwork. Or maybe you’re hanging your students’ work, or hanging a show of many different artists’ works. Firstly you need to determine whether you’re having the showmuseum style, in which paintings are placed at eye level around

the space, or salon style, in which paintings are placed in groupings that may cover the wall from floor to ceiling, with little space between the pieces.

Whichever way you choose, some of the same principles apply. In general, you want to think of the exhibit as a piece of artwork itself. Each wall is its own painting, so while you want the paintings to hang together harmoniously, you also want there to be enough contrast to make the whole wall interesting and attract the viewer’s attention. Too much unity creates boredom; too much variety creates chaos. This adage is true not only for the individual artwork, but also for the exhibition.

Keep in mind that the same principles of art and design that apply to your paintings also apply to creating an exhibition, whether you’re hanging salon style or museum style.

Also, remember that hanging a show takes forethought and time. You may even want to draw a plan to scale of the exhibition area ahead of time and, knowing the dimensions of your paintings,

lay them out on paper first. Then keep in mind these ten suggestions.

  1. Make sure the space is clean and cleared from clutter.
  2. Consider the flow of the venue. What is seen first when the space is entered? What if there are multiple entrances? You want the first piece of artwork seen to be strong and grab a viewer’s attention.
  3. Set the artwork by laying your paintings against the walls in groupings that you will consider. You can move them around until you are satisfied with the groupings you’ve created.
  4. Anchor each wall with a stronger, larger piece if there are a variety of different sized works.
  5. Think about balance. Again , just as in a single piece of artwork a small cluster of shapes can balance a larger one so, too, in an exhibit several small works might be used to offset and provide balance to a larger piece.
  6. You might want to cut out pieces of paper to represent your paintings and get their placement on the wall. Do this by tracing the outside of your painting onto a piece of paper, cutting it out, marking on the paper where the nail will go, then taping the paper  to the wall with removable painter’s tape. This will help give you an idea of the layout while minimizing the placement of holes in the wall.
  7. Hang the paintings at eye level when hanging museum style. The average height of the human eye is about 58 inches. The center of the painting should be at approximately this height. American museums standard for hanging artwork is 58 inches.(1) 56″-62″ is the common range within which the center of the painting should fall. The most important thing is to decide on one height and be consistent.
  8. Try to avoid overcrowding when hanging museum style. Each painting needs to have room to breathe, and this also helps the viewer slow down and appreciate the individual work.
  9. Use a level to make sure the paintings are hung straight.
  10. Consider lighting. Where is the light coming from? What is the light source? Is it adequate? Can you redirect the lights to highlight your paintings?
  11. Bumps and scratches occur. Make sure to have extra paint on hand if you need to do a quick fix of something.
  12. Be flexible and try different groupings of paintings. You may even find that new combinations of paintings may give you ideas for yet more paintings!

Once you’ve finished hanging the show don’t forget to take photographs of the exhibit space with the paintings on the walls, for this is your new masterpiece!