The Art of Pre-Selling your Artwork

Photo of paintings hanging in gallery
I recently installed a show of 27 small artworks for my show Eerie Dearies. It was a unique experience and I ended up selling 3 pieces that night which made for 13 sales total because I had been pre-selling my artwork leading up the event. My 3 sales on the night of the exhibition may be due at least partially to the effect of the other red dots on the wall.


As it was my own show and there was no commission going to the gallery I was able to begin preselling the artwork for this show 6 months before the opening. The only catch for the patrons who purchased the work early is that they had to wait until the exhibition was over in order to receive the art piece(s) that they had purchased. Most of the people who purchased earlier had also purchased work from me before or had a relationship with me already which made the agreement risk-free due to the trusting relationship we already had established.


Interior gallery photo


It was a big push to install the work on time and I literally hung the last pieces before the first guests arrived but -Oh man!- was it satisfying to have an opening with so many red dots on the wall. It made a huge impression on my guests and -as I mentioned before-perhaps inspired a few sales.


Six months before the event I began to let my friends and patrons know that I would be having a show in December for the Eerie Dearies art that would serve as the illustrations for my book that was due to be released around the same time. I let them know that if they had any interest in purchasing a piece that they should get in contact with me and that I would take a deposit to secure their purchase. As purchases were made I let people know that some of the pieces were no longer available for purchase but again that they should get in contact with me if there was one they were particularly interested in and that I would take a deposit for any of the remaining pieces. Below is a quick photo I snapped of one side of the gallery while I was preparing the exhibition. (I'm still amazed that I got each piece so level - probably due to using a level : )

Paintings hanging
The opening was an exciting event and it was interesting to be in charge of all aspects of the show (and a bit nerve wracking) from installation to de-installation but the benefit was that I didn't have to share the sales commission with anyone : ) It can be intimidating to put on your event but pre-selling work can take the pressure off substantially, and there will always be something that could have been done better or that you neglected to consider - that's just life! My moment I realized that I had forgotten something was when I was approached by someone who wanted to purchase two pieces but I didn't have a way to accept credit card - I panicked a little for just a second as I realized how easy it could be to lose a sale this way...but the patron was accomodating and we arranaged for payment by cheque on pick-up of the art. Maybe I didn't think about this one factor in advance of the exhibit but I more than made up for that by pre-selling artwork !!


PS. Since this event I have ordered a device that allows you to swipe credit cards using your phone called Square. I'll let you know how it goes once it arrives in the mail : ) This is what it looks like:

Photo of smart phone with credit card reader
Image source [1]

Written by: rebecca chaperon
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