What Kind of Art Sells Best? How to Get More Art Sales

Art doesn’t sell itself, it has to be sold.

— Jack White

The Question of What Type of Art Sells Best Is Puzzling.

It’s nearly impossible to accurately answer what kind of art will sell best in 2022. That’s because the question is too broad. So we need to drill down. For instance, are we talking about original paintings, sculptures, mixed media, digital art, or reproductions? Regardless, there is help for you to find out what art styles are the better sellers. So, please keep reading.

Understanding what kind of art to make is a factor in art marketing. Oftentimes, specialized insight is advantageous in selling your art, knowing what motifs are current in the wholesale home furnishings markets, for example.

Florals and Landscapes Dominate?

I worked for nearly two decades for Decor magazine during its heyday as “the Bible” for retail art galleries and picture frame shops. Over the years, Decor magazine frequently surveyed its readers to ask what sold kind of art sold best in their stores. Not surprisingly, landscapes and florals perennially topped the list. They go in any decor and are as non-controversial as you can get.

Live Your Best Artist's LIfe
Live Your Best Artist’s LIfe

A question for you is, “What do you do with this information?” I believe researching the resources I’m providing will help you. However, I also believe you should only let them slightly modify your creative process. To make the journey worthwhile, soak up the info and ideas and use them wisely.

If you are not reading this for infotainment and plan to follow my advice good for you. There’s more but there’s more than enough here to keep you very busy. And I appreciate you for reading my posts for whatever reasons you choose.

This is what you call a running start on researching art trends.

Art.com publishes its bestsellers. Due to its annual sales volume, it is informative to learn what’s hot there. Many poster publishers show what’s hot on their websites, as do other sites selling art online. FineArtAmerica.com also publishes a bestsellers page. Study the ads in trade magazines such as Art Business News and Art World News to see what top art publishers are advertising. Art print wholesaler, Liebermans.net, publishes a bestseller list, as well.

Some Types of Art Are Perennial Bestsellers.

I’ve seen lists of bestselling art types for decades. The categories don’t change much, if at all. Whatever list you find, it’s sure to have these categories of bestselling art, and beyond landscapes and florals, they are in no particular order because of location influence:

  • Landscapes
  • Florals
  • Local scenes
  • Contemporary abstract landscapes
  • Pet portraits.
  • Figure studies
  • Seascapes, marine areas, including sandy beach scenes
  • Wildlife
  • Portraits
  • Still lifes
  • Impressionism
  • Nudes

Research, Take the Influence and Do What You Want.

The reality is these suggestions are just that. Another thought is to stop trying to please others and make the art you like. Then find your POP (Pocket of People) who shares your preferences.
If you are unsure about your style direction, pick one from the list that you like the most and go for it. You are allowed to flourish and change your mind and your style.

The Guide to Art-related Careers
Learn about art-related Careers.

Keep in mind that you only need a handful of loyal buyers to launch a successful art business. You can be quirky and get by, (better than many might imagine), or go corporate and big time, or something in between. It’s up to you where you go but as long as it meets your needs that is what matters most.

Consumer Sites Are Worth a Look.

Try leafing through the latest Crate & Barrel and Restoration Hardware catalogs for ideas. Those are just two of dozens of online sites that sell home decor, including original art and reproductions. ArtfulHome.com is a juried site worth checking out. You can look at Pantone.com or BenjaminMoore.com to find the latest color trends.

Making Art People Want to Buy.

Success in selling art starts with creating work that interests buyers. Without that, nothing else matters. It would help if you also had a plan to find buyers and a system to remind them on a steady basis that you have artwork they should own. That is the art business in its most simplistic terms.

Being informed about trends is a good thing for boosting sales. You probably don’t care about trends if you make art for the ages. Moreover, you presumably aren’t reading blog posts about art marketing either.

Since you are reading this, we’ll go with you to make art that is easy to sell. There is nothing wrong with that as a motivating purpose for you. Making art as a business is as time-honored as any tradition in art history.

The Guide to Art-related Careers
Learn about art-related Careers.

If that’s you, that you want your art to sell well, then it makes sense you would like to know what other kinds of art sell best. It doesn’t have to be entirely monetary driven. You can want to know what other artists are doing because it stimulates your creativity in new ways.

Creativity Is Borrowed.

My observation is that successful artists mix their creativity with a dash of inspiration from what’s happening around them. Art has always been made this way. I’m sure cave dwellers borrowed ideas from each other.

Artists seek stimulus from fellow artists and the world around them. If they didn’t, we would have never had movements such as Impressionism, Cubism, Art Deco, etc.

Taking Influence Stretches Beyond Visual Arts.

Bob Dylan spawned enormous influence over popular music in his day. He, in turn, found inspiration from the music of artists as varied as Little Richard, Woody Guthrie, Elvis, Johnny Cash, and Robert Johnson. The harmonic rhythm sounds of The Beach Boys influenced The Beatles and vice-versa. Nothing is made in a vacuum when it comes to art and creativity. Inspiration is everywhere.

Find Your Balance.

It’s more than okay to let the work of others influence and inspire your creativity. It’s probably the only way you improve to the best of your ability. Likewise, it’s okay to note what kind of art is selling all around you now. At the same time, you don’t want your art to be slavish to trends. But, of course, that sometimes works in the short run; it is a career killer in the long run.

Untitled, Pablo Picasso, 1963 courtesy of cirrusimage.com
Untitled, Pablo Picasso, 1963 courtesy of cirrusimage.com

You’re looking for a delicate balance between entirely original ideas and those formed from outside influences. Picasso’s interest in African masks still ripples through the art world a century later. Without that influence, the magnificent untitled sculpture he gifted the city of Chicago would have never been.

Creativity is about making something new out of something old. Success is also about sticking with something long enough to take hold and make a difference in your career.

The Keys to Your Success.

If you make a recognizable body of work coming from the same hand, and it appeals to buyers, you are on track to great success. What’s left at that point are two things:

  1. Find prospects with an attraction to your art.
  2. Communicate with your prospects regularly.

Finally, realizing what kind of art sells best is helpful but not that important. Getting to know your prospects and what they like is much more critical. Selling art, straightforward to buyers, is an intimate thing. Your art is personal… to you and your buyers.

You don’t need a mass appeal. It would be best if you had a genuine enthusiasm for what you are making from a relatively small number of people to build a successful career. For these reasons, I say paying more attention to what your buyers are showing interest in is far more significant and profitable than worrying about or wondering what is selling best on a macro scale.

Balance Is the Key to Prosperity on Your Terms

Learning to balance influences is critical and extends beyond macro trends and micro buyer interests. Sometimes you have to break out and create trends. That’s where the visionary part of your creativity kicks in. Balancing life as an artist with the demands of managing your art business is a driving factor behind the ideas I present to the Art Marketing Toolkit Project (AMTP) members. 

Instead of loading artists with art marketing information exclusively, we explore how to build relationships with your POP (Pocket of People), who are most likely to buy your work. And how to balance the competing art-life, dream-work interests, and concerns we all have.

It’s easier to get what you want when you know what you want. The excessive information and distracting noise become meaningless and go away. Because I believe art marketing should not be expensive, the price of your AMTP membership is only  $4.99 per month with no contract. I think no artist should be left behind. Join today. You will be glad you did.   

The Guide to Art-related Careers
Learn about art-related Careers.

Alice G. Collins

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