Why people collect art

Knowing the reasons why people buy art will help inform you of a clear path for marketing your work.

The other day I was watching a wildlife photographer talk about his first ever print sale. A CEO wanted a massive 10-foot print of a black and white photograph of a great white shark. This CEO wanted to display it behind his desk in his office to invoke a certain feeling from people who walked into his office.

The psychology of this is so interesting to me…

“…To invoke a certain feeling from people who walked into his office.”

He wanted to use this photographers photos to provoke a feeling.

Your work, no matter the style, medium, or subject matter – has the ability to be used by your potential collectors to communicate a feeling or atmosphere in their home or office. Your statement becomes your collector’s statement.

This could be an original, a print, or even an art book of yours someone wants to collect and put on display.

Let’s avoid assumptions

Now in the CEO shark photograph example, let’s not assume that all CEO’s aren’t attracted to intimidating photos of sharks. Using the term, “CEO” as a defining demographic won’t help you in the long run. The same goes for the term “rich person”.

You could have 20 millionaires and CEO’s in a room together and each one is going to have extremely different tastes, interests, and likes.

A stay at home mom may want to make the same statement in her home with the same shark photograph the CEO did.

There’s such a broad spectrum of emotions people are interested in communicating in their environments. It’s up to you to take the time to understand the specific perceptions and emotions your work generates. This way you can make informed decisions of how and where you generate publicity in order to drive traffic back to your art website.

Do you know how people perceive your work?

To get a sense of how people interpret your art – ask any non-artist friend of yours to describe your art to you.

Most likely they aren’t going to to use the same words another artist would use. Such as oil paints, acrylic, or impressionistic. Instead, they’re going to use words like calming, moody, dark, surfy, bright landscapes, majestic horses galloping, sexy, etc…

After asking a few people, you may start to see a trend in the words they’re using to describe your work. Which is important because it’ll guide you towards defining who your target audience is.

Yes, technically people buy art to “decorate” (yeah, I don’t like that word either), but remember, deeper down – people collect your work as a way to express themselves. To broadcast something about themselves to their friends, families, clients, co-workers, and other people in their lives.

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