Hello all. I may be wrong, and would welcome the correction, but over the years being on FAA, I noticed that the overwhelming amount of sales come from non-abstract art, that is photographic images, graphic arts (movie posters and the like), and other mediums with a recognizable object, whereas, straight no-object abstracts make a tiny percentage of the sales I see when I check. Not complaining, just wondering if my observations are correct. My main love is with abstracts, so I don't plan on changing that for the sake of sales - I do what I do because I love it. That said, I do dabble with other styles from time to time.
It should be noted that with one exception recently where I sold 2 abstracts (tees) , all the sales I've every received were with non-abstract art. Funny, the one time I as just messing around with a black and white image of Jaco Pastorious, I sold several of these. Funny.
Everything sells and I have made money on abstracts. But they were specific themes not random stuff. Everyone has abstracts, so its hard to compete. Its like - no one wants to buy my sand grains, but you are on a beach full of sand grains. They are hard to keyword and describe as well. And they really have to like it.
I recently did an abstract (camera motion) photo of a forest scene. While it's yet to sell the reaction to in FB groups, Instagram, etc. have been almost overwhelming. So I think abstracts that involve a subject and are somewhat recognizable have potential. They're also easier to keyword and describe.
I believe Bob has this right, "So I think abstracts that involve a subject and are somewhat recognizable have potential."
...at least in my example...
In February I made an abstract photo - of an actual tree-at-sunset photo I shot five years ago. I reflected the image horizontally and then vertically to make somewhat of a kaleidoscopic abstract of the original image. I sold a 20"x15.5" framed print a few days ago (3rd) - that was the sixth sale since I uploaded it. It is, as Bob suggests, a recognizable subject in a very popular resort town.
This would seem to be true, much to my disappointment. Here is an observation: When I watch TV or Movies (ok, so not real life examples with this one) the creators of the movie typically have several prominent pieces of pure abstract to show the "class" of the person in the shot. As if they are the only ones who "get abstract", the wealthy that have enough money to purchase a piece that doesn't have a recognizable subject. Funny thing is, in my course of my business, I have the chance to go into a lot of, shall we see, people of a higher income stream as me, and there are a LOT of abstracts, yet here on FAA the only abstract I sold was on a T-Shirt! What's really going on? I suspect, perhaps, if people are spending money on something (and let's be real, we have some great display products, but also puzzles and stickers, so....) of high quality, unless they have money to burn like my clients do and the characters on TV and movies who all have expensive lofts in New York, they probably are going to gravitate on something more concrete and approachable. Mike had a great point earlier, when you see millions of abstract art that to most people all look the same (although we know that isn't true, there is a difference between time and artistry and someone who slaps a bunch of shapes and color around, but I digress) and you can get some nifty abstracts at Target for $70.00, when my art is costing much more, why would anyone purchase abstract? On the other hand, when they come across a one-of-a-kind work of art of something they love, why wouldn't they shell out the dough.
I understand the marketing aspect of things, which I do not do enough of, but I still think its valid that a lot of sales of artist who DO NOT market much, have a style of art that many people are willing to spend money on - which isn't abstracts.
Finally, it's funny that I started doing graphic art, photo manipulations, and then abstracts with a subject before I started with pure abstracts which I found to be more challenging actually and satisfying creatively speaking. So I sold THIS on a A T-Shirt:
VS prints, canvas, T-shirt, and a mug on this one:
The artists I mentioned before that sell nearly daily developed a large following on SM, that's typically what it takes to sell abstracts because like Mike mentioned, non-objective art is hard to describe and keyword in a way that would help people find them in search. However, somehow I've sold a few abstract originals on ebay and etsy even though I have no following to speak of, no prints yet though. I have sold a non-objective abstract photograph on several products on my other POD however.
"Marketing and social media, you mean interact with people? I'd rather be a starving artist!"
I can definitely relate, I'm about as introvert as they come. However I don't mind interacting with people that initiate interaction in response to my own SM posts. However that is a very rare occurrence. The big problem for me is the games you have to play and the hoops you have to jump through to in order to develop a large SM following, and the rules constantly change. I tried following the "plan" one influencer laid out for getting followers on IG, for about three days. It worked, but it took a lot of time and made me feel icky, even though it was producing results I just couldn't continue doing it. Now I just tweet a few times/day on an account with a few hundred followers, I do nothing to pursue gaining more followers and it shows. lol I do get some interaction however and actually enjoy that to some extent. However the primary advantage I see to twitter for me is that that tweets activate the bots and Google likes tweets. That's as far as my "marketing" goes.
FAA/Pixels is a convenient and inexpensive space to display an ever growing portfolio.
Drive by sales are rare.
My sales are made in person to local collectors. These sales are for original works and signed prints. Metal prints around the 24 inch size being the most popular. These I sign on the reverse and sometimes I hang them too (local collectors).
Like DKS, I use Twitter to activate the art bots and Google. I use Instagram to connect with other artists. I have mothballed my Facebook account. SM in general attracts other artists to my work and they are not customers.
The work has to be made and here is as good a place as any to share it.
I remember a fractal artist doing really well, not sure how she made them into a painting, but she's not alive now to talk about it. I know of another that makes large wall murals of abstracts. Its really about who you know. For abstracts to sell it would really need the right environment and people have to see it passing by in order for it to "work" for them. And titles and descriptions may help even if its nonsense.
Like this represents my final cigarette or bottle of booze or something. And then suddenly they can "see it" and you may get a sale from it.
I sell abstracts regularly, but I mostly sell people, places, animals and things. But that is just human nature. People like things they can recognize. People don't want to think too much...lol People want their guests to not judge them for having "weird" art. There are so many reasons that abstracts are not the best sellers. But it does not stop me from creating them. I love them and my latest series is abstract.
I was going to chime in on this yesterday but got busy.
Abstract is my thing but I'm in the same boat (well, my own boat, same storm) with abstract sales. While I'm not a total closet artist, I am not inclined to get out there and sell, in person or otherwise. Marketing frankly gives me a headache, but it's a necessary evil. My excuse has always been - being an artist and a marketer are like polar opposites. Others thrive on the interaction, me not so much. However, the majority of my exposure comes from posting on Social Media. Like it or not, I'm much more social online that I am in person but that is waning. Go figure.
The rest of my sales have been on products offered on Pixels.com (T-shirts, greeting cards, phone cases, pillows, coffee cups etc.). I find that abstracts are especially well suited to those hence my attraction to selling my images on products. (additionally I wish we had all-over print apparel but that's another discussion). Also, with many artists here, I don't have all my eggs in one basket and have made sales on other POD sites as well.
I find abstract prints (stretched canvas especially) are better suited to institutional types of installations such as offices, hotels, hospitals more than residential although I try to appeal to interior designers who specialize in staging upscale homes for example.
It's hit or miss (to me) what people / potential customers like. I have not nailed that down but abstract either gets you or it doesn't. There's stuff out there that makes me go WOW! But, what is it about a particular abstract work that does that? It feels similar to another discussion going on right now about how we define beauty (and aesthetics).
There are so many good points made by a ton of experienced artists here. All valuable information. Yet, I still haven't figured it out.
I've been on here since 2009 and I have over 900 images. That being said. I sold one print in 2020 and 1 in 2021. I've sold a pillow, some cards and a few masks. I only show on FB. I get very few views. Marketing is too difficult for me and I lose momentum pretty fast. It shows. Still and all - I think non-objective abstracts are a hard sell in case - It might be different if I was selling them face to face. One print sale pays my premium fee -
A lot to think about. Glad I'm not going crazy. Like a few of you, marketing has been a difficult thing because of the lack of time I have (a common occurrence no doubt) and my abhorrence to SM. I hear that it's easier for the "average" person (not to sound like a snob) to get. The "I like turtles" crowd I guess is going to gravitate towards that. Long before I was doing abstracts, I gravitated towards them because 1) It's a puzzle to be solved (but do you ever solve it ?, which makes it more fun) as to what the artist's was thinking when they created it, what is the meaning, etc. You get lost in that. 2) If open you create your own meaning. Not that good objective art can't or doesn't do that, it's just I feel in general there is so much more freedom in abstracts. Biased I know.
Side question related to my earlier post, Do you think then that the more financially fluid people get on sites like this? Like I mentioned, a lot of the homes I visit have abstracts, but I imagine the interior decorators chose those maybe? Wouldn't these business be more open to abstracts?
I suppose an added layer of complexity is "digital" abstracts. Though I tend to favor work that looks less computer generated, I still don't have an original on canvas to sell and sign like many of you do here. I have thought about incorporating my work into mixed media, like Revad's installations. Might be worth exploring.
I personally LOVE abstracts and there are several artists here that I admire and I know they sell well. I was never good in creating them, but I think that they are extremely decorative for any type of print from home decor to products. I also think that while figurative pictures can be extremely beautiful and valuable, after a while you get bored with them... it's just the same thing all the time, while in abstracts you can always find and see something new.
... and BTW: digital art does not mean "computer generated" images - not anymore!. There are a lot of programs that allow you to just hand paint - not on real surfaces, but on screen.
PS: oh yes, fractals are computer generated images - For this reason I never liked them :)
Tatiana, thank you for clarifying things. I wasn't very clear. I was classifying anything done on a computer as "digital", but things are more complex aren't they. Digital painting, fractals, 3D, and photo manipulation and anything in between (which I fall into the in between because I do a mixture of painting and photo layering). I, like you, am not the biggest fan for computer looking art, but there are some talented artists who do that. They probably sell more prints than my abstracts. I appreciate the comment, thanks.
I was thinking about this today and I started to do some research outside of our discussion, and will continue to do so. I found this mention in an article interesting:
Best-Selling Painting Themes (This data was taken from a survey published in Art Business Today) In order
Traditional landscapes Local views Modern or semi-abstract landscapes Abstracts Dogs Figure studies (excluding nudes) Seascapes, harbors, and beach scenes Wildlife Impressionistic landscapes Nudes
Well isn't that something. ABSTRACTS listed at the #4 spot!? Of course, what it didn't specify is what we've been talking about is that abstracts of an identifiable object hold the seat firmly at the top of that data. Still, It was interesting.
The more I discuss, I'm can see the benefit of enhancing one's portfolio to include some abstracted objects/people?
Ken, thanks for giving my INSTALLED collection a plug. Maybe I should now push that collection to the front. Making and recording these transient wall drawings is where my heart is. The photographs of transient art reproduce especially well as metal prints. I am trying to bring together the analogue and digital, the virtual and the real, and channel the tensions between them. Whether any of this is commercial, in the context of a POD site, is a moot point, given I am going to be making them anyway. FAA/Pixels is an inexpensive space in which to display my outcomes. Any drive by sales are a side effect. All be it, a nice side effect! I have fidgeted around here for the past dozen years, coming and going as the mood took me. This time, I plan to give my best efforts (at marketing) for a full year and see what happens. There is also the thought that my true medium is the internet and the audience that brings to my ideas. Maybe these ‘things’ are meant to be seen in a free space, with this being the ‘real’ experience and any physical manifestation relegated to the role of merchandise. Of course, saying that too loudly might depress sales even further.
In response to Tatiana Travelways that you always see something new in an abstract, one of the most interesting/nicest comments I've received was: my work would look great in a waiting room, because the longer you look at it the more you see. But, since I really don't do any SM, nothing much of mine sells.
Revad: "FAA/Pixels is an inexpensive space in which to display my outcomes. Any drive by sales are a side effect. All be it, a nice side effect!" Very true my friend. Like you I come and go from FAA, but I have always said that probably it's greatest strength is a place to showcase what I do and to connect with others in the art community such as yourself. To have access and interactions with such talented people is a blessing. That I may get to sell is a benefit of course. As for your installations, again, this is something I keep wanting to do to add depth to my digital work.
L A Feidstein: It's a pity that more people don't put your work into their homes. Their loss.
David: I know right? Surprised old schematics weren't on the list. They seem to sell a lot here-they are pretty cool looking though. Keep seeing one each time I check the sell page. That and re-works of theater posters and magazine covers.
Update: So I'm still pursuing my abstracts, but I thought it wouldn't hurt to explore some more object identifiable art. They are fun, even if less satisfying in the end. While it's not about the sale, its about as an artist I want my work in people's homes to enjoy. This is how I share me with the world. So, if the "world" wants a pretty landscape, well, I suppose I can do one the way I would do one. Thoughts?
So being a big Pat Metheny fan, here is a new one. Admittedly not my best work...then again, I'm always hard on myself.
The artist (in me) just wants to make what needs to be made. The human being (in me) wants others to appreciate what is made. The artist tries hard to ignore what the human being thinks. Of course, the unconscious exchange cannot be mediated. So, despite best intentions, the artist is sometimes influenced by the human being. Although mostly, the artist continues to make what needs to be made. The tensions between these, and other, internal perspectives can both help and hinder the creative process. There is a continuous struggle.
Susan, yeah please. I'm both encouraged and my lesser self like David said is saying in my head "why do I bother to make this crap?" I've been doing this for a while now, and I do love creating, but if you're selling 80 of an abstract...starting to wonder what the hell I'm I doing wrong. LOL Perhaps I don't resonate with people and am more like a deep "whump" deep under the ocean that no one hears. 🤣🤪🥴
To all the wonderful artists who have posted here: It IS because OF YOU that the "human side" of me, what I call the "fractured" parts of me, don't give up because I am not alone here! Nice to know. I don't know about the rest of you, but I can run afoul looking at such talented artists here and think 1) Of course they sell because there art isn't crap like mine or 2) They are the real artists, they must be embarrassed to have their work be in the same space as mine 3) Or (when they don't sell) If they can't sell their wonder work, how the hell I'm I going to ever get noticed. I'm outta here!....and so on with the stupid thinking.
Mike has said earlier: "Everyone has abstracts, so its hard to compete. Its like - no one wants to buy my sand grains, but you are on a beach full of sand grains" Wise words. So If I'm already feeling like my work isn't worthy, and I'm one in but a million grains of sand...yikes....
Again, I think that is the power of this place, maybe not as a beacon of capitalism, but a place to support one another. This thread has inspired and encouraged me, hearing all your insights.
Douglas: "what is a tough sell is botanical art, not sold any yet" Take a look at the list of top selling types above and yeah, it isn't on the list but who knows. I have hope for this for you :)
Wonderful. Very popular color combination. Never new how to create this type of work. Excellent. I thought it was interesting you mention selling on "decor". I did noticed (surprised myself since I'm the artist) that a number of my works looks awesome on the pillow, shower curtains, duvets. I actually bought a pillow of my own just because it looked so good in my room. Wonder if FAA has any connection to any of the designing firms?
Hi Ken, apologies for going off topic, but “a tough sell”, is despite a lot of marketing of my botanical art on SM i still have not sold a botanical image on any product. Botanical Art for me is sliding down my priority to promote list Lol.
I still love when the time allows creating botanical art though.
Douglas, the problem with selling botanical art is that everybody and his mother, siblings, and distant cousins twice removed does botanical art. I think the trick to selling it at all is to make it into something really eye-catching and entirely unique that makes it stand out from the hordes.
Actually, I think the most important aspect to nonfigurative abstracts are the colors and their combinations, but then again I'm ALL about colors and the way they work together to a point of obsession, so maybe that's just a me thing.
Interesting what you said about colors and color combination. I've heard that the great artists definitely obsessed about color, of course they created their colors from nature right? Nature does it perfect :) I still think it's difficult to quantify (probably ignorant about this I admit) why one person gravitates towards one abstract versus another - could be composition, color, light, balance, use of negative space, more digital, less digital,etc. BUT with figurative abstract or non abstracts, I think that is much easier. I once did a commissioned piece of abstract (perhaps more graphic arts in nature) for a client who loved NASCAR and wanted a specific car included. I could have created just about anything and he would have loved AS LONG AS he could recognize the car number. That's all I had to put in it was the car number! Because he recognized that element, the rest didn't matter. I think we've mentioned this a number of time already, but it may be that simple. People want to recognize and connect with something....and for many, perhaps, shapes and colors aren't enough? Though Susan's success seems to argue that point - hmmmm.
Like Douglas, I want to keep doing something I enjoy. So I won't give up abstract entirely, but I can lean more into objective Abstracts. Like this: A dock on a lake in abstract? Looked good as a duvet, so there's that :)
Ken: "I don't plan on changing that for the sake of sales - I do what I do because I love it. That said, I do dabble with other styles from time to time." My thoughts!
It seems to me that abstraction leads to sales. It’s good that I’ve been starting to like abstraction lately, maybe one day there will be something of me ;-)
All I can tell you is that the first thing I notice about anything is the color, and it's been that way since I was a kid. It doesn't have to be art. You can sell me just about anything if you make a version in purple.
Source: I have a purple pool table and a purple mini fridge. I may also have issues.
My inner code keeps me on the path of algorithmic abstraction. I take an occasional holiday in the objective world, but the pull of code and 34 years as a systems engineer is irresistible. In the end we have to be true to our calling. The internet has allowed my work to be seen around the globe. All done without bending to the whims of a gallery to ‘represent’ me (themself). For this I am grateful. As I said earlier, any sales are a side effect, nice to have, but not essential. Put “revad art” into any search engine and view the listed images, and you will have found my true gallery. I occasionally lose sight of this, but it really is the space for my outcomes.
Abstract is probably my favorite style of photography. The results are unpredictable and completely unique and they inspire the imagination. As L A said, the longer you look, the more you might see. Sales-wise, I have only sold a couple. Even so, I wouldn't stop creating them because I enjoy them and am convinced there's a market out there. Somewhere.
"Pure" Abstraction ! It's a challenge, yes! And oddly enough, three of mine, so-called 'pure' , just sold, to my utter astonishment, and/but, I think overall, semi-abstracts sell best. I stopped painting, by necessity, but found 'pure' abstraction the answer for my "evocative" personal expression, and, b/c I don't 'promote' elsewhere/anywhere, I just keep on keeping on, for my own answers to my own emotions.
Terry: " Even so, I wouldn't stop creating them because I enjoy them and am convinced there's a market out there. Somewhere." I sure hope so. Then again, there are so many, boundless versions of them. Hard to sift through it all. But like you. I love doing what I do.
VIVA: "And oddly enough, three of mine, so-called 'pure' , just sold, to my utter astonishment" Astonishment? Of course people would purchase, you're freaking VIVA Anderson, darling! LOL. There is no "oddly enough" about it.
I wonder if FAA has statistics on how many "Pure" abstract sell opposed to other forms? That be interesting to see. Not that it was change the way I approach my art entirely, but it would be something. I think it's obvious looking at the sell page what the numbers are, and they are not good for "pure" abstract artists out there. At least here on FAA.
Revad: "I take an occasional holiday in the objective world" me too, brother. More out of fun than anything else. In this instance, I wanted a piece of industrial art in my bedroom. There are a few artist who I think are exceptional and I'm going to have their work on my gallery wall, but for my space next to my desk, I wanted something I created, and an homage to Metheny, my favorite jazz musician. Hence, I got a bit objective and created this. BTW. This was the most time consuming and challenging work I've ever done to date. Over a hundred layers!
I still stand by the fact that abstraction sells the most here. Pure abstraction at most. Whenever I look in recent sales here it is, pure abstract! I guess different sales are shown to us on the home page. On the internet, I came across a comment that we are too congested with pure photography and that is why abstraction is the most sought after. It's nice to have a work that you stare at so much that you don't take your eyes off it for days to find out what's on it. And when the guests come then we have a topic to talk about. That's great for me! When the work of art is shrouded in mystery.
This is very interesting. It would seem we have a bit of a mystery. Either you are shown different sales than I do, or perhaps it's just when I look I see something different. I can tell you that I rarely see pure abstract on the sales page I see and I've only sold 2 in all my time here... So experience varies I guess. Strange.
Ya, I don't know what Davorka is looking at. I never see much pure abstract art on the recent sales page and when I do it's usually by one of two artists.
I just looked, out of the 50 images on the recent sales page I saw two pure abstracts, (though one could be said to resemble a landscape) and one of those was by one of those artists that almost always shows up on the sales page.
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