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Open Studios and Selling Your Artwork for a VW

Open Studios and Selling Your Artwork for a VW

"Night Crawler", 1997, Brad Slaugh, 14" x 11"

Valerie Atkisson / ArtBistro

Would you sell your work for a Volkswagen Bus? Find out how one artist chose to do so rather than make no sale at all. Selling your work out of your own studio is a common and often successful practice for many artists. What are the best practices for doing so? If you do not have a gallery affiliation or if your gallery allows you to do so, this is a great way to earn money and expose your work to more people.

Open Studio / Studio Visit

Many artists share a studio in a building with other artists. These communal artist studios typically have a collective open studio once or twice a year. The big open studio event can be a great opportunity to expose your work to other artists, curators and collectors. Other artists may work in a studio in their homes or in a studio apart from other artists. If you can find out when there are open studios in your area, it is a good idea to try to market your open studio with other artists or to schedule it for the same day and send out your invites so that you get more traffic. Other times you may meet with a collector privately in your studio. The best practices presented here can be applied to any open studio or studio visit situation.


Make sure that your studio is clean and orderly. Some artists like to have their materials out as if they are working; others like to make their studio as much like a gallery as possible.

Create identification for your work. You may want to create labels with the title, medium, size, and year completed next to the work of art or you can create a list of works that people can pick up and take around with them. If you want to sell the work it is a good idea to include the prices.

Keep an updated mailing list and create an invitation for the open studio as an email invitation or as a printed invitation. The invitation should look well designed. Make sure you have someone proofread it before sending it. Encourage your contacts to bring others to the open studio. You can also use ArtBistro or other social networking sites to announce your open studio.

A word about mailing lists: It is usually best practice to send the email to yourself and BCC (blind copy) everyone on your list when sending a mass email. That way people know that you have kept their email address private.

Supply some drink and/or food for the occasion to make the event special.

Photo credit: Brad Slaugh, “Running Out”, Oil on Canvas, 1997, 24″ × 36″

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