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How Do Artists Make Money?

How Do Artists Make Money?

Valerie Atkisson | ArtBistro

Out of Studio

Many artists sell their work out of their studio by arranged visits or open studios arranged with other artists. If you are represented by a gallery, that agreement may extend to “studio sales” or all sales of your work. If you do not have a formal relationship with a gallery, you obviously retain 100% of the sale.

READ: How can you get the most out of open studios?


More artists are selling their work online. Any commission from an online website would be determined by the terms of use contract that you agreed to. Different sites charge a different percentage of a commission. Anywhere between 1-5% is normal; 10% is on the high end.

READ: Best Practices for Selling Work Online.

Private Commissions

Artists will do work on a commission basis. If collectors want a personalized work of art like a portrait, they will commission an artist. The artist sets the price and usually asks for a percentage of the price up front.

If you have a formal relationship with a gallery, they will likely take a cut of any commissioned work that they bring to you. Terms of commissions will be stated in your contract. Artists who do a lot of commission work have been interviewed to give you.

READ: Best Practices for Making Commission Work

Next Page: Public Commissions →

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