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Top 7 Art Business Models in 2024

Top 7 Art Business Models in 2023

The top seven business models for artists are:

  1. Commissions for private or public clients

  2. Event Artist services

  3. Selling original artworks

  4. Selling prints and merchandise

  5. Licensing images of your art

  6. Teaching workshops locally or online and writing a book

  7. Becoming a Creator on YouTube, Patreon, or Kickstarter

The majority of artists incorporate a mix of these business models in their art businesses.

Let's take a closer look at each one:

  1. Commissions: This model involves artists creating artwork on commission for clients. This can be a good way to make money from specific projects, or to build relationships with clients. You can get private or public art commissions:

  • Private art commissions are when individuals or corporate clients contact an artist to create a custom artwork for them. Private art commissions typically range in cost from $1,000 to $15,000, but may go higher depending on the project's size, style, and level of detail.

To break into private art commissions with ease, sign up for these two paid Masterclasses: Getting Commissioned Projects and Working on Commissions.

And, if you'd like to learn how much to charge for commissioned artworks, murals, and digital art, sign up for our free masterclass: Pricing Commissioned Projects.

  • Public art commissions are when city or state organizations hire an artist or a group of artists to create an artwork for a public space. These can be anything from murals on buildings, sculptures in parks, and artwork installations in hospitals, schools, etc. Public art commissions typically range in cost from $1,000 to $50,000, but may go much higher depending on the project's size, style, and level of detail.

To break into public art commissions, apply to calls-for-art from local agencies. To find calls-for-art, check out CAFE and this Calls-for-art by region guide from Artwork Archive.

2. Event Artist: An Event Artist creates art live at events such as weddings, corporate events, festivals, and other special occasions. Event artists usually charge between $500 and $10,000 per event, but may charge more. The event project cost may vary based on the event size, client's budget, location, materials, and the artist's popularity.

If you'd like to learn how to become an Event Artist, read this article.

3. Selling Originals: In this model, artists sell their original artworks directly to collectors. You can accomplish this through your website, galleries, online marketplaces, or art fairs:

  • Having an attractive artist website optimized for Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is essential to your success. Your website's purpose is to showcase your art, services, and invite people to work with you and buy from you.

  • Galleries typically take a commission on sales that may range from 20% - 50%. They can also provide artists with exposure and marketing opportunities. For emerging artists, the price range for artworks represented by a gallery is $2,000 - $5,000. For a more established mid-career artists, the price range is typically $3,000 and $10,000, but may go higher depending on the size, medium, and the artist's popularity.

  • Online Art marketplaces artists can be a great place to list your art for sale. Keeping consistent prices across all platforms where you list your art for sale is important because it helps build trust with your buyers. Some platforms allow you to sell not only original artworks, but also prints using their print-on-demand feature. Read our article about Top 5 places to sell your art online.

  • Art fairs typically charge an application fee to artists who wish to participate in the event. The fee for participating in the fair can range from $35 to $100, but may go higher depending on the fair. This fee covers the costs of organizing and promoting the fair, and provides artists with a platform to display their work.

4. Selling Prints & Merchandise: One of the most efficient ways to sell prints and merchandise is through a print on demand platform. The price range for prints starts at $15 and can go up to $1,000+ for larger framed pieces. Merchandise includes items like home decor, stationery, clothing, etc. that feature art.

5. Licensing: This model involves artists allowing others to use their artwork in exchange for a fee. Grab our Art Licensing Royalty Rates guide to know what fees to charge for different things.

  • This can include things like using artwork on merchandise, in advertising, or in other commercial applications. To break into the field of licensing with ease, take our Licensing Your Art masterclass. In addition to licensing, a newer way to sell creative assets is:

  • NFT's: A non-fungible token (NFT) is a unique digital asset that is stored on a blockchain that can be bought and sold with cryptocurrency on online marketplaces. To learn more about NFT's read this article.

6. Teaching: Teaching workshops locally or online, and writing a book. Teaching art classes can be a great way to make money and share your love of art with others.

  • Classes: Teach classes locally or online.

  • Book: You can also write a book, publish it as a pdf, and sell it as a download on your website. In this case, you get 100% of revenue from the book sales.

  • Membership: This involves artists charging subscribers a monthly or annual fee for access to exclusive tutorials or products.

In addition to these more traditional models, one more has emerged.

7. Creator: This involves becoming a creator on one of these popular platforms:

  • Youtube creator: Having your own channel that you can monetize can be a great way to grow your fans and collectors. Currently, to start earning money from YouTube, channel creators must have 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 watch hours in the past year. You can also sell merchandise, membership, and some other features.

  • Patreon creator: This platform allows you to generate a consistent income stream through recurring monthly pledges from your patrons. You can also sell membership tiers, original artworks, prints, and merchandise to your patrons. This can be a good way to generate a steady stream of income, and to build a close relationship with your fans.

  • Kickstarter project creator: This is a crowdfunding platform that allows artists to raise money for specific projects. This can be a good way to fund new work, or to reach a wider audience.

To summarize, the seven models listed above fall within the four main categories of business models:

  1. Services (Commissions and Event Artist services)

  2. Products (Original artworks, Prints, and Merchandise)

  3. Intellectual property (Licensing and NFT's)

  4. Knowledge (Teaching locally or online, writing a book, and becoming a Creator on Youtube, Patreon, or Kickstarter).

All the models listed above can be effective ways to make money from your art. The best art business model for you will depend on your vision. Figure out your unique vision of success for your art business with this checklist.

I hope this helps you choose the art business model that is right for you!

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PS: If you liked this post, then you may also like our guide - The 3 easy steps to improve your Art business revenue. Grab it while it's free!


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