Through having an art gallery in our restaurant the weird and constant struggle to sell art becomes apparent. As an artist my struggle is singular and personal so I enjoy having other artists work on the walls to see what sells and what doesn't and I watch customers when they walk around looking at the paintings to see what holds their interest. I remember Paula McNeil, an artist and friend, telling me once that you need a focal point/s to draw the viewer into the picture then you need to lead them around much as if you are telling them a story. Some paintings have a strong first visual impact but become bland after a few weeks whereas others with a 'story' or mystery continue to 'talk' for years.
One of the biggest influences is price. I had a studio clear out a month ago and reduced my $800 paintings down to $250 and sold seven. This tells me that at least people are happy to have my art on their walls. There is plenty of arguments against lowering the price such as maintaining a price that you think you are worth as a serious artist or working out a wage per hour plus materials but as most of the paintings sold to first time art buyers you are creating a whole new market of people who suddenly see the possibility of having original art on their walls and there is no better advertising.
Another big influence is that most buyers need to be vindicated that they are buying 'good' art. I know there are no rules about what is good or bad but if you are associated with a name gallery then in peoples' eyes you are a good artist because they (the gallery) should know the difference. Sculptor Johnny Turner who came to our first symposium 5 years ago and was selling for around $2000 is now selling similar works up to $20,000 through name galleries.
OK, so if a name gallery won't take me I'll have to find other ways to reassure the public I am a good artist.
Watch this space!