Selling Art Online and the 80/20 rule.

The Art of The 80/20 rule.

What is the 80/20 rule you might ask? It is also known as the Pareto principle. It simply states that 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. This is recognized in all facets of life. Generally speaking 20% of the population makes 80% of the income. As Woody Allen said 80% of success is showing up.

When talking about computers 80% of the people use 20% of the features on any given software like Photoshop or Windows. In the business world 20% of the employees are responsible for 80% of the results. It also suggests that 20% of your clients will give you 80% of your income.

Now let’s talk about the art world. 20% of the art created over the years accounts for 80% of the value. Think about it how many Van Gogh’s, Gustav Klimt’s, Renoir’s and Picasso’s make up 80% of the value of the art market while 80% of the artists sell art at a fraction of the price.

Sell your Art using the 80/20 Rule.

Take a look at the popular print on demand sites and you will notice the same names always at the top of the most popular lists. Artists like Cat Coquillette and Andreas Lie have dominated the top of the charts for years now. Clearly 20% of the artists sell 80% of the products on these sites. I can vouch for the fact that on artzillu.com 20% of the products make up 80% of the sales.

This rule will also work for your individual artwork. A relatively small amount of effort on one or two pieces compared to the effort you put in your whole career will account for most of your sales.  Every artist has a best selling item or two that makes them get noticed.

You should take the theme that made you get noticed and do more of it. Wonderful artists like Elisabeth Fredricksson and Project M Gallery chose the geometric theme to make a ton of art and I assume a bunch of money. I would assume that 80% their income is derived from this narrow idea of geometric patterns taken to its limits.

Income from Selling your Art using the 80/20 rule.

So to sum it up be kind to those 20% of your customers who buy your work because they will account for 80% of your income. Remember that to stick with what works because only 20% of your art will sell significantly while 80% of what you create will only generate 20% of your revenue.

To take it a step further you can divide the 20% into the 80/20 rule.  Within every 20% is another 80/20 division. This means only 4% of your work is really accounting for the bulk of your sales!! So you have to find something that works and run with it.

That is how you find identity. Picasso was a great realism painter very early on in his career but he didn’t stick with it. Once he found himself and placed eyeballs in strange places the sales started to role in. He didn’t go back to painting realism. He stuck with the 4% of his art that really worked and built a BRAND. He was then identified by his art.

Building a brand is very important when building a business in the United States. Another name for brand is identity and another name for identity is that 4% of your artwork that everyone recognizes because it generates the majority of your sales.


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