The Truth about What Kind of Art Sells Best (2023)

Stop worrying and wondering about what kind of art sells best.


Researching to discover what the best selling art subjects are wastes your time. More importantly, if you are using the information to slavishly mimic another artist, it can rob you of your creativity and dignity. That said, there are many reasons why artists might want to learn about what kind of art sells best.

Humans are curious creatures.

It is inevitable and unstoppable that human nature and curiosity will inspire artists to want to know about the best selling art subjects. If you are one who worries about this and spends time researching bestselling art data, then you need to ask yourself why.

What is your motivation to learn about what kind of art sells best? If it is just curiosity and a brief distraction, there probably is no harm. It might just be somewhat helpful. On the other hand, if you are obsessed about bestselling art categories, or think you need to know the answers to help you decide what kind of art to make, then, in my humble opinion, you have a problem.

What is your problem?

If your motivation is to know about what kind of art is selling best these days so you can make art just like it, this is not a smart idea for your art career. It quite likely means you may have acquired some practical art making skills, but are lacking in imagination, or don’t trust what you have.

(Video) What Art Sells - Types of subjects and mediums that sell the best.

If the art you currently produce is not selling well, you might find yourself using research to find bestselling art subjects. If that is the case, you may inadvertently overlook other reasons why your art is not selling.

Granted, it could be your subject matter or style does not appeal to buyers. In this case, changing things up will help. As the Chinese proverb says, “When business is bad, paint the counter.”

Asking the right question is paramount.

The question you need to ask before you quit your current style and subject matter is, “Have I done enough of the right kind of marketing to give my art exposure to my best prospects?” Is it that your art sucks, or that your marketing sucks? Only you can answer this question, and you need to be honest with yourself about it.

If your marketing sucks, you cannot fix poor art sales by changing what kind of art you make. You will still have the same problem of not having enough eyeballs from your best prospects on your work.

It is a simple equation; the only way to sell your art is showing it to lots of the right people.

(Video) What Kind Of Art Sells? - Tips For Artists

Determine your problem, then take action.

If your art is stacking up in your studio, and your marketing is stuck in the wrong places, is unfocused, or not applied diligently and regularly, you have a marketing problem, not necessarily an art subject matter problem.

Let’s assume your marketing is sufficient, and your work is not selling. That is a compelling reason to recalibrate. Here are some aspects of your art creation selections to re-evaluate:

  • Subject matter.
  • Prices.
  • Color schemes.
  • Media.
  • Sizes.

When you have these things in harmony, you will have the greatest success. You can get by with some of them being not as correct as possible and still have measurable success, many artists do. Still, the more you are in the pocket with these, the better your results will be.

Some of these things are difficult to study easily. It takes time to fiddle with each of these important aspects of your art career. They are worth the effort to gain the wisdom.

This is where research can truly help you.

There is nothing wrong with having a bead on what other successful artists are doing with each of the above listed categories. Actually, you are encouraged to gain as much intel about these factors as possible. Bestselling artists usually make smart, informed decisions based on what is happening in the art business around them

(Video) TOP-8❗ Which Art Sells Best in 2021/2022? (Part 1)

If you try to learn about what kind of art sells best to fill in some blanks your art career knowledge base, you are on the right track. If you are using this research so you can make art just like what is selling best, it is likely you have put your creativity away, or just don’t trust it, or that you do not have any. In all cases such as these, you are aiming for second best, or worst.

Copying another artist’s work is quite often illegal copyright infringement.

This happens a lot, way too much, in fact. An artist will come up with a unique look or style and start enjoying conspicuous success with it. Soon, other artists take notice and start copying the style. Some copy so closely they are infringing on the copyrights of the original artist. Read Joshua Kaufman’s “Print-on-Demand and Copyright” article in the January issue of Art World News. You may be surprised to learn that what you think is borrowing is actually illegal use of another artist’s copyright.

Other artists may use the realization the original artist’s subject matter is hot and choose to make art to cash in on it, as well. This is why you see trends in subject pop up. Whether it is angels or pin-up girls, or poker and cigars, trends emerge and fall. There most often is a fine line between what some call “creative borrowing” and illegally copying. If you are not sure of where you stand, or are unaware, it will not hold up as a defense in lawsuit against you.

If we all liked the same thing all the time, life would be boring.

You will find art print publishers all tend to follow their competitors. They have no choice. They are responding the requests of their volume buyers to get them some the latest fantastic looking art with angels as the subject matter. All, but the strongest trends have a shelf life. The buying public loses interest, just as they do with interior design, fashion and music.

Here is the stark truth about what kind of art sells best.

If your interest lies in wanting to make sure you include the colors that match contemporary decor trends, or you want to pay homage to certain trending subject matter, or that you are offering prices, sizes and media that the public wants, then bully for you. You are using research wisely.

(Video) The Surprising Truth About Selling Art Online

If you are using your research to find top selling art so you can slavishly copy it, then that is a terrible thing. It is unhealthy for your career, probably dangerous for your reputation, ruinous for your self-esteem and hurtful for the artists you choose to copy.

No one can own a category, style, subject matter, or look.

It is true some art subject matters are so popular that many artists enjoy considerable success with it. For instance, the late Marty Bell had extraordinary success with a line of romantic cottages based on earlier works by English artists. Then the late Thomas Kinkade borrowed the subject matter and took it to unparalleled print sales success.

The California artist, George Sumner, reportedly is the father of the still popular “over and under” marine wildlife-painting genre. However, it was Robert Lyn Nelson, Wyland, and Christian Riese Lassen who benefited from employing the subject matter technique into their work. It takes a studied eye in many cases to identify which artist painted some images. Nevertheless, they all made millions working in the genre.

Here is my take on researching for what kind of art sells best.

You might be so smitten by the idea of painting cottages, whales or angels that you are compelled to make the subject the theme of your work. Surely, you will not be the first artist that has done so. Moreover, if you do, that is okay.

What I suggest is using the influence of those before you who have taken the genre to a new level. When the Rolling Stones covered the Robert Johnson blues masterpiece “Love in Vain”, they put in a country rock-tinged flavor to it and remade it into something unique to the band. The result was they created their own distinctive masterpiece.

(Video) I Made Bad Abstract Art and Sold It For $____

If you choose to use your research to understand what kind of art sells best to imitate it in a way that confuses art buyers, which I strongly urge you not to do, then I suggest you do not publish your real name on the piece. That way, you keep the knockoff entirely phony from start to finish.

If the above describes you, and you are selling work that looks almost identical to the original artist’s work, then I suggest you look into using your skills in other ways. Try reading this recent post titled “20 Art-related Career Alternatives to a Full-time Art Career.” It just may be a better way to manage your artistic talents and regain your dignity.


What kind of art sells best 2022? ›

The Ten Art Trends to Look Out For in 2022 Are:
  1. Virtual Art Events. The trend for virtual art has seen an exponential boost from the Covid-19 pandemic. ...
  2. 3D Motion Graphic Design. ...
  3. Crypto Art. ...
  4. Street Art. ...
  5. Art Outdoors. ...
  6. Appreciation for Nature. ...
  7. Contemporary African Art. ...
  8. Neon At Home.
9 Nov 2021

How do I know my art is good enough to sell? ›

But just because people aren't buying your work doesn't mean your work is not good enough to sell. If you are getting validation in the form of likes, comments, and followers, you are good enough to be selling your work.

What is the truth of art? ›

The truth expressed by an artwork is not a scientific, historical or philosophical truth, but rather, an experiential or imaginative truth – art makes truth real to the imagination.

What type of art is in demand right now? ›

Abstract, contemporary, and modern art are the most popular styles of interior design. Media like sculptures, paintings, photographs, prints, and drawings are also trendy right now.

What kind of art is trending in 2022? ›

The company's findings show that the most popular art styles in 2022 are expected to be abstract (54%), followed by contemporary (48%) and modern (42%) while 48% of designers indicating they anticipate an increase in use of sculpture.

What kind of art are people buying 2022? ›

Some Types of Art Are Perennial Bestsellers.

Landscapes. Florals. Local scenes. Contemporary abstract landscapes.

What piece of art sells the highest price? ›

This is a list of the highest known prices paid for paintings. The current record price is approximately US$450.3 million (which includes commission), paid for Leonardo da Vinci's Salvator Mundi ( c. 1500).

What is the most sold thing in 2022? ›

Top Trending Niches of 2022
  • Shapewear.
  • Travel accessories.
  • Healthy and beauty products.
  • Smart watches.
  • Health Care.
  • Skin Care.
  • Hobbies and Craft.
  • Lamps and Shades.
25 Aug 2022

What makes a piece of art worth money? ›

An artwork's provenance, the documented history of who it has belonged to, is a huge determining factor in its value. For example, if a painting was once owned by a celebrity, a prominent collector, or perhaps a respected gallery, it will certainly attract higher offers when put on sale.

How do you decide what art to raise in value? ›

Art Talks | How to buy art that will increase in value
  1. Buy something you love. Art is a long-term investment so I'd only ever advise people buy artwork they really like. ...
  2. Signed by the artist. ...
  3. Originals. ...
  4. First editions. ...
  5. Deviations. ...
  6. Iconic. ...
  7. Controversial / political. ...
  8. Notoriety.
30 Jan 2018

How do you determine the value of art? ›

To get the square inches of a painting, multiply the width of the work by the length. Next, multiply this number by a dollar amount that makes sense for your reputation and credentials. Then round to the nearest hundred. Finally, double the cost of your materials and add it to the square inch dollar amount.

How does art express truth? ›

The artist has an intention to send a message to the audience. This message is based on the artist's cultural and personal beliefs and experiences and thereby is a relative or subjective truth.

What said art is the imitation of the truth? ›

Plato and Aristotle spoke of mimesis as the re-presentation of nature. According to Plato, all artistic creation is a form of imitation: that which really exists (in the “world of ideas”) is a type created by God; the concrete things man perceives in his existence are shadowy representations of this ideal type.

What did Oscar Wilde say about art? ›

As he notoriously claimed in the preface to his dark novel The Picture of Dorian Gray, “All art is quite useless.” Wilde believed that art need not express anything but itself. He put the value on artistry above anything else and regarded life as a kind of art form, to be lived beautifully.

What is the easiest art to sell? ›

1. Landscape Paintings. Many people think that landscape painting is the most quintessential kind of art. After all, the landscape is universal: Everyone understands and appreciates a long view, so it's an easy choice for a buyer.

What kind of art are Millennials buying? ›

About 42% of both Millennials and Baby Boomers prefer Impressionist art, topping other art genres such as Old Masters, Asian art, Modern art and Contemporary art.

What art would people buy? ›

The most popular art subjects have generic themes and include traditional landscape painting, local scenery, and local landmarks. Seascapes do well, as do animals and figurative work. Art buyers like paintings with a background and composed with a distinct focal point.

What is the biggest trend right now 2022? ›

The Fall 2022 Trends Vogue Editors Are Shopping Now
  • Ultra-Baggy Denim. Balenciaga cotton baggy jeans. ...
  • Leather Jackets: The Epitome of Cool. ...
  • Punk Prep. ...
  • Saturated and Strokable Knits. ...
  • Bigger, Better Bomber Jackets. ...
  • The White-Tank-and-Blue-Jean Formula. ...
  • Floor-Skimming Hemlines. ...
  • Tailored Waistcoats.
19 Aug 2022

How do you make money selling art? ›

7 Different Ways To Earn Money With Your Artwork
  1. Sell Original Artwork.
  2. Sell Art Prints.
  3. Sell At An Art Fair.
  4. Make use of Instagram's shop tool.
  5. Open An Etsy Store For Your Art.
  6. Offer The Option Of Commissions.
  7. Licence Your Artwork.
  8. Making Money As An Artist Is A Process.

Is art a good investment 2022? ›

Investing in art is a good way to diversify your investment portfolio. However, it's best to invest in this asset if art is something you truly love. That's because art investment can be quite risky and usually requires a lot of research.

What is a good price to sell art? ›

Multiply the painting's width by its length to arrive at the total size, in square inches. Then multiply that number by a set dollar amount that's appropriate for your reputation. I currently use $6 per square inch for oil paintings. Then calculate your cost of canvas and framing, and then double that number.

Who sets the price of an artwork? ›

The price of the an artwork can be set by the artist, gallerist, or art dealer.

What is the number 1 selling item in the world? ›

The most sold item in the world is clothing and fashion items. This ranges from women and men's outfits to children's clothing, shoes, accessories, and more. People love their clothes, and fashion isn't going anywhere!

What is easy to make and sell? ›

13 Easy Things To Make and Sell
  • Sweet Treats. Cookies and candies and cakes, oh my! ...
  • T-shirts. If you're not exceptionally creative, t-shirts may be the ideal things to make and sell. ...
  • Bath Bombs. People love artisan bath bombs. ...
  • Candles. ...
  • Jewelry. ...
  • Subscription Boxes. ...
  • Enamel Pins. ...
  • Lip Balm.
4 Jan 2022

What things are in demand right now? ›

12 high-demand trending products and niches of 2022
  • Clothing. The clothing industry is a big business, valued at $12 billion. ...
  • Skin care and beauty. Skin care and beauty products are having a moment. ...
  • Shoes. ...
  • Cleaning products. ...
  • Items for pets. ...
  • Coffee products. ...
  • Subscription orders. ...
  • Device protectors.
19 Oct 2022

Is art a talent or skill? ›

Art is both a talent and also something that you can learn.

There are people who can do art very well without going to school, and that's what we can say it is a talent and on the other hand there are schools that teach art in which you can develop great skills by learning.

Why do some paintings sell for so much? ›

The reason that paintings are so expensive is that each art piece is wholly original and unique. There can be no other exact copy. Even the painter would be unable to make it again. The paint may not mix exactly, the sunlight might affect the paint in some way, even the drying process can change how the paint looks.

Are acrylic paintings valuable? ›

Acrylic paintings can be extremely valuable, but when it comes to assessing the worth of an acrylic painting, there are a few key factors to consider.

What is the most important value in art? ›

Value in art is essentially how light or dark something is on a scale of white to black (with white being the highest value and black being the lowest value). It is widely considered to be one of the most important variables to the success of a painting, even more so than your selection of color (hue).

How much should I charge for my acrylic paintings? ›

New artists and those looking to break into the market may wish to start with a slightly lower multiplier than $1 per square inch. Well-known artists, those already in demand, can charge significantly more. To work out your price by the square inch, multiply the length by the width of your painting.

Is art a good investment? ›

This question really depends on your personal investment goals. Like stocks and bonds, art can increase in value. If an up-and-coming artist goes on to a successful career, the cash value of their work will skyrocket. An Art Basel annual report estimates global art market sales reached over $65 billion in 2021.

› defining-the-value-of-art-27673 ›

The concept of “value” is at issue in numerous art disputes, often to calculate the measure of damages for lost, stolen or damaged artwork. Understanding how va...
Q: I need to know how much my art is worth. Can you help? It's supposed to be valuable according the gallery I bought it from, but I'm having lots of tr...
It may be difficult for an inexperienced collector to understand why a personally beloved piece is valued relatively low, but the appraisal is not to be taken i...

What type of art is the most popular? ›

Pop Art is perhaps one of the most well-known and well-loved art styles throughout history and for good reason. It is, after all, a reimagination of sorts that “popped up” and took inspiration from mass or popular culture, particularly American consumerist culture, hence the name.

What piece of art sells the highest price? ›

This is a list of the highest known prices paid for paintings. The current record price is approximately US$450.3 million (which includes commission), paid for Leonardo da Vinci's Salvator Mundi ( c. 1500).

What kind of art do people like to buy? ›

The most popular art subjects have generic themes and include traditional landscape painting, local scenery, and local landmarks. Seascapes do well, as do animals and figurative work. Art buyers like paintings with a background and composed with a distinct focal point.

What type of art sells best on Etsy? ›

Original Paintings – Original paintings will probably have the highest profit margin because they can be sold for more money than most other types of artwork. However, many potential buyers can not afford a high-ticket item but are still interested in purchasing artwork for their home.

What art medium sells best? ›

A survey carried out by Art Business Today identified the following to be the painting media that sell best:
  • Limited-edition offset-litho prints.
  • Limited-edition giclée prints.
  • Open-edition offset-litho prints.
  • Oil and acrylic paintings.
  • Watercolours.
  • Artists' original prints (e.g. etchings and engravings)

What is a good price to sell art? ›

Multiply the painting's width by its length to arrive at the total size, in square inches. Then multiply that number by a set dollar amount that's appropriate for your reputation. I currently use $6 per square inch for oil paintings. Then calculate your cost of canvas and framing, and then double that number.

How do you sell expensive art? ›

Next, choose an audience that will understand the value of your piece
  1. Discover Potential Buyers. If possible, start with the artist or where you bought the piece. ...
  2. Sell through an Auction House. ...
  3. Sell in a Gallery. ...
  4. Understand the Contract. ...
  5. Choosing the Right Vendor.


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