Xanadu Gallery’s second annual State of the Art Survey has just closed and we have begun tabulating the result. We would like to thank all of the 1,155 artists who participated (almost a 10% increase over last year). This year we can look at the responses to the questions, and we can compare them to last year’s results, which helps us begin to see long-term trends.
As always, it bears mention that our surveys are intended to be an informal check of the pulse of the art market for artists. The survey is not scientific – the survey group is voluntary, not randomized, and we’re not statisticians – but we feel the data obtained gives a good general sense of the art market.
We had a broad, geographically diverse group of artists participate in this year’s survey. While most respondents were inside the U.S., we had international participants as well.
|Mountain States U.S.
|East Coast U.S.
|Southern States U.S.
|New England U.S.
We also had artists from many media participate, though, once again, a majority of respondents were painters.
47 percent of our respondents listed themselves as part-time artists. 44 percent stated that they were full-time, but delving deeper into this number reveals that of those who listed themselves as full-time, 44.9% were producing fewer than 30 pieces per year and 38.7% were selling less than $10,000 worth of work per year. This would indicate that many self-reported full-time artists truly are “starving” or that they have a partner, spouse, or some other independent source of support. In a later post, we will look at this question from another perspective to see how many highly productive and high-selling artists are engaged full-time in their work.
Selling art isn’t easy, and our survey finds that most participants are struggling to gain traction with their sales. If you find yourself in this position, know that you are not alone, but also know that there are artists out there who have built a following for their work and are successfully selling.
This year, 43% of respondents reported that their sales were up over the previous year, and 28% indicated that sales held steady. 29% reported that sales were down. Comparing these results to last year’s responses when we found that 40% increased sales over the previous year, 26% held steady and 34% experienced a decrease, it would appear that the market is recovering and more artists are seeing sales growth. This reflects what we’ve seen in the gallery where our art sales (including online sales) were up by nearly a third year-over-year.
This year we again asked where artists would be putting their marketing efforts in the coming year. This time around we permitted respondents to select all of the efforts they would be undertaking. Nearly 3/4 of the respondents reported that they would be participating in art shows and festivals, while 68% said they would pursue further gallery representation.
We also asked how much artists are investing in advertising.
As a gallery, we’re always interested to see how many artists are showing in galleries, and of those represented by galleries, how many galleries they are showing in. In a forthcoming post we’ll delve deeper into this question to tease out how successful gallery artists are.
Perception of the Market
Once again we asked about artists’ perception of the health of the general market, and while the results improved somewhat over last year (10% more respondents think the market is improving), there is still a fair amount of pessimism about the near-future of the art market.
Outlook for Personal Sales
Again we found that artists are generally more pessimistic about the broad market than they are about their own success. When asked whether their own sales would rise, hold steady or decline, 70% felt their own sales would increase in 2013. This is 5% better than last year.
In our Next Post
This post gave you a general overview of the responses we received to the survey. Our next post will start to parse the details further, looking at what successful artists are doing to generate success and how marketing impacts sales.
Share Your Thoughts
Did the results of the Xanadu Gallery’s State of the Art Survey surprise you in any way? Do you have thoughts or questions about the survey? Leave your comments below.