Make Suggestions for Xanadu Gallery's 2014 State of the Art Survey

[UPDATE: Survey now Live] What Questions Would you Like to See in Xanadu Gallery’s 2014 State of the Art Survey?

by Jason Horejs on 01/01/2014 · 34 comments

UPDATE: The survey is now live at


It’s time for Xanadu Gallery’s annual State of the Art Survey. Early next week we will launch our third annual survey where we take the pulse of the art industry and get a sense of the art business climate. This year, I would like to give you the opportunity to have input on the questions for the survey. Is there a metric you would like to see us survey this year? Is there a detail of the business you would like to have us tease out? Please post your question suggestions in the comments below.

The survey will consist primarily of multiple-choice questions, and, ideally, questions will apply to a broad base of artists regardless of medium, subject matter or style. It would be helpful if, in addition to your question, you could suggest the multiple-choice answers as well.

In the interest of making the survey manageable, we have to limit the number of questions. We won’t be able to include all of the suggested questions, but your input will help us make the survey better.

Here are the questions from last year that will also be included in this year’s survey. Feel free to suggest revisions to the questions or their answers as well as suggesting your own questions. Thanks for your input!


Preview | State of the Art Survey Questions for 2014

Do not answer the questions here – preview only – watch for the survey announcement beginning 1/6/14 for the live survey.

1. How professionally engaged are you in your art?

I am a full time professional artist (Almost all of my income comes from sales of my art)

I devote part of my time to my art, but have another job/career to help make ends meet

Art is a hobby more than a profession

2. Where do you reside?

Pacific U.S.

Mountain States U.S.

Midwest U.S.

East Coast U.S.

Southern States U.S.

New England U.S.



Central America

South America


Other (please specify)

*3. What is your primary medium?




Digital Art

Fine Art Jewelry

Textile Art

Conceptual Art




Other (please specify)

*4. How much art did you sell in 2013 (Gross sales)









Under $4,900

*5. How did your 2013 sales compare to your 2012 sales?

My sales increased in 2013

My sales decreased in 2013

My sales remained about the same in 2013 as 2012

*6. How many original works of art did you create in 2013 (not including prints or other reproductions)























*7. How did your productivity in 2013 compare to 2012

I produced more art in 2013

I produced less art in 2013

I produced about the same in 2013 as 2012

8. What will your marketing efforts for 2013 include (Select as many as you wish)?

Approaching galleries to secure additional representation for my work

Participating in art shows and festivals

Studio tours

Direct sales to past customers

Magazine advertisements

Direct mail marketing

Other (please specify)

9. How many galleries are currently representing your work?














10. How much did you directly invest in advertising in 2013 (magazine ads, online ads, direct mail, etc)?











11. What is your perception of the health of the art market?

The market is improving

The market is holding steady

The market is declining

12. What is your outlook for sales in 2014?

Sales should increase over 2013

Sales should remain the same as 2013

Sales will probably decline from 2013

Post your comments and suggestions for the upcoming survey in the comments below

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Jason Horejs is the Owner of Xanadu Gallery, author of best selling books "Starving" to Successful & How to Sell Art , publisher of, and founder of ARTsala. Jason has helped thousands of artists prepare themselves to more effectively market their work, build relationships with galleries and collectors, and turn their artistic passion into a viable business.

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{ 34 comments… read them below or add one }

Alfred Bruey January 1, 2014 at 1:45 pm

Could public art be mentioned in any category in question 3 or as a separate question?


Flora January 1, 2014 at 2:05 pm

I would really like to see both gross and net sales, though a lot of us won’t figure that out until tax time. Perhaps an estimate of net sales, anyway. And a clarification – are gross sales before any gallery commission is taken?


Diana Tripp January 3, 2014 at 11:35 am

I ditto this


Gary P. Carver January 1, 2014 at 2:20 pm

The survey questions seem to focus on the artists, what they are doing now to promote and sell their art, and how they perceive their prospects for 2014. It is more about “state of the artists” as opposed to “state of the art world.”
If this is truly a “state of the art survey,” it should include questions about how artists perceive their options. For example, are art galleries taking in too many low-priced trinkets vs. real original artwork, are art shows becoming craft shows by accepting too many low quality, low priced vendors, are there too many shows, are promoters not advertising enough, what can an artist do to increase sales in this economic environment, etc. Ask question on what artists think can be done to improve the “state of the art” and increase artists’ market share.
It would be valuable to get artists’ views on how the whole art scene can be marketed better to average customers, perhaps customers who don’t appreciate original artwork and don’t understand that buying colorful made-in-China junk from Walmart and Target is not smart when there are so many American artists creating creative original art here in the United States.
Instead of focusing on the artists, I believe you would be better off serving the artists’ needs and focusing on how the art scene and art sales opportunities can be expanded and promoted. Try to solicit information from successful artists that can inspire other artists.
You have an opportunity here and I hope you don’t waste it by collecting data that is not instructive to artists and how they can better promote their financial opportunities.


Robert Albrecht January 3, 2014 at 4:32 pm

Tend to agree with Gary here. Although it is nice to know about other artists it is more important (at least to me) to know where everyone sees buying trends going. Since I live in a more remote area are online art galleries going to become stronger in the marketplace? What about Digital Art…is it increasing in popularity or not being accepted as an art form? Are there any “collectors” really seriously looking to purchase art online?

Just some ideas but information that could be useful to many of us since marketing exposure via the internet is becoming more important but there are also many avenues that seem to be a waste of time…what are artist’s thoughts about this?


Catherine Newhart January 1, 2014 at 3:00 pm

Questions I would like answered:

1. When we are applying for shows that want a pix of our “booth”, what are we to do if we do not yet have a booth display to submit?
I photoshopped a proposed one, but am concerned that it won’t be acceptable because it is photoshopped. If i can attach it to this email, I will.

2. When we participate in shows out of our local area and make sales, how do we handle payment of sales taxes?

3. Do you know of any insurance available for artists who have entered a show and there are unusual circumstances, like a tornado or?? and there is damage or the show doesn’t materialize? I am now considering participating in steet and other venues this year and recently read about a storm destroying several pop up booths at a show.

Happy New Year.

P. S. With your written permission, I will be quoting your book Starving to Successful at my talk at SCAIR on January 9th.
Wishing you and yours a blessed and bliss filled 2014.


Christy Olsen January 1, 2014 at 3:27 pm

I would like to know how many artist’s approached galleries for representation in 2013.

How many new galleries did you approach in 2013 for gallery representation?
0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, etc.


Jean M. Judd January 1, 2014 at 3:52 pm

Could question #6 be clarified with “How many original works of art did you create FOR SALE in 2013 (not including prints or other reproductions)” and then another question added in “How many original works of art did you create ON COMMISSION in 2013″.

I think that there are some artists who end up creating more work on a commission basis than they do for general sale in galleries or on their own web sites. I know this has been the case for myself in the last few years as my commission work has been larger in time requirement so my general sales artwork has had to take a back seat to the commission work, so my number for question #6 is always lower than it would be if I was creating artworks strictly for direct selling.


Joyce Wynes January 1, 2014 at 5:21 pm

Along with how much sales an artist had for the year, I would like to know their average price for their art or range from lowest to highest that they sell their work for. Some one might have made $20,000 in sales but their art sells for $100/canvas. So I just feel it is a good indicator of where the buying public’s comfort price is and if cheaper priced work is selling more readily than the more expensive art.


Julie Bernstein Engelmann January 1, 2014 at 5:55 pm

1. Add choice:
I am a full time professional artist, but more of my income comes from prof’l activities (e.g. teaching, judging shows) than from art sales

8. Add 2 choices:
Emails to your list of followers
Social media

New question:
Did you earn more income from art sales to your own contacts or through galleries?
More direct sales income
More gallery sales income
About the same


Julie Bernstein Engelmann January 2, 2014 at 3:31 pm

Revision to my “new question” above:
Regarding your art sales income in 2013, did you earn more from selling to your own contacts or from selling through galleries?
All of my art sales income was from direct sales
I earned more from selling art directly than through galleries
About the same
I earned more from selling art through galleries than directly
Almost all of my art sales income came through galleries


Nancy Dean January 1, 2014 at 8:24 pm

I’ve not worked out the question/s but would like to see why galleries don’t take more watercolors or feature them, when they could do a lot for the watercolorists among us and probably increase gallery sales. Many people really like watercolors but are challenged to find good/interesting ones.


Jillian January 1, 2014 at 8:51 pm

Hi Jason,

Thank you for your very informative publications on the art market. In relation to the survey, knowing whether respondents are emerging or established could be useful. For example, if an artist makes and sells more art in 2013 compared to 2012, this might be because of art market conditions or it might be that they first entered the market in 2011 or 2012.



Linda Slade January 2, 2014 at 5:29 am

I would like to know when artists feel it’s the right time to approach galleries out of their own area – and whether it’s possible to submit work without actually going to the gallery first. I’ve done a few reccies in galleries out of my Cornish, UK area – but then don’t follow through.

Also Whether artists submit work which would hang well together – or whether there is a case for a slight indication of variety.


carrie jacobson January 2, 2014 at 6:01 am

Hi, Jason – Thank you for doing this. I’ve participated over the past few years in a similar survey, and love that you are taking this in a different direction.

Here are questions I’d add:

How many original works of art did you sell?
What was the average price?
What percentage of your income derives from:
art shows
online sales
sales in your own studio

I might be interested to see “Online sales” broken down even further, into, for instance, your own blog, Facebook, art-inventory sites like ArtSala or FASO, auction and sales sites like Daily Paintworks or eBay

Thank you so much for the work you do with artists, for the mentorship program and the other online discussions you’ve hosted, and for the ideas in your book. I’ve gotten a lot of valuable information and insight from you, and I do appreciate it.


Julie Bernstein Engelmann January 2, 2014 at 3:37 pm

Great idea to break down which art sites people are selling through (and how much $), or have that be a write-in.


Denise T. Armstrong January 2, 2014 at 6:17 am

Dear Jason,
I have two thoughts or potential questions that are from my personal experience.
A. As a professional artist I have always desired a solo show, but due to many commissions
I find it hard to dedicate time to building a selection of work for this purpose. Are there
suggestions out there on how to manage time or any other solutions. I am pleased to have
the work but I struggle with what I personally would rather be painting and showing.
B. I was reviewed by the European Art Consulate From Germany 2 years ago now, he suggested
to me that I should not be selling my original works ( paintings ) mainly. Only those that are
commissioned pieces. His suggestion is to possibly make a small quantity of limited prints available instead.
He claims my work will be more valuable this way. Would like to hear other opinions on this topic.
I really enjoy and get a lot of currant information from your website. I have close family members in
Phoenix, and look forward to paying a visit in the future to your gallery.

Thank you for your time and efforts !
Best Regards and Success in the New Year,
Denise Armstrong


Anderson R Moore January 2, 2014 at 9:50 am

Great questions. I am wondering who else is relying on sales from sites like Fine Art America and sister sites, and places like Redbubble or others. There are so many good artists and some famous ones who are using them. Wondering what other artists take on this as well as Gallery pwners.
Should I be using them or not, and to what extent,
by that I mean, how do you decide which pieces go on those sites, and does it affect a Gallery decision as to if they would represent those orignial pieces or not?
I do sell a number of prints from FAA and RB- last year more than previous years.


Tom Christiansen January 2, 2014 at 10:00 am

I also would like to know the percentage of income made from commissions vs gallery sales vs direct (artist to customer) sales


Lori LaBerge January 2, 2014 at 10:47 am

I’m meeting a lot of artists whose main income is from teaching, art supplies or books to help other artists. How much of their income is actually from their artwork sales vs. these?


Janell January 2, 2014 at 11:13 am

Hi Jason,

Happy New Year!
#5 – expand that question to where your sales came from by %? Gallery, direct sales, commissions and especially add Web sales.
Also, what type of sales? Were they original art, prints, commissions?
#9. – Brick and mortar galleries or online galleries? Or both?
#10 What about online advertising costs? Website costs or social media ads?
Maybe add a question just about internet activity. How many websites, online galleries, POD prints, type of web activity, social networking and ecommerce are artists using and what results are they having?
12. What is your outlook for sales in 2014 and where do think you will increase your sales? Galleries? Originals, print sales, Ecommerce sales?

Thanks for doing this survey. I appreciate your support and your sharing of knowledge. Janell


Jason Horejs January 2, 2014 at 1:26 pm

Great suggestions Janell – we’ll work on figuring out how much we can incorporate – I like the idea of digging deeper into the internet question


Will Eskridge January 3, 2014 at 12:16 pm

I second expanding question 5 into a breakdown of what percentage of sales came from which venues. Gallery representation, art fairs, eBay, artist’s own website/studio, alternative venues, etc.


Lynda Pogue January 2, 2014 at 3:14 pm

If an artist sells a piece of art privately, there’s no commission charged to a client…however… when selling through a gallery the price of the painting goes up from 20 – 40% more. As people begin to become collectors, they often go to the artist’s website and not to the gallery’s site.
As a matter of fact, many clients now go to see an artist’s work in a gallery and then contact the artist personally through the artist’s website.
Hence, the reason for some galleries charging a fee to show and advertise artwork.
The question is: do you sell more of your art privately or through galleries? Why?


Will Eskridge January 3, 2014 at 12:12 pm

Lynda, I think this is why it’s generally accepted that an artist charge the same prices across the board whether selling privately or through a gallery. It’s considered a no-no to undercut a gallery.


Bela Fidel January 2, 2014 at 7:33 pm

I second Gary’s questions (below) and would like to add one more. In reading Art in America and Art News I am becoming increasingly convinced that “to make it big” (i.e., major galleries, museums, etc.) one has to be “off the wall” (no pun intended). I see a lot of conceptual art, some even outrageous; gimmicky art (covering the painting with with a cloth so it cannot really be seen); and also, of course, some very original and inventive. I often feel that the plain old fashioned painting, good as it may be, is being pushed aside (unless, of course, it deals with a very novel subject or is done in a very novel technique). It is the proverbial “epater les bourgeois” (shock the middle class” [for lack of a better translation]).
Am I wrong?


Diana Tripp January 3, 2014 at 11:37 am

I have read your survey – and all the comments. It’s quite complete as I see it. I couldn’t think of anything additional to offer.


Paul M Harman January 4, 2014 at 11:42 am

Question. What is the average amount you spend on a frame for a painting?


Judi Jordan January 4, 2014 at 8:43 pm

I am with Bela on concerns about the direction of the art market. I am concerned by an art market that favors artists who paint fast and sometimes weird, rather than artists who paint great art. I see many who are in galleries and are selling their art, but it is often very abstract and often childlike. I sometimes am attracted to abstract art, but it is usually one that required a great deal of thought and time to construct. There are many modern masters that I admire who are very realistic or very detailed and follow the ways of the old masters. They are not going to paint 2 paintings a week or even 2 a month and tho I can’t come close to matching their work, I am a perfectionist detail freak. I have only been back painting for 4 years after a 20 year absense from doing art, so my art must be a legacy of art that expresses my beliefs and life experiences that I can be proud to leave the world. I guess my question for all would be- what separates the hobbyist from the professional? Does the amount of art that you can crank out in a week, month or year really make you a good artist? I personally admire art and artists who paint maybe only 6 paintings in a year, but they are masterpieces that will be loved and admired for quality for many generations, just as we look to the old masters even today. I also, have done some commissions and many of my artist friends do more of that, because it pays for them to create their more personal art. This shoud be an interesting survey. Thanks, Jason.


Victoria Sivigny January 5, 2014 at 7:03 am

Thanks for all you do to support artists, Jason! It might be interesting to see how much time both emerging and established artists are spending on the business side of art compared to time in the studio actually creating their art. I know the business of preparing, photographing art, selling, showing and advertising art is important, but it’s so much more fulfilling to be in the studio. I’d be curious to see what % of time other artists are spending actually spending in their studios. Maybe the question could be presented something like this:

How much of your creative energy is spent in the studio creating your art vs. the business of art?

a) 75%
b) 50%
c) less than 40%
d) 100% – I have an assistant or manager to handle the business.


Tom Edwards January 6, 2014 at 7:03 pm

Marketing, marketing, marketing. How to market work.



Renee Barton January 6, 2014 at 7:38 pm

How much does the opinion of customers/sales influence the works you create?

90% (this sells really well so I make bunches of them)

60% (I make some of these to generate income, but I still create new things to keep it interesting.)

30% (I try not to let sales dictate the direction of my work.)


Renee Barton January 6, 2014 at 7:57 pm

I am an emerging artist. I paint abstract and I feel pressured to create crafts or to paint images to produce an income. I feel that people want to identify an image, and feel a distrust of nonobjective abstract paintings. Although a person may feel connected to an abstract painting they are unable/unwilling to trust their own intuition. They feel afraid of ridicule, or of being taken advantage of by their own ignorance. I wish to stick to my intuitive creativity, all else seems pointless to me. I am interested to know how other abstract artist feel.


Valerie Woelk April 15, 2014 at 12:38 pm

It would be good to know what percentage of the work artist’s do each year is devoted to gallery type work.
Out of 101 images this year from me there were
4 original non-commissioned paintings
2 murals
and the rest (95) were commissioned illustrations in books or commissioned portraits etc.
My years prior averaged 60-80 paintings. I had heart surgery 1 & 1/2 years ago and am just now getting back up to full speed again so my count of original work can now begin to increase again and I intend to dedicate more time to creating gallery work.


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