Where art meets retail: Selling art in retail stores

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selling art in retail

If you’re an artist, have you ever wondered how else you could be selling your art? These days most artists depend on social media channels, a gallery representation or commission work. If you offer art prints or limited edition prints, selling through art fairs and events add nicely to your revenue mix too.

But thinking beyond these boundaries, and looking to more unconventional ways of selling art, one particular platform seems to be an attractive proposition – experiential retail.

As brick-and-mortar retail fights for its relevance to keep attracting a steady stream of customers, lifestyle retailers are forced to think outside the box by transforming their stores into an experiential blend of shopping, entertainment, education and socialisation. Art in such spaces not only helps retailers achieve this goal, and making them stand out more above their competition, but also shines light on local creative talent that customers would not probably come across elsewhere on the high street.

By forming retail partnerships and gaining this kind of valuable physical visibility bring artists closer to their customers, allowing them to learn more about them and getting invaluable feedback.

Even though selling art in retail spaces is relatively new on the UK high street, we found three artists who share their experiences below:

Artist Johanci Tyson

“I was absolutely delighted to be approached by Stacy Chan, Founder & Managing Director of Platform Store to join their multi-brand pop-up concept store in Autumn 2021, and I have been involved in their retail events since then. Selling in a retail space is different to conventional exhibiting in galleries and art fairs, as it has given me exposure to showcasing my statement abstract paintings alongside other inspiring designers in fashion and jewellery in a prime central London location.

Stacy’s curation is like no other and as a unique concept store, it gives me access to reaching a different type of customer who may not have thought of buying original art previously. Interesting sales for me have been those who buy their first piece of original art, which is very special. I also believe that because the store offers a bespoke shopping experience, in turn it leads me to like-minded customers seeking bespoke artwork.

As an artist, it is important that I have a range of sales opportunities and combining designers in fashion, jewellery and art is very appealing to me.

In the store we are a unique mix of creatives, which gives us an opportunity to share ideas and collaborate with one another. Personnel in galleries may arguably be more knowledgeable in selling art, however I particularly value and enjoy how we, as designers and artists, don’t compete directly, but rather support one another in the space by being able to tell customers the story behind each of our luxury brands. It is an added bonus that we are located in one of the most vibrant pedestrianised shopping lanes just off Oxford Street at 28-32 St. Christopher’s Place, W1U 1NU.”

Artist Claire Oxley

“After an exhibition I had in Norwich in 2018, I was approached by then Art Director of Birdie Fortescue, a luxury homeware store in Norfolk, and I’ve supplied her with my artworks ever since. It’s great working with her – she shares her season colours with me around eight months in advance, which I find inspiring and creatively enjoyable.”

Artist Simone Ember 

“I was approached by Ollie Quinn, sunglasses and eyewear store, to exhibit in their Clapham branch for the International Women’s Day. I had a free rein over the whole store, which was great, as this isn’t something I usually get to do when exhibiting with a gallery. It was also nice to have my work exposed to a wider audience, particularly those who might not visit galleries.”

From exposure to previously untapped customer bases and high street visibility to opening a new revenue stream, selling art in retail spaces offer undoubtedly many benefits. Could it be something which you could explore more for selling your art?

Cover image: Johanci at Platform Store

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