How to Sell Your Art in a Culture of Freebies — DP Mavia

illustration courtesy of

Langston is a Designer among other things. He has set out for freelance work for the last three years. He likes his work but with liking it, it has borne some sense of business frustration. Langston finds himself always being one too generous. He has fueled a healthy vein of doing freebie work even when he needs to charge for his services. This culture has begun fostering in him distaste for his first passion, which is design. How can he begin to sell his art even though a big percentage of his clients have pronounced freebie index?

Know Your Art

Langston needs to first be confident that he has branched into a niche he is skillful in and also one that he likes. He needs to be competitive and adept at producing art continually. He needs to know his art. This will feed into his career identity. He will soon have a fruitful artistic persona. It will make him strong enough and entitle him to a journey of artistic bravery. The benefit of this is that it will naturally feed into his desire to look forward to produce art daily. A routine can often become monotonous but value makes it fresh every day. Value comes by knowing your art and entertaining the possibility of its surprises every moment.

Do Your Art

Now that you know your art and your artistic identity is solid one needs to do his/her art. Action is a cementer of theory. Practice is daily continuous authentic entitlement. Showing up is half the journey won. Knowing and not doing is the bedrock of self-deception. You need to do your art, some days you win and some you learn. Doing your art is establishing a footprint of mastery. This is the precursor to value and discernment. Doing your art is clarifying your path. It is setting yourself uniquely to be visible to an audience that values your work. You must do your art you cannot delegate this part of your journey because it must have your finger prints all over it.

Art Attract

Once you are lined up to a unique gradual path of the continuous creation of art, a clarified audience will begin to line up. True audiences are attracted to craftsmen who daily show up. The same way a masterpiece is arrived at after daily practice, a master audience lurks in the shadows keenly observing your daily practice. You owe it to your self to grow in producing art because it is in growing that birds perch on a branch of a tree. It is in growing in your practice of art that an audience of value comes to the fore to be satiated by your pieces. Showing up makes a mental imprint in your audiences mind. But soon this footprint begins to make way into their hearts then they fall in love because you are reliable and consistent.

Nurture Your Audience

Nurturing takes time. But equally so the audience that you attract by showing up everyday also takes time. There is no point of tying yourself to path and gaining an audience of value only for you to start being lethargic in your craft. Think like a farmer taking care of his sheep or stock. Be patient for your audience to begin discovering you afresh with value. Let them begin to be exposed to the sheen of your craft. Feed them with value and disciplined art. Win their hearts with the surprise of your creativity. Lock them in to the fresh healthy pasture of your stellar craft.

State a Price of Value

After nurturing an audience you are ready to trade. You are ready to trade because you have proven yourself. The proof of art is being true to yourself. The artist or craftsman must hone the integrity of his craft. There is goodwill of process that shows up in art and justifies a good price value. Mostly you will find a fattened audience.An audience that has fed on your availability willing to but the value your art oozes with. Stating a price is being bold about your craft. Stating a price is giving your audience an opportunity to dignify themselves with the beauty of your pieces. State a price.


Go back and learn the process. A master craftsman is not only adept in his craft; in fact he is master because he has mastered the process. A path trodden soon graves out a mindset. Know your art, do your art, get an audience, nurture and audience and state a price. Toll on this process and soon you will learn a thing or two every time you repeat what looks like a familiar course. Play it back like music and soon you will notice that you may have skipped a beat the last time on any of the steps. But soon this process will make it clear to you on what to say No! to. For it is only when we are able to identify what things we are able to say no to that our yeses and art for that matter become the Art or craft of Value.

Originally published at




Tengeneza means 'Make' in Swahili. This is a space for Makers. I reside in Nairobi, Kenya — — buy my ebook Make Art —

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DP Mavia

DP Mavia

Tengeneza means 'Make' in Swahili. This is a space for Makers. I reside in Nairobi, Kenya — — buy my ebook Make Art —

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