How to Grow the Art (Mass) Market

How to Grow the Art (Mass) Market

While COVID-19 is a very real and deadly threat we are all dealing with, there is another problem plaguing independent visual artists — lack of demand for original art.

Or is there?

Did you know the “wall decor market” comprised of “art prints” and “wall art” which many people buy at stores like Target or Bed Bath + Beyond generates $8B in sales?


With $8B in sales, the wall decor market shows a real consumer need for “art”. Yet all that money is going to corporations for mass production. Instead, imagine if just 1% of that $8B went to buy original art? That would be $80M in the pockets of working artists!

Mass produced wall decor items.
Mass produced wall decor items

But what would it take to shift market share like that?

Consumers would have to change their buying behavior and be empowered to do so. Barriers of entry must be removed. Sales and distribution channels would need to be expanded. Increased market transparency and consumer education are key factors to accessibility, such as telling regular consumers what art world insiders already know:

  1. The first rule of art buying is: Beauty is in the eye of the beholder so buy art you enjoy.
  2. There’s a ton of affordable original art available for sale, priced between $100 – $5,000.
  3. Artists simply want to find a loving home for their work and don’t care if their customers are art aficionados.
  4. Art galleries generally mark up prices 100% so buying directly from artists is far cheaper.
  5. Art dealers and “experts” lose money when people buy art directly from artists so don’t be surprised if they discourage you from doing this.

If more people understood what art world insiders know, and felt empowered to act on that knowledge, independent artists would sell more art and make more money.

The hallmarks of the mass market wall decor industry are convenience and affordability. This creates a competitive advantage that is hard to beat and makes stealing market share difficult. Nevertheless, with the right business strategy, getting 1-3% of the wall decor market to “trade up” to original art and put $80M in the pockets of independent artists is totally plausible. Especially if retailers like Target start supporting artists by giving them their own space to curate, promote and sell their works.

Here’s the bottom line: with COVID-19 destroying the art world as we know it and leaving artists to figure out how to best recover and rebuild, now is the time for bold ideas and novel proposals just like this one.

Are you listening Target?

Scott "Sourdough" Power

Scott “Sourdough” Power is the the creator and executive producer of NotRealArt.com. He is also the co-founder of Crewest Studio a digital media company in Los Angeles dedicated to creative culture and the $2T creative economy.