Samantha French ’05, an Art Sale top seller, is known for her large-scale underwater paintings.
Samantha French ’05, an Art Sale top seller, is known for her large-scale underwater paintings.

MCAD Art Sale All-Stars—the top sellers in the sale's history—share tips for current students and recent graduates on making the most of this special opportunity.

The MCAD Art Sale, the biggest college art sale in the country, is an incredible opportunity for MCAD students and recent graduates. It's a chance to show off your work to a massive community of interested buyers, meet and mingle with serious art collectors, and make a good chunk of change from your sales. Whether it's your first time in the sale or your last (only those who graduated within the last five years can participate), here are some words of wisdom from the sale's top-selling alumni, or the “Art Sale All-Stars,” on choosing work, pricing work, networking, and generally making the most of the unique event.

“Lower your prices. You have a lifetime of selling things for more. Get things out there—develop an audience first and the rest will fall into place over time.” 

–Mike Perry 

“Pay attention to what people are buying and what they are saying about your art. During my first year in the Art Sale, I tried selling a variety of styles I was into (illustration, painting, photography, encaustics). The following year I made mostly encaustics as that was what had been selling most successfully AND what I enjoyed making the most. Do what you love . . . but also try to figure out what people like best about your work so you can develop it. Keep evolving until something really clicks with you; and most likely when that happens, it will click with your viewers as well.”
Nadia Alenov ’10

“Price your work to fit the audience you're selling to, and how they're purchasing. If it's something someone would give as a gift, keep in mind how much people will spend on a gift. Is it something relatable and witty that might be an impulse buy? Don't let the price tag scare them off. Is it a statement piece that will be the main feature in a room? People are willing to pay more for that.” 
Kelsey King ’13

“Just enjoy yourself and be present, chat with people about your work when they are floating by it.”
Leslie Barlow ’16 

“First, be there in good spirits and be ready talk to guests about your work. Secondly, during my time at MCAD, I remember that the maximum price allowed on works sold was $500. Things are likely much different now, but perhaps my experience may still apply. I recall there was a great deal of debate among students and faculty alike as to whether paintings should be sold at that price. Many of my paintings were large, and so a majority of peer opinion I got was that $500 was simply too little for the work. It was a chat with then-president, John Slorp, that helped me decide. I asked him in a straightforward way, "should I really be selling my work at this price?" He said, “yes, why not, Geoff? You don’t ever want to become the greatest collector of your own work!" I trusted him and went ahead pricing my work between $350 and $500. After the sale was over, I felt great about the decision. It was a wonderful feeling to sell my work and see how happy people were to own a piece. But going further than that, the contacts I made and the opportunities that came from the experience became priceless. I ended up meeting some wonderful collectors (many of whom became repeat collectors), as well as meeting a gallery owner (Robyne Robinson) along with countless other positive experiences that branched from the Art Sale. My advice is to not hesitate to be involved. The time to meet collectors and people in the art community is now and the MCAD Art Sale is a great way to do that!”
Geoff Mitchell ’99, MFA

“Start selling as soon as you can. Make sure you are selling pieces that are of your voice—not just assignments from class.”
Lindsey Ries ’12

“Have fun with it. Don't take any of it very personally. If your work sells or doesn't sell, it doesn't matter, neither is a reflection of you as an artist. Some of the worst artists in the world sell all the time.” 

–Eric Yevak ’16, MFA

“I think the most important thing is to be aware of your audience with every decision you make. People are mostly coming to buy gifts and decorations for their homes, and not all work will sell equally when viewed through that lens, but that doesn't mean the work itself isn't important or valuable, or that you are on the wrong path if you don't have work to put in the sale. If selling is your focus, you may have to come up with creative solutions to make your work more marketable for an event like this—maybe half your portfolio is too large or expensive or subversive or experimental to be compatible with this sale, and it comes down to making some smaller work, producing prints, selecting your content carefully, or trying a more accessible version of an idea. However, also remember that not everything is about the money. Thousands of people come through the sale and see all the work on the display, so even if they don't buy something of yours, they might take note of your work or message which could lead to other opportunities in the future.”
Teagan White ’12 

“Don't be afraid to put your work out there and keep doing it every year you can. I would also say don't worry about trends or what you think people will buy; it will be better in the long run if you put good quality work into the sale and people will come back year after year.”
Samantha French ’05

“1) Have multiple price points; every day has a different audience, be prepared for that. 2) Don't slash your prices until the last day; be firm, your prices are worth it! 3) One-of-a-kind sells better. For prints, if you have an edition, you only need two out at a time; check your inventory in the evening/talk to install crew and ask where you can place a few of your restock. Do not rearrange their install! 4) Framing allows you to raise your price points. IKEA is a great framing option. If you don't know what you're doing, ask Academic Services for tips (DO NOT ask them a day before the sale; ask a solid month in advance). 5) Don't put your most precious work in, you may need it for a future review. You can always put it in the sale next year. 6) Don't worry about making work specifically for the sale. Use what you have already made in your practice. 7) Don't submit figure drawings from Drawing 1. They NEVER sell.” 
Lindsay Splichal ’12