I've been reading the new Daniel Pink book on selling. You may remember him from an earlier post on his book Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us. His most recent book explores the idea that most of us are involved in the process of selling - especially if you expand that idea to include anything that involves influencing others.
It's easy when you're an artist to think of the artistic process as being very pure, but when you think of it, making art may be pure, but that's really just the first step in being an artist. What comes next is figuring out a place in the world for what you've created...and that's where influencing others comes into play in a big way.
I won't give away the whole book, but one of the first things that really caught my attention is the idea of attunement - how you can connect to the person/people you're trying to influence. Often, as an artist, we can feel very removed from the selling process, especially if it's connected to a gallery. There's this mysterious world of "collectors" that art dealers have access to, but the truth is, you can have more insight into who'd be interested in your work than you think. How? Well start by analysing what you're work is about...who would could relate to your imagery and why. Maybe it's about looking at your subject matter - are there themes that you're exploring that are relevant to others. Or, it may even be the style or technique you use. Often when you look at who has purchased your work in the past, you'll notice that they're often a bit like you. Think about the kinds of venues you (and your kind) like to go to - and think outside of the "gallery" box.
Start this process today. Come up with 3-5 themes or concepts your work explores. If it's relevant consider technique and even size (big art needs a big room). Through this process you can start to identify who would be interested in your work and that's really the first step in reaching that audience.