4 Solutions to Dealing with Your Piles of Unsold Art

This is a common problem among makers - unsold art accumulating month after month, year after year until you have enough to sell for the rest of your life. The problem is... this is the art that isn't selling. You should be proud of those piles of art. They show passion, perseverance, and progression, but something needs to be done.

I have witnessed many artists address this problem in their practice and here are some of their solutions and the effect it had on them.

1. Throw it all in the garbage... or burn it.

This may seem a bit extreme, but I find great pleasure in destroying my older artwork. I have burned pieces (not a good idea to do this in a forest) smashed pieces, and just thrown them away. This is not a sad act for me, but more of a celebration of progress, a farewell to old ideas and habits, and an optimistic look toward the future. Try it out with just one piece... see how it feels.

2. Repurpose the art.

We spend lots of money on canvases, paper, and supplies each year. Flip your old art over or repaint it and start anew! You could save hundreds of dollars on supplies. Plus, it feels good to give new life to something that has been hidden and forgotten for so long.

3. Gift it!

This can be a great way to get rid of old work, but it comes with a warning. Do you really want to see this piece in your friends' house for the next decade or more? Do your friends actually want your work, or would you giving it to them be a burden on their life and stress on your relationship? Will you be offended if they don't display it and instead it goes to their closet? These are all things that need to be considered, and the complexity is why I tend to stay clear of this option.

4. Keep them.

I mean, you aren't really using that closet anyway. Maybe it's easier just to hold onto them for now and figure it out next year. :)

What have you done with your unsold art? Tell us in the comments!


“Take off your cool” by Cameron Holmes


“Cowboy 2” by May Sheppard


“Conquering Shadows” by Lynne Godina-Orme

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