How NFT collectors think - the psychology of buying art


Knowing what makes an NFT collector buy your art is a crucial ingredient to being a successful professional artist.

If you are wanting to making a living from creating and selling your art, it’s important to understand the different forces at play, and how you can turn them to your advantage. This article explains the thinking behind an art collector’s decision to buy your work, and how you can encourage your stable of active collectors to grow.

Being serious about your profession.

When a collector buys an NFT, they are buying a stake in your artist’s career, and if an you want to attract more sales and grow your name over time, you must show that you treat your art practice seriously, as you would a business.

This may seem an anathema to the creative process, but it doesn’t have to be. When approached correctly, it simply means that you are dedicated to improving your craft and being the best possible artist that you can be.

So what makes a collector buy an NFT?

Typically, a collector will purchase an NFT for a mix of the following three reasons:

  1. They love your work and want to be able to say they own it!

  2. They like you as an artist and want to support your career, and feel that they have a share in making you a success.

  3. They have confidence in your career and want to invest a stake in it, forecasting that their stake will increase as your status as an artist increases.

Generally, you need to score in all three of these categories to consistently make sales. Let’s look at these three motivations in more detail:

1. They love your work

If your art really resonates with a collector, it makes them feel good. It gives them a positive experience. Your art elicits an emotional or intellectual response. People pay good money for experiences all the time. Holidays, computer games, fancy meals, concerts. These things don’t leave you with anything physical - just memories or emotions.

With NFTs, there is also the good feeling that is had from knowing that you own something cool, rare or revered by others. This can be a powerful motivation for a collector.

Finally, NFTs allow art-lovers to curate and build up the perfect collection, which can be enjoyed privately or shared with their peers. And perhaps your art is the missing piece of their puzzle.

Conclusion: Create the best quality art that you possibly can - be genuine and heartfelt, and your message will shine through.

2. They love you as an artist,

Unlike admiring an artist from afar, the combination of NFTs and social media allow collectors to get closer to the artists they like and build up a supportive relationship. They can chat and interact with the very people who create their artistic experiences. And by purchasing an artist’s work they can feel part of the creative process as a patron of their career.

Active collectors who are able to interact and participate in this process may end up being some of your most vocal supporters on social media and the wider world.

Also, their public support can help build your profile as an artist and thus increase the worth of the art they already own.

Conclusion: Be sociable and put time and effort to put yourself out there on social media to connect with other artists and art enthusiasts. Just have fun, and it will begin to reap rewards.

3. Investing a stake in your career.

On top of the pleasure gained directly from the art itself, an NFT also retains the proof-of-purchase - which means your art becomes an asset which can be bought and sold many times. This is an important factor because by purchasing an NFT a collector is effectively investing a share in your career.

Your net worth as an artist is a combination of your accumulated body of work (of which the quality and rarity are crucial factors), your online (and offline) profile, and the perceived momentum of your career. If you have the presence of an artist that is continually moving upwards in both their craft and their profile, then you look like a good bet.

Conclusion: Always be working on your technique, craft and the conceptual depth of your pieces. Your career is a journey, and so you always need to be heading towards something - some new idea or artistic goal.

This side of NFTs has similarities with another asset that can be bought and sold: stocks.

Comparing NFTs to stocks and shares

Whenever we part with money, certain economic factors comes into play. NFTs and stocks may not the same, but there are some similarities behind the way we think when we decide to buy one.

If you buy a share in a company, you are buying a stake in their business. It represents a vote of confidence in the way you feel the company is performing and how you think it will perform in the future. You believe that your stock has intrinsic value and forecast that it will increase more and more over time.

No-one buys a stock that they think will go down in value, no matter how fond they are of the company itself. So when it comes to NFTs, many people will shy away from spending their cash on art they don’t think will hold it’s value.

The tipping point that prompts a collector to buy your art

Ultimately, when money enters into the equation, people want to see an equivalent value, even if that value is a potential one. Part of that value is in the experience of the art, part of that is in the human-interaction between buyer and artist, and part of that value is in the potential figure that the work might eventually be sold for.


To a collector, you and your art are an investment - an investment of emotion, intellect, interaction, time and yes, money, and you need to be able to demonstrate that you can return on that investment.

How can you do this? You need to be outspoken in your commitment to improving your craft. You need to set out an artist manifesto (even if you keep this private), to outline some of your goals and motivations for making your art. You need to reach out and be social, and you need to have patient dedication to finding your voice and building your profile.

None of this happens quickly. But being an artist is a rewarding and noble way of life, and one that makes the world a better place - one work of art at a time.

My next blog post...

So how do you maximize the effort that you yourself are putting into your career as an artist? My next blog post will go into the details about what things you can do to make yourself more attractive to potential collectors.

About me

I’m a Manx artist, living on the Isle of Man – a beautiful island in the Irish Sea.

I’ve been creating art for many years. My work can be found hanging on walls in Manhattan, Tokyo, London, Abu Dhabi, Madrid and even at sea on a US Navy warship!

You can see my current work at: NFT Showroom

Start a conversation

Art is all about communication and I’d love to hear your thoughts on this post or art in general – leave a comment below or head over to Twitter and drop my a line 😃

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