Selling art over the internet

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  1. #1
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    Selling art over the internet

    I've been reading books on selling your art and consulting accomplished artists, and so far the option of selling your art over the internet seems to be considered unprofitable (as well as bad for your reputation, though I'm talking money here).

    On the one hand, more and more people prefer shopping online than wasting their time visiting brick and stone galleries.

    But people are uneasy about spending a fortune over the internet (unless it's a well trusted site, like Amazon).

    You can sell inexpensive prints, but will you be able to sell enough to make a profit?

    And how do you get people to visit your website, among the gazillion? Through social networking? By asking your Facebook "friends" to visit your site? How many of your "friends" do you think will actually dig into their pockets for you, on a regular basis? Start a blog to attract attention? How many blogs have you seen with amazing art, but with only 1 or 2 comments on each post?

    What are your experiences with selling/buying art online?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gislebertus View Post
    I've been reading books on selling your art and consulting accomplished artists, and so far the option of selling your art over the internet seems to be considered unprofitable (as well as bad for your reputation, though I'm talking money here).
    Why buy a piece of art if you can just admire it online?

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    I sell my work through my studio and galleries and sell through the internet but don't rely on it for the bulk of sales. I think like any business you have to build a reputation for quality and that drives business to you.

    I started locally and entered shows where I got awards, then regionally, then nationally. I got into magazines and newspapers and went to convention art shows for fantasy and science fiction. Got some more awards. Sold through those venues and then got into some galleries. Started a website dedicated to plein air painting and then carried that onto my own blog.

    The interent helps me maintain a presence nationally, but I am in brick and mortar galleries around the country that sell the bulk of my work. I can't rely on people locally in those areas to just walk in and buy paintings, I need the internet to drive business to those locations.
    I think where people get into trouble is they try to use the net to circumvent building a rep. So instead of being small and growing big they try to be big from the start when their work doesn't warrant it. It hurts them and locks them into amateur status longer because more people are aware of them at an early stage of their career. Nothing worse than seeing crap plastered all over ebay and the net that should have been confined to home towns and the local art fairs there. Nothing wrong starting out but there is this irrational need by amateurs to let everybody see there work from the get go. I don't think it helps.

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    Totally agree with dPaint. I sell my paintings at Art Fairs and in some gallery shows. On a rare occasion, I will sell a painting on the Internet.

    The Internet is mainly a place for people to check out where I'm going to be, what new pieces that I have, and, if they like it, contact me to see the actual piece. However, I'm still building my reputation and the more people who know about me, the more my site gets visited.

    Like everything else, the Internet is just one vehicle for selling your paintings. There's billions of paintings/artwork out there and a ton of artists. They aren't going to find you unless they've heard about you.

    Dougie

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    I'm wondering how well Dpaint and Doug sell because I was considering trying to sell quick stuff on Ebay, but after reading their comments and seeing a different point of view, I'm thinking it may just be better to build up a body of work, post it on my website, and try to get into some local shows. Then again with where I live, there's not much at all going on.

    Quick question: for those of us who are selling art: what magazines do you subscribe to in order to keep up with trends in the art world, and what type of work is selling?

    Plus, do galleries really sell that much work?

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    do etsy. like ebay, but original creations. Or if you're experienced web developer, buy and setup an certified e-shop.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dpaint View Post
    I sell my work through my studio and galleries and sell through the internet but don't rely on it for the bulk of sales. I think like any business you have to build a reputation for quality and that drives business to you.

    I started locally and entered shows where I got awards, then regionally, then nationally. I got into magazines and newspapers and went to convention art shows for fantasy and science fiction. Got some more awards. Sold through those venues and then got into some galleries. Started a website dedicated to plein air painting and then carried that onto my own blog.

    The interent helps me maintain a presence nationally, but I am in brick and mortar galleries around the country that sell the bulk of my work. I can't rely on people locally in those areas to just walk in and buy paintings, I need the internet to drive business to those locations.
    I think where people get into trouble is they try to use the net to circumvent building a rep. So instead of being small and growing big they try to be big from the start when their work doesn't warrant it. It hurts them and locks them into amateur status longer because more people are aware of them at an early stage of their career. Nothing worse than seeing crap plastered all over ebay and the net that should have been confined to home towns and the local art fairs there. Nothing wrong starting out but there is this irrational need by amateurs to let everybody see there work from the get go. I don't think it helps.
    Hmm, bolded the interesting part of your post. I have a friend who's just starting out life drawing, and we go to this figure drawing session every Friday, where a lot of professionals are working. So naturally, we are the youngest and most amateur people there. And he ALWAYS awkwardly goes around and has this need to ask everyone if his drawing looks okay. I've never understood it. And they always give him the same nod and say 'looks good.'

    O_O

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    Hi HitnRun,

    I'm just starting out (< 4 years painting), so, don't go by my numbers. I sell typically around 20 - 40 paintings per year from the $100 - $700 range. In addition, I sell a LOT of prints. My primary market is the Art Fair customer who range in age from 30 - 45. I also sell my works at open studio events, displaying them in coffee shops, etc.

    I will typically do about 2 to 3 shows per year and entered juried gallery shows. From those, I will sell a couple (not much) and nothing really big.

    Personally, I don't follow art magazines (for art trends). I'm from Northern Vermont and the people who buy my paintings want my vision. Not what people say that they want. Most of the work that I do is decorative work that people want in their houses. I mix traditional landscapes with abstract shapes or still life's (http://www.DougHoppesStudio.com has most of my paintings that are any good. Most of them have sold. I need to get off my butt and stop practicing and produce more finished paintings to sell).

    I tried the Ebay, Etsy and ArtFire routes. Sold some prints here and there, but nothing big. I study with Karen and Jack Winslow (http://www.winslowartstudio.com) and they make a regular living off of just selling their paintings through galleries. Their work, however, is definitely superior to mine. They've both studied at the Art Student League in New York in the 60's and have been selling their paintings through galleries for the last 40 years.

    Dougie

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    I sell 90% of my work through galleries around the US. and I sell 100 or more paintings a year, I've done that since I got into the fine art business 12 years ago. I am painting the same stuff I painted when I started painting at fifteen, so no I don't care about or follow trends.

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    dpaint and Doug.. man, you guys..

    Where I live, there isn't that much going on either, and people in my country don't really pay for anything that comes from the entertainment/art industry. Which is why I try to look for people who will buy online. Like I guess, commissioners. I have a friend who does commissions for people on dA but then she does anime and I don't..

    And she pretty much has a list of commissioners already.

    So how do you really go about looking for people who will commission you? (like online) I guess posting your commission info and waiting for people to reply will take long..

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    Quote Originally Posted by nonameowns View Post
    do etsy. like ebay, but original creations. Or if you're experienced web developer, buy and setup an certified e-shop.
    I totally agree. Ebay is such an ugly place. Etsy is all art & beauty.

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    Quote Originally Posted by laurice View Post

    So how do you really go about looking for people who will commission you? (like online) I guess posting your commission info and waiting for people to reply will take long..
    I just started a new thread on commissions. Check it out. Maybe we'll get some replies there

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    some seem to be rather doing well selling via ebay. from what ive seen its mostly daily studies though. wouldnt attempt to sell a multi-day effort there.

    http://silverfortress.blogspot.com/ Timothy Stotz and Michelle Tully (studio escallier, france)

    http://carolmarine.blogspot.com/ Carol Marine

    http://korafried.blogspot.com/ Kora Fried

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    Wow! Checked out the websites and the paintings were great. I'm feeling the kick in the butt to start drawing more.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brandon Pilcher View Post
    Why buy a piece of art if you can just admire it online?
    Don't go there.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hitnrun View Post
    Quick question: for those of us who are selling art: what magazines do you subscribe to in order to keep up with trends in the art world, and what type of work is selling?

    Plus, do galleries really sell that much work?
    Well, super broad question because it depends on what you're into. American Artist is excellent for traditional, historic work and artists. Juxtapose for contemporary weirdness. ArtForum, Art News for contemporary, post modern BS. Communication Arts for graphic design. Airbrush Action for, you know, airbrush illustration work. Southwest Art for mostly crap now. Amereican Art Collector for pretty good contemporary traditional work. International Artist for a good, broad range...and the occasional article on dpaint!

    Yep...that's what they're there for.

    The real key to the question is to get good enough BEFORE you try to make a living at it. It's very easy to spend a lot of time trying to market yourself and strategize and come up with all kinds of schemes...and neglect the work itself. Then you just end up hawking crappy work like the vast majority. Unless you're very attractive...and easy. That works every time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JeffX99 View Post

    The real key to the question is to get good enough BEFORE you try to make a living at it. It's very easy to spend a lot of time trying to market yourself and strategize and come up with all kinds of schemes...and neglect the work itself. Then you just end up hawking crappy work like the vast majority. Unless you're very attractive...and easy. That works every time.
    exactly my thinking

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    yup

    Quote Originally Posted by JeffX99 View Post

    The real key to the question is to get good enough BEFORE you try to make a living at it. It's very easy to spend a lot of time trying to market yourself and strategize and come up with all kinds of schemes...and neglect the work itself. Then you just end up hawking crappy work like the vast majority. Unless you're very attractive...and easy. That works every time.
    exactly my thinking

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    Quote Originally Posted by sone_one View Post
    some seem to be rather doing well selling via ebay. from what ive seen its mostly daily studies though. wouldnt attempt to sell a multi-day effort there.

    http://silverfortress.blogspot.com/ Timothy Stotz and Michelle Tully (studio escallier, france)

    http://carolmarine.blogspot.com/ Carol Marine

    http://korafried.blogspot.com/ Kora Fried
    Awesome links! Wow, people really do buy art off ebay? If I were going to buy art, the last place I'd think to check is ebay, personally. I never liked/trusted the site, and i loathe bidding. But indeed, those artists seem to be doing very well on ebay! It's something to consider.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JeffX99 View Post
    Well, super broad question because it depends on what you're into. American Artist is excellent for traditional, historic work and artists. Juxtapose for contemporary weirdness. ArtForum, Art News for contemporary, post modern BS. Communication Arts for graphic design. Airbrush Action for, you know, airbrush illustration work. Southwest Art for mostly crap now. Amereican Art Collector for pretty good contemporary traditional work. International Artist for a good, broad range...and the occasional article on dpaint!

    Yep...that's what they're there for.

    The real key to the question is to get good enough BEFORE you try to make a living at it. It's very easy to spend a lot of time trying to market yourself and strategize and come up with all kinds of schemes...and neglect the work itself. Then you just end up hawking crappy work like the vast majority. Unless you're very attractive...and easy. That works every time.
    I'm going to subscribe to American Artist and maybe American Art Collector because I have Art News now and I hate every fucking thing in that magazine. Paintings that are just brush strokes.. I'm sorry in the world I live in, I call that a start. Thanks for the info!

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