When I graduated from art school 15 years ago, I mastered color theory and watercolor techniques, but I didn’t know anything about business. I learned to create a basic portfolio site as a year-end project. There was no e-commerce function, just sample work, and a contact page.
In the first week of working as a decent adult and as an artist, you will discover the harsh reality. To succeed in the art world, you have to run your business well. Unfortunately, my miserable Flash website didn’t work.
“The harsh reality: To succeed in the art world, you have to run your business well.”
Fifteen years ago, e-commerce wasn’t easy to get started with, and social media was basically non-existent. ” Is there a way to sell my work online without spending money? ” I can’t think of such a question at all. For an unnamed artist like me, the only income is a company job or an advertising commission.
The world has changed with the ease of selling your work online.
E-commerce and so-called social sales methods have become effective tools for independent artists. You’ll have the freedom to raise money for your creations and, above all, sell what you want to make directly to a niche audience.
From the gallery’s perspective, the changes over the last two decades have allowed curators to deliver affordable prints to audiences around the world on behalf of many artists.
So today I would like to take a look at how to sell artworks online. If you are a fledgling artist or an artist with a lot of fans and want to open up a new sales channel, please refer to it.
Table of Contents
How To Sell Art Online
Because my career as an illustrator lasted only a few months, I made a living at an art sale 2 people Shopify I heard an opinion from the merchant (artists and gallerists).
Maria Qamar, also known as Hatecopy, quit her advertising career and turned to paint after her pop art paintings got a lot of attention on Instagram.
Guarantee Ken Harman is responsible for Spoke Art. The West Bank and on the east bank 3 have one of the galleries, 3 single e have to expand the commerce store, has a production base and print dealer.
From now on, through the personal experience of Maria and Ken, I will tell you the front and back of the business of artists, and also introduce the points that are useful for online sales of art.
Difference between Side Business And Full Time
Many up-and-coming artists seize the opportunity with enthusiastic followers by joining the online artist community and continue sharing their work on social media.
After being fired from her advertising job, Maria pursued her dream of becoming an artist while working, but never succeeded overnight. In the beginning, I increased the number of fans on Instagram while supplementing my income separately.
“Of course, I was hired here and there to get the job done because I didn’t make any money when I just started.”- Maria
However, her full-time job has helped her learn the essential business skills of a successful store and marketing as an artist.
Point: Make good use of your employer’s resources and learning opportunities when you’re doing other work while you’re doing art. What kind of knowledge and experience can you collect from your daily work?
Listen to Ken about taking risks and jumping in. Unable to secure pop-up space and signing a two-year lease, Ken chose to quit his job as a waiter within a few months because of these risky moves.
” I organized an exhibition of Australian artists in 2010. He sent me a lot of work and I rented an exhibition space. He bought a plane ticket and booked a hotel as well. However, two weeks before the exhibition started, the rental space went bankrupt and became unusable. It was before the pop-up space became popular. I could not find a gallery that can be rented for a short period of time. I found that there was a perfect resale space for the exhibition, but the landlord wanted a two-year contract. I had no other options, so I triggered it. ” -Ken
Whether To Sell Your Own Work Or The Work Of Another Artist
Even if you’re not an artist, you can enter art sales as a curator. Artists who are not interested in the business side of creation want a third party such as an agent or gallery to do the work for them.
There are several ways to work with an artist, such as selling originals and prints and merchandising license agreements. In general, artists pay a certain commission for the work they sell.
“Most galleries set an industry-standard 50% commission fee for their original work. The artist provides the work, we do our best to sell it, and if it sells, it’s a 50-50 share. Print In this case, we run our own print shop in Berkeley, California. Print production can be completed in-house. It’s normal to subtract costs and divide profits by 50% . ” -Ken
For selling similar items and print work operate their own shops to when, Maria the one hand to reduce the cost by eliminating the middleman, with regard to the exhibition and sale of original work, relying on the relationship between the experienced Gallery I am.
The gallery allows you to expose your work to a new audience. It also provides professional power and resources in the promotion, management and delivery of artworks.
What To Sell Sale And Reproduction Of Original Works
Media such as sculpture are difficult to duplicate and merchandising ( 3D printing and toy production can be considered). On the other hand, many 2D media have many options to generate infinite sales from one work.
The following options are possible.
- Original (in-kind) artwork
- Limited or regular edition prints, giclee (with or without frame), or canvas
- Digital downloads, desktop wallpapers, quote prints, etc.
- Sell original works on traditional or digital media, custom or outsourced
- Merchandising, hats, mugs, T-shirts, enamel pins, etc.
- Fabric and wallpaper pattern prints
- License agreements with other e-commerce merchants
- Collaboration with merchants and creators
- Online photo sales
In addition to the print works and related products to sell on the site, Maria is Shopify merchant Nuvango. We are also printed on apparel with her artwork in the form to collaborate with.
Create Your Own Online Store
First, let’s create a store here. It’s a few minutes of work. You can use it free of charge for 14 days.
mail address start a free trial
In the store settings, select a template called a theme. Choose a large image and plenty of room to make your artwork shine. Adding apps to streamline store operations allows you to focus more on the creative side of your business.
Themes that suit art stores
- More themes for art stores
Apps useful for art business
If you want to sell art as prints or goods, you can save the trouble of shipping and order processing by using an app such as Printful. This is an excellent app that allows you to print only the order and outsource the shipping work by sending the order data to the printing factory when an order is placed.
“I use the app for printing and shipping. I just upload my work and the app does it all. I don’t have to spend every day printing, packing, and shipping to create art. Now I can concentrate. I used to spend at least 3-4 hours doing that, and now I use that time to come up with ideas and interact with people. ” -Maria
“I can now focus on creating artwork without having to spend every day printing, packing, and shipping.”
− Maria Qamar
Using apps such as Photo Gallery, you can introduce past works and sold-out works, which not only functions as an overall catalog but also as a gallery portfolio for merchants who want to work with you.
Point: Shopify’s variation selection feature offers not only size options, but also finishing and frame options. In the variation setting, you can reflect the unit price and the price including options.
Photographing And Scanning Of Works
Clean and accurate product duplication and photography are important throughout the e-commerce community, regardless of industry. Customers cannot pick up the product, so they have no choice but to judge the quality of the product they buy from clear and detailed images.
“When you sell your work online, it’s all about the image in the end. Poor quality images, images that don’t accurately reflect your work raise the bar for sale.” − Ken
Compared to other products, it is difficult to shoot art. With ordinary lighting, it tends to be a problem because it is not clear or the colors are irregular. Therefore, in the case of large work or a three- dimensional work, consider asking a professional to shoot it.
For 2D works, Ken recommends that scanning instead of shooting is an efficient and reasonable option.
“Our production base has shooting equipment, but the artists provide us with a scan of our work because scanning is a must for their archive. The most cost-effective way is to get a desktop scanner, partially scan your work, and then connect it in Photoshop later. For works that have a glossy or resin coating, it’s a bit tricky, For canvas and paper works, it’s usually easy. “
Limited And Non-Limited
Mugs and T sold in printed works in a shirt that is, 1 means that the revenue from one of the work indefinitely is obtained. But galleries like Spoke also choose the limited edition method for many of their works.
The effect is similar to the marketing tactic of a limited time, and it can show the rarity and urgency. Ken has an idea for a limited edition that goes one step further.
“I’m working hard to find works that are of special value to sell. Special things should be treated specially. It’s true that you can get as much money as you can if you don’t limit the number. However, I think we can add value to art by providing limited edition works. “
“I think we can add value to art by providing limited edition works.”
− Ken Harman
There are some downsides to selling the limited edition.
“Many of the works we sell are worth the secondary market. We see some works resold at prices well above the original price on sites like Ebay. sometimes. but because there is much higher demand that can not be provided to all the people who want to buy a. work is certainly a little regrettable one. ” -Ken
To prevent resale, Spoke has a policy of limiting the distribution of prints on a customer-by-customer basis. We also have a blacklist of resellers.
“We should always give priority to getting real fans.” − Ken
Printer And Printing
You can make high-quality prints yourself with the right paper, ink, and printers. You can also provide the customer with a frame option and do the framing yourself. For up-and-coming artists, this can keep costs down, but it’s not a continuous or scalable way.
“In the beginning, I printed, packed, and shipped all the posters I ordered. I did about 1,000. Every morning I got up and went to the print shop to print. I packed it up and headed to the post office. At one point, it was so much work that I was running out of time to draw like an artist. I was spending all my time shipping. ” -Maria.
If you plan to ship it yourself or sell it offline, you can ask a local or online printing company to print in bulk with a bulk contract price tactic.
Point: If you want to outsource the shipping work completely, you can also use on-demand printing or a dropship company. Maria now uses Printful to run her online store.
Gallery Exhibits, Pop-Ups, Offline Events
Maria makes heavy use of traditional media, so digitizing it will hurt the impact of texture and scale.
“It’s a physical work that exists in real life, so by exhibiting it, I realized that I was a real person when I entered the gallery and that I had the technical skills of painting and could do a large-scale installation. You should get it. ” -Maria
Artists can also interact with fans and discover new audiences offline. Take advantage of face-to-face opportunities to attract customers to online stores.
Consider the following:
- Partner with the gallery to exhibit your work
- Check out local art markets and events to earn temporary or fixed booths
- Outsource your work to a gift shop or lifestyle store, or launch a small pop-up in your existing store
- Open the studio to the public once the website is launched, or set a fixed weekly opening time
- Run a pop-up shop (with other artists to keep costs down)
Point: Shopify POS allows you to synchronize online and offline sales for face-to-face sales.
By the time Ken opened his permanent gallery, he used pop-ups to establish his reputation as a gallery and validate his business ideas. I never neglected the real side of the business.
“It’s hard to find a fully functional and successful gallery online alone. That’s almost impossible, and I think the reason is that it’s important to see the work directly. People also want to know that they were actually seen. ” -Ken
Cooperation With The Gallery
Ken says that if you’re interested in selling in galleries in addition to selling on your own site, you need to prepare and behave professionally.
what To Do
- Check the SNS of the gallery. “If you have fewer or few followers in your gallery, you can hesitate.”
- Do research and contact galleries that sell in your style. “You can’t sell street art in a gallery that collects Impressionist works.”
- Email a personal message. “Sending personal emails is a big step in the process when you know the names of gallery directors and curators.”
What You shouldn’t Do
- Approach via SNS. “Awesome people contact us to see their work through Facebook Messenger and Instagram tagged posts. Yes, we value SNS, but how to contact artists. It’s not a professional way to do it. “
- A method of shooting and hitting numbers. “What’s really frustrating is that we have an Instagram post tagged and the same artist uses 20 tags from other galleries in the same post to get the attention .”
Art Packing And Shipping
When shipping original art, or when you choose to ship your prints yourself without using a printing and shipping company, you need to be more careful with your packaging.
It is best to send prints and posters in cardboard cylinders. Smaller prints can be sent in strict cardboard envelopes. Protect the print in the packaging with oil- and water-resistant glassine
paper or a clear cellophane sleeve.
More rigorous preparation is required for framed works and canvases. For example, at Yamato, you can get art-specific delivery materials such as art-sized boxes.
“There are a number of ways to keep shipping costs down for art collectors. For example, the cost of shipping a large painting on canvas is a decent amount, not to mention if it’s huge. What we do from time to time is a method of rolling the canvas without stretching it, putting it in a cylinder, and sending it in that state. This method dramatically reduces the cost. When you arrive, you can spread the canvas on the other side. ” -Ken
Insurance is important when sending original works. If it is lost or damaged, it cannot be replaced.
Major vendors such as FedEx and the USPS have basic insurance on most packages. Merchants should closely check the scope and limits of certain additional guarantees for the insurance offered by each vendor. For expensive pieces, Ken has taken additional steps to ensure the safety of the piece.
“Sending anything over $ 1,000 can be very tricky. If you’re looking for an expensive item, it makes sense economically to ask a private shipping company or an art company. ” -Ken
Plagiarism And Copyright Protection
Artist Tuesday Bassen fought a battle by hiring a lawyer to appeal to the media while a major chain stole her original design.
For Maria and Ken, the issue of imitation and plagiarism seems to be just one of the
disappointing realities of business. Maria has filed legal action only once before her view changed.
“After all, it took me a lifetime to learn this method. Years of practice and training, as well as careers and unemployment in the advertising industry, all make me what I am today. My skill is one. I can’t learn in the evening. If someone is copying me, they will eventually need to learn for themselves. Sooner or later the ideas will run out. If I don’t produce anything, copy what. Will you do it? “
Maria sees the imitation of Hatecopy as proof that she is doing something meaningful.
“Someone imitating me means I’m doing something exciting and I’m doing it right. I’m no longer hurt or worried about it.”- Maria
For galleries like Spoke, which sells works on behalf of multiple artists and sells works online, the existence of habitual imitation websites is a problem.
“It’s a problem to have a pirated site of what we’re doing. It’s been particularly tedious in the last few months. It’s happening in every industry. iPhones, apparel, concert tickets. So this Is an unfortunate aspect of how the world works. I’m doing my best, but it just happens. ” -Ken
Point: The artist has a legal right to claim reimbursement. Ask a copyright lawyer for advice to protect your intellectual work before it is infringed.
The Artist Is Also An Entrepreneur
In order to expand our business as an artist, we need to keep our fans as repeat customers while continuously producing new works. To that end, it’s important to always be stimulated, says Maria.
“Let’s look at the world from a different angle. It helps to shape my opinion about what I like and dislike. What I often do is take people to a gallery that I wouldn’t normally go to alone. Everyone sees art differently. Go to new exhibitions, open your mind and see how someone else sees the world. Always about how you see things. You can get something a little different from. “
Ultimately, artists are basically entrepreneurs. Understanding the non-creative business side is essential to success and growth.