By Jacob Smith, Guest Blogger Selling art is easier than ever before thanks to the World Wide Web. However, if you’re just starting out with selling art online, then be sure to consider the five following options; 

Your Own Website

We’ll get into some great third-party websites in a moment, but don’t forget that it’s important for you to have your own site, too. For one thing, you won’t have to worry about losing money on overhead related to someone else’s site.

Also, if you build up enough of a following, you’ll only ever need to concentrate on your website, making it much easier to display your work and sell it.

Finally, having a site is like having a business card these days. If you meet someone in real life who wants to see your art, you should have a site of your own to send them to. Otherwise, they may take you for an amateur.

Websites Your Market Frequents

Again, we’ll get to specific sites in a moment, but this is worth bringing up. Many of you have a very niche market for your site. You could probably describe your average buyer in pretty decent detail.

If that’s the case, then it shouldn’t be hard to figure out where they frequent online, too. Look into how much ad space would cost on those sites or, if it has a forum, get involved on there to generate interest. These are great shortcuts to bringing people to your site where they’ll become customers.

Etsy

Alright, let’s start our actual list with one of the most well-known options on the Internet. This site already gets a ton of traffic, so while you will need to work hard to stand out from other artists, the upside is that there are thousands of people visiting Etsy every single day.

The site also has a very supportive community that will provide you with lots of helpful advice on how to make the most of it. https://www.etsy.com

Artplode

If you plan on listing your art for more than $1,000, Artplode is definitely worth checking out. The site takes a $60 fee to post any piece of artwork, but that’s remarkably low when you consider you’ll pull in at least $1,000 per buyer. https://www.artplode.com

eBay

eBay may not be the Internet powerhouse it used to be, but its art section still gets plenty of traffic. You could easily begin selling art today by uploading photos of your work.

While you’ll want to put some time into making sure you understand the best practices for selling art on eBay, it will be worth it.

One of the major benefits of eBay is that, after enough sales, you’ll have a very good idea what prices you should be charging. This is always a challenge for artists, but eBay will give you some very real feedback to start with.

There are countless other sites you could sell on, too. For now, though, focus on getting your own site up and running, figuring out if there are specific sites that would be best based on your audience and then choosing one of the other three we listed. http://www.ebay.com

About Jacob Smith

Jacob Smith is a designer and retoucher living in Chicago, Illinois. ProductViz is Jacob’s illustration studio, focusing on digital imagery and branding. Jacob has developed the Visual Intelligence method of presenting art. Visual Intelligence is the name coined to describe this process: turning a jpg (or other image file or your art) into a professional photograph in the context of a beautiful interior, gallery, or setting. www.productviz.com

 

By Jacob Smith, Guest Blogger - Interior design teaches us that every room is more than just individual furniture, colors, and light. As a whole, rooms are an expression. Components — chairs, tables, drapes — work together, in concert. For interior designers, that combination, not any one piece, makes a room engaging and beautiful.

By focusing exclusively on their artwork, many artists forget that each piece lives in context. Whether a gallery, studio or ever-expanding page of Pinterest boxes, the context has a huge influence on how customers perceive your artwork. 

Wonder why this matters? Admittedly, fine arts differ quite a bit from interior design. Perhaps the interior design’s approach is too broad. Indeed an artwork’s individuality, in many cases, creates value. Yet thinking like an interior designer endows you with the power to price your art, create sales, and build your reputation.

Below, we will discuss art imagery, the basics of presenting your artwork well, and the influence that the presentation has on your customers. To finish, we’ll look at real-world examples.

The term ‘in situ’ describes furniture or artwork photographed in a natural environment, like a living room or gallery. You will see ‘in situ’ compared with ‘cropped’ or white background, which are other ways of presenting artwork. (Cropped is just the artwork itself and white background is the artwork image overlaid on a pure white background.)

If you sell through an online art aggregator — a company that sells many pieces from many artists — then you know about cropping and pasting onto a white background. Online aggregators present as much content as possible in order to maximize views, browsing time, and sales. Customers flip through hundreds (if not thousands) of these sterile, formatted images at a time. For artists, your art is reduced to a small square plastered on a white background. 

Put another way, the cropped style is the most economical and universal way to present artwork. As a result, cropped images or white backgrounds serve as a standard, from personal artist websites to large art aggregators.

Consider the alternative, photographing artwork in a vibrant, stylish interior requires a professional camera, styling, and in many cases transportation. For most working artists, these barriers make any attempt at interesting imagery cost prohibitive.

Unfortunately, this reality relegates most artwork photography to a mundane existence. In addition to being boring, sterile presentation makes customers less likely to buy. Consider this review published by Etsy www.etsy.com/seller-handbook/article/top-10-marketing-tips-from-full-time/22797743196. This article, like many others published, credits product photography as the #1 way to increase sales.

Alternatively, presenting your artwork ’in situ’ provides customers with a feeling of how your art could be a part of their lives. Below are simple (and inexpensive) rules to move your portfolio from bleak to beautiful.

Composition

  • First, guide your audience’s eye to a specific spot in your image by following the rule of thirds - Expert Advice Here: https://expertphotography.com/improve-your-composition-the-rule-of-thirds/ and  https://digital-photography-school.com/rule-of-thirds/
  • Second, employ props to show your artwork’s size. Using a desk, chair, or other device provides the viewer with scale, showing whether your painting is 24” or 60” wide.
  • Third, use natural light, illuminating from the left or right. Positioning your work with a large window just out of the camera frame works well.
  • Fourth, when editing your photos, leave no horizontal or vertical line is askew. Slightly uneven lines confuse the viewer and look unappealing to the eye.

Choosing a Setting

Consider where you ultimately want your artwork to live. Signal the ‘feel’ of your ideal environment by adding furniture and accouterments. Put another way, let your audience imagine how your artwork would look into their world by showing them how it looks at something very close to their world. Giving your artwork this accompaniment breathes life into each piece. Customers no longer see a plain flat image, but a world surrounding the artwork.

Practical advice

The best investment you can make if you plan to shot your own photos is to invest in a DSLR camera and tripod. Quality of camera has a large impact on the quality of finished photos and a tripod will make each image similar in frame and proportion.

Conclusion

Your job as an artist is to communicate your vision. Remember, all who view your work are impacted by their surroundings, mood, and whatever else is present in that moment. Curating how your audience experiences your artwork through its presentation makes each piece more personal and real. As artists, we often see our work as the center of the universe, just remember that our audience lives in a bigger world

About Jacob Smith

Jacob Smith is a designer and retoucher living in Chicago, Illinois. ProductViz is Jacob’s illustration studio, focusing on digital imagery and branding.   Jacob has developed the Visual Intelligence method of presenting art.  Visual Intelligence is the name coined to describe this process: turning a jpg (or other image file or your art) into a professional photograph in the context of a beautiful interior, gallery, or setting. www.productviz.com

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