If you pursue your passion by creating art, then you are an artist. But transforming your passion into a career means you need others to pay for the fruits of your passion, which means you probably have to sell your art online. Thankfully, the Internet has made the art selling process easier than it’s ever been.
The days of hauling your canvasses to a store or a pop-up exhibition are over. Well, not over, but they’re definitely not the only way to make your art more visible. Today artists and art buyers meet online in a marketplace that is both global and convenient. If you aren’t selling your art online, you’re missing out on a vast array of opportunities to both make money and get your work out there.
So how should you sell your art online?
If you’re a new artist, you’ve probably been told to sell your art on Etsy. There are in fact numerous other websites that could be perfect for getting your art in front of potential buyers.
Each site will offer different advantages based on the type of art you create. Most artists should consider using several of these platforms simultaneously, which will offer an expanded opportunity to create revenue streams.
Amazon – This is the largest repository of stores online, a platform on which almost anybody can sell almost anything to almost anyone. Amazon is a great starting point to learn how to sell art online because of the sheer bulk of the site’s traffic.
ArtFire – This is an interactive, international online community of craft makers and buyers. It has spawned articles and podcasts that keep the community informed of developments in the art buying world.
Artplode – Artplode offers personalized advertising at $60 for each piece priced at over $1000. Unlike other sites, they do not charge a commission for sales.
Artsy – A huge, venture-funded online gallery trying to make art and art resources available to anyone with an Internet connection.
CafePress – If your art leans more toward coffee mugs, tee-shirts, stationary, or wall art, CafePress is the place for you.
CafeStyle is the site’s blog with great information on designers, trends, product spotlights, and deals.
Craigslist – The world’s largest classified ad website. Use Craiglist to connect with buyers in your community without the overhead of Amazon.
DeviantArt – Great for digital artists, this is the world’s largest online art community, with over 285 million pieces from 31 million registered users. Submit your art for consideration, and if chosen, you may get one of the most popular Tumblr blogs around.
Ebay – The world’s largest auction site. Get a sense for what types of art sell well on Ebay and, if you excel at facilitating an auction, this could be the only site you need.
Etsy – The famous art site specializing in handcrafted pieces. There are specific tips to increasing visibility on Etsy, like using Etsy’s tagging language, and interspersing posts so that each piece spend time atop the buyers’ list.
I Am Attitude – If your focus is fashion, this is the alternative clothing marketplace for you.
Society6.com – A huge player in the online art selling game, it’s easy to upload your work, price it accordingly, and offer a variety of products created with your art or imagery. Many of the artists IPaintMyMind works with have pages on Society6 where they sell open editions.
Spreesy – Spreesy enables one-stop shopping for art on Facebook and Instagram, and offers online e-commerce storefronts.
These days, many artists choose to skip third-party sellers and sell their work themselves through their own websites. This option offers several benefits, including more control over the process and the total customization of the art buying process. However, it also means more work on the site itself, and a much more hands-on relationship with shipping, speaking with your buyers, and transporting your work.
If you want to be the first and only person involved in selling your work, building your own webstore might be the best option for you to sell you work online. You get to build personal relationships with the folks who buy your work, and you can control the manner in which you ship or deliver pieces. You can also have spontaneous sales or promotions that you get to totally control, something that is tougher when operating through third-party art selling platforms.
Finally, although this may seem obvious, you get to circumvent any fees or costs that third-party sales platforms may require. Not all sites take a cut of pieces that you sell, but some do. Others cost money to create a profile and start selling on their sites. Make sure that you get to keep all of the profits from sales of your work by creating your own webstore.
If you aren’t adept at coding, consider using a hosting site like Squarespace to build your store. They make it easy to add all the features you want while customizing the look and feel of your store.
No matter which option you choose, as a working artist, it’s critical to sell your art online. It’s far more accessible and available to people all over the world, and allows you to market yourself much further than you would be able to selling art the traditional way.
It’s also a great way to get started if you are just getting yourself out there. You can skip a lot of the reputation-building and networking you would need to get into a physical gallery and can start making sales immediately.
At IPMM, we evaluate our submissions entirely through their web presence, and we’re not unique in that process. Many galleries, exhibitions, or other programs will make a final judgement on any submissions based on the kind of online identity you have as an artist. Show them how professional and serious you are by creating a high-quality and polished way to sell you art online.
Most serious artists have online stores of some form, and if you are trying to make a living off of your artwork, you should join them!
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