Exploring a Different Art Market: Buying and Selling Art Online
Selling and buying art online can take many forms. The online art market has opened a whole new world of possibilities.
The introduction of new technology and the new avenues for public outreach that emerged in the 20th century helped artists such as Salvador Dali or Andy Warhol popularize and commercialize their art. Despite these and similar developments, blue-chip fine art remains beyond the reach of most people. This can be an obstacle for first-time collectors, and it’s also a huge obstacle for struggling, up-and-coming artists in need of exposure. The lack of exposure is a chronic issue these emerging artists encounter and the lack of accessibility these novice collectors face are two interconnected things.
Many entry level collectors looking to buy authentic pieces would go to a gallery showcasing emerging artists. But there is another option that we owe to technology: selling and buying art online. The Internet provides an open marketplace for artwork, and the possibilities are virtually endless.
Galleries: the Pros & Cons of the Traditional Avenues
The pandemic gave people more time to discover artists and works online, but it also led the gallery in a new direction. They realized that they, too could use their digital tools more effectively. At the start of the pandemic, many gallerists embraced new communication channels like video chat. One reason for this was that clients were keen to connect even during lockdown. Additionally, society has been changing for decades and introducing technology into everything we do has become the norm.
Traditional, brich-and-mortar galleries typically charge a commission fee for selling artwork, which can vary widely depending on the gallery and the type of artwork being sold. Generally, commission fees range from 30% to 50% of the sale price of the artwork. This means that if you sell a piece of artwork for $1,000 and the gallery’s commission fee is 40%, you would receive $600 and the gallery would receive $400.
These commission fees are, indeed, high. However, conventional galleries do provide a range of services to artists that can justify the cost at least to an extent. Galleries handle the marketing and promotion of the artist’s work, provide a physical space for exhibiting the artwork, and offer expertise in pricing and selling artwork. Additionally, galleries often have an established network of collectors and art buyers, which can be difficult for individual artists to access on their own. When it comes to prestigious, established galleries, the exposure they offer make the collaboration worth it.
If you do decide to work with a gallery, it’s important to carefully consider the commission fees and services offered by a gallery before entering into a consignment agreement with them. You should also be clear on any additional costs, such as shipping or insurance fees, that may be involved in the sale of your artwork. Still, high commission fees are the reason why many artists explore alternative avenues, which all boli down to harnessing the Internet to sell art.
What Is the Easiest Way to Sell Art Online?
All art sellers are always looking for ways to make their client interactions as personal and engaging as possible, and to start conversations that feel more authentic. In the past, galleries were the place for that. But now, we can reach the same level of intimacy online.
There are many ways to sell art online, and the best approach will depend on your goals, budget, and the type of art you create. Here are some of the most popular options:
- Online marketplaces: You can sell your art on platforms like Etsy, Amazon, or eBay, which have large audiences of art buyers.
- Print-on-demand sites: These sites allow you to upload your artwork and offer it as prints or other products, such as phone cases, T-shirts, or mugs. Some popular print-on-demand sites include Society6, Redbubble, and Zazzle.
- Art-specific marketplaces: There are many online marketplaces that specialize in art, such as Artsy, Saatchi Art, and Artfinder. Angelo is another newcomer to the scene.
- Social media: And of course, for many artists, the answer to the question How do I sell my art for the first time? is social media. You can use social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter to showcase your art and promote your work.
- Your own website: Creating your own website allows you to have more control over the sales process and the customer experience.
- Online auctions: You can sell your art through online auctions, such as those offered by Christie’s or Sotheby’s.
- Online galleries: There are many online galleries that showcase and sell artwork, such as UGallery, Artspace, or Paddle8.
It’s important to research and compare the fees, commission rates, and features of each platform before choosing one to sell your art online.
How Do I Sell My Art for Beginners?
Is it worth selling art online? Absolutely. Is it always easy? Of course not. The Internet has exponentially increased access to art for collectors and artists alike. Some online platforms make it possible not only to buy artwork but also to sell original pieces through their online storefront portal that can be accessed from anywhere in the world with just one click of a button.
This technology-driven innovation provides professionals from around the globe with opportunities they never would have had otherwise. This is opening up new markets while simultaneously leveling the playing field, so everyone involved, buyers, sellers and middlemen, can take advantage the new way of doing things.
Art fairs have been one of the few outlets in an ever-changing market that offer stability and visibility for gallerists. In light of the pandemic and the concerns it has brought to light, it became obvious that this form of exposure may not always be readily available. The same goes for various natural disasters and other worst-case and new-normal scenarios.
Luckily, we have feasible newly-emerged alternative outreach initiatives to fall back on. They provide online viewing rooms during times when physical spaces are limited or closed off. More importantly, they are far less labor-intensive, with much lower maintenance and overhead costs. These initiatives are suprisingly effective, with international opportunities opening up and allowing new collectors to discover artwork that is thousands of miles away.
What Is the Best Site to Sell Artwork?
The online world is full of opportunities to meet new people and make meaningful relationships. Gallerists have their channels, but so do the rest of us, no matter which role we play within the art market space. Mingling at an art show can be intimidating for novice collectors, but using digital platforms makes it easier than ever before because you don’t have to worry about making friends with someone else who might not want what’s on your mind either way. You just send out some messages and wait.
The Internet is an amazing resource for art lovers, but it can also be difficult to know what you’re looking at. That’s why more and more people are turning online shopping into a serious profession these days, and part of the reason is the lack of the social component and peer pressure. You can let loose in cyberspace without worrying about whether or not your preferences will impress others who may or may not be people in the know.
Where Can I Sell My Art Online for Free?
Sellers are using the latest technology to make their websites more engaging and intuitive for buyers. But all this work comes at a price. Selling for free is still possible by opening a social media account and engaging in self-promotion. Most freelance platforms also charge a fee, albeit a modest one. In the majority of other scenarios, a commission fee may apply.
Working with Zoom helped many art workers revolutionize their selling methods and give collectors better access to works of art during the pandemic. These innovations allow more opportunities for and underscore the importance of storytelling.
Robust and engaging content is what collectors crave. Artists and art sellers have had to get creative to attract buyers. The opportunities include but are not limited to:
- Interviews with artists;
- Virtual studio visits where visitors get a personalized tour through their favorite artist’s workspace before they buy artwork from them online (in some cases, they even get to jump in on paint sessions);
- High-quality audio material such as music videos or podcasts that give listeners an inside scoop on how contemporary art is made. Seeing art remotely is possible through Zoom and other platforms. For example, a Zoom immersive visual shows off different pieces in a collection to prospective buyers. You get to see them up close before making a decision.
Cost and Environmental Advantages of Online Buying
Seeing art remotely is possible through Zoom and other platforms. For example, a Zoom immersive visual shows off different pieces in a collection to prospective buyers. You get to see them up close before making a decision without wasting any resources.
Buying art online has proven to be a great way of accessing art that otherwise would have been out of sight and out of reach. Collectors are not the only ones to benefit from the situation. Artists are now able to offer their work online and to wider audiences.
The online market is a great place to buy art because you can see what different artists’ work costs and find out more about them. This makes it easier for those who might not feel comfortable inquiring about prices face-to-face.
But the art market is not the only thing that’s different. The audience is changing as well. All art sellers are embracing (and it was about time they do) the changes in online buying by responding to this new generation of collectors who engage with both physical spaces and digital media. The younger generation uses these channels every single day, but the older generations are catching on as well.
The benefits of online buying are not just limited to collectors. They’ve helped artists and their representative showcase artwork in ways that would otherwise have remained impossible. Art can now also reach international markets even if it’s not the work of a world-famous artists, promoted by an established gallery or auction house. The shift from traditional, bricks-and-mortar stores to an omnichannel experience where art can be experienced at any time or place has introduced a higher degree of flexibility. The Internet has made it easier than ever for people to buy and sell collectibles, and it has even made it more likely for them to become interested in buying art in the first place. Many of them see art as an investment.
Peer-to-peer transactions are another exciting and relatively new development. More and more collectors out there are prowling online auctions, but often buying items directly from sellers, whether artists, their representatives, or other collectors. Owing to this development, rare items are within reach of growing audiences.