Let’s talk about sales. As an independent artist, like it or not, this is going to be a big part of our daily life. We have discussed this topic in the past and offer courses to help you get started but today let’s get into some of the real nitty gritty of online art sales. The places you can turn to when you are ready to begin the journey toward making your art career an internet reality. While every artist should be constantly on the lookout for galleries and curators to connect with, it is also the responsibility of every artist wishing to build a successful career to be proactive when it comes to independent sales. Today, options in this regard are practically limitless which can be really overwhelming. It’s also sometimes hard to know what the pros and cons of any given resource may be or whether they are even a reputable site in the art world itself. These five curated resources vary from those that require very little input from you to those where you can customize from the ground up.
These days, just about anyone can build their own website. There are dozens and dozens of places out there that will host and support you as you build your online presence. Artspan is one such place and it’s a good place for artists. This was the first business to begin offering websites geared specifically toward contemporary artists wishing to establish an online marketplace for themselves. With Artspan there are a few pricing options, all of which come with some great features. The basic option is just $8.30/month and gives you the ability to upload up to 21 images plus offers a subdomain name under the Artspan domain name. The premium option comes with your own domain name as well as expert site design and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) consultation. With all of the options at Artspan, members receive prints on demand.
Similar to Artspan, foliotwist offers artists the chance to have their own site from which to display and sell their art. Foliotwist offers quite a lot of perks for those choosing to build their site here—SEO support, integrated Paypal buttons, blogging capability, unlimited image uploading, and much more. The tagline at foliotwist is “better artist websites” which may or may not be the case depending on your preferences and needs. It is worth checking out more than one option when choosing where to build your website to see which one will be the best match for you.
That’s right, Facebook. Social media can be a powerful tool when it comes to selling art online. For an artist just starting out, this can be a way to ease in to the idea of putting your work out into the world. You have a prebuilt audience of family and friends who all have a vested interest in seeing you succeed and what’s more, they all have the ability to share your posts with their own networks. You may recall our post about Patrick Skoff who built a very successful career by utilizing his social media outlets as means to sell his artwork. Take a minute to read his story if you haven’t and see how he made Facebook work for him.
For the photographers among us, 500px is an excellent resource where you can begin to generate income in multiple ways. By all accounts, 500px is an elegant choice for any photographer. Their interface gets top reviews and the portfolio templates (even the default) are spectacular. 500px offers a marketplace feature where photographers can sell their work. The site is well-known which makes it a good way to generate potential customers and, unlike photo sharing sites like Flickr, 500px is aimed at professional photographers which means that your work won’t be jumbled up with a whole lot of iPhone snaps and random vacation shots. There are three pricing options, depending on what features are important to you and 500px can also help you license your best photos.
This is, without competition, the largest online art community out there. Because of this, there are some pros and cons to consider. DeviantArt (or dA) offers a gallery where over 65 million visitors per month are said to browse. This means that the potential is quite high from a sheer volume standpoint. dA also has over 30 million users uploading their artwork which means that the pool of available art is frankly enormous. There is a very popular tumblr associated with dA where artists can submit their work for consideration to be showcased. While there is a lot of competition, someone has to be chosen so it’s never a bad idea to try. Bottom line: dA can be a great resource for an artist hoping to sell online or generate exposure but probably shouldn’t be your only, or even your primary outlet.