Like a lot of artists, Jamie was eager to tap into the online market to sell work. Plenty of friends seemed to be using internet outlets to find a market for their art so it couldn’t be that complex. Jamie’s college roommate Adrian had recently quit a full-time job, and took a part time one and begun developing an income off the sales from art sold mostly online. This new way of life afforded plenty of time to be in the studio as well as the opportunity to further grow an art career.
Meanwhile, Jamie still trekked to and from a job that meant little in order to subsidize a home and food to eat as well as be able to practice art during what precious little free time was left. It was no the ideal way of life for someone who was driven by artistic passion. Jamie was beginning to feel extremely drained and resentful.
During an annual trip to the mountains with a bunch of college friends, Jamie decided it was time to find out how Adrian was making things work. This meant setting aside a sense of independent pride he carried when it came to artistic success. It meant letting go of the idea that asking for guidance or assistance meant some sort of failure.
Talking to Adrian helped Jamie understand a few things. First and foremost that being an artist means relying on your broader community when it comes to finding ways forward. Pride does nothing but get in the way.
More specifically, Jamie learned that there are some avenues when it comes to online sales that just work better than others. He also learned that some work sells online better than others.
While many websites offer artists an outlet for online sales by hosting virtual galleries, many of these sites are so saturated with work that it’s impossible to be seen in the crowd.
Additionally, there are places that attract more serious collectors and others that don’t. Knowing the difference can be of vital importance.
Two places online that Jamie used to begin building his own sales were;
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.
Building the sale of work into your artistic routine is also critical when it comes to creating any sort of career. While it may feel like there is no time left between studio practice, day to day responsibilities, and perhaps the pull of another job, even devoting an hour daily to the inner workings of your art business can help you slowly build toward greater independence.
None of this is intuitive. Reaching out for help is how we succeed in all things. If talking to friends is unfavorable or impossible, remember that Praxis Center is always an option when it comes to learning the business of the art world.