I’ve heard many artists say that they won’t sell their work online because they don’t want to lose their gallery representation. “You can’t do that,” say the gallery owners.
I’m just going to come out and say this: if a gallery says you can’t sell your work yourself, stop working with that gallery (and on your way out the door, make sure they know you’re not coming back).
Generally speaking, a gallery is run by a single person, or in some cases, a small group of people. There is just no way that a gallery can do as much for your art by itself as you can in working with the gallery.
Galleries will tell you that selling your art online cheapens your art.
Nothing could be further from the truth. There has been an absolute explosion of online art sales in the last few years. It seems like every month I see another online gallery opening, and many of them sell original work that ranges well into the thousands of dollars. ArtfulHome.com has an original piece on sale right now for $9,000. Will they sell it? Recently they sold an entire edition of Brian Kershisnik’s work in just a few months.
Galleries will tell you that fine art originals don’t sell online.
Also not true. In the webinar that I conducted on Tuesday night, Rebecca told me that December 2009 was her best month ever. How great is that? Besides Rebecca and Brian Kershisnik, there are many artists who are selling their work online for prices that continue to grow. The most popular art sites on the Web are seeing this trend pick up pace. If you are an Etsy fan, you know that a couple of years ago, everything that was on the site was priced at the “I made this in my spare time” price. Now, a cursory glance at Etsy shows professional artist prices. Paintings and sculptures selling for hundreds(or thousands) of dollars.
Galleries will say if it’s hard to find it’s more valuable.
There is a certain mystery to a piece of art that is rare or hard to find. This works for some artists. If you can pull it off, more power to you. This goes back to the gatekeeper discussion. If you are an artist who can get into the world of the elite art collectors, then you don’t need this site. Be careful though, because if you ever fall out of favor with the power elite, you’re done for.
You can sell art through your own site.
Your website should be organized as the central hub for all of your activity on the Web. Your Etsy store should link back to your website. So should your offline gallery’s website (they do have a website, right? Seriously?), other artists that you work with, and any other place where you sell.
Here’s the deal. If you really want to be in control of your art sales, if you really want to control your life and your career and your time – you need to take the time to make your online presence as good as possible. Don’t let anyone – not galleries, friends, other artists, or a random internet stranger, tell you that you can’t sell your work online. There are hundreds of artists doing it now. Be strong and do it your way.