Selling art online – The pitfalls and how I overcame them
July 26, 2018
Art, these days, is available in the most unlikely of places. Walking down the street, you can find paintings done with spray cans, gracing the walls of once boring, drab buildings. You can turn on your computer and be instantly connected to a world that once thrived only in upmarket showrooms and galleries, where your presence might not have been truly wanted.
As an artist and a Founder of a company that deals in art, I find it overly saturating and somewhat tedious, trying to navigate the many platforms and service offers to display my own artworks. The majority of which, require you to fork out large sums just to appear in an exhibition or in an online showroom.
Saatchi Art have a great platform, but there are so many artists, mine got a little lost amongst the hordes. I receive mail after mail from the UK, offering all kinds of exhibitions, if only I’ll pay a small fee. All these fees add up. Coupled with advertising costs on social media and in interior design magazines and I’d say I’ve broken even, with what I have sold, minus the above costs and the cost of my materials. Pens and paints married with good canvases and high-quality paper, don’t come cheap.
In my search to find a solution, I realized my target market want a little bit of luxury, to imbue they have a high standard of living on par with the Royals and anyone else who might have a Rolls in their garage. People with money. Shallow, I hear you say? Yes, absolutely. If I counted the times that people have written to me, requesting a painting, drawing or commission, only to have them back out or not return messages, I’d have enough to retire on now. I’m forty. You do the math. I have in fact, four prints, three unpaid commissions, and one original drawing, all packaged and ready to be sent, sitting on my table. Alas, at the final moment, payments did not surface. Some of them have been sitting on the to send pile for over a year. Another original drawing that I was fond of, that a lady requested to buy, I ended up unwrapping as I thought it was too precious to leave in the pile. When I moved house in March, the pile moved with me.
There’s also the pricing issue. When quoted the price of an original, commissioned drawing, some of my prospective clients replied with, they thought it was the same price as the prints advertised on my website. You’re just starting out, they’d say when a look of grief washed over my face. I want to support you, I’d hear them say as a means to justify their stated low price. The price they were willing to pay. As mentioned previously, I’m forty. I’ve been doing this a while.
So, yes. People with money, who appreciate art and know the value and time spent in creating the works. It seems I need to pose almost naked, draping myself over the works to get any kind of reaction these days. Trust me, you probably don’t want to see that! Well, maybe you do, but let’s not discuss the issues you have here.
The advice I want to give is, do your research. Make sure your target market can actually pay for your products and do so in a timely manner. Due diligence of clients and possible sales opportunities takes time, but it’s worth it in the long run. Respect your market and lift up your chin. You are worth the price you put on your products. You are worth every damn penny.