It’s Sunday, December 10, 2023 and 44°F in Austin, Texas
Artists Still Scared of the Web??
top 10 reasons artists resist going online
The art market on the web is exploding. Collectors are out there spending thousands online for the works of people like yourself — paintings, graphics, sculpture, fine crafts — anything you can create. Now this assumes you have something people want to buy and the price is right. Talent - well, what is talent? Is it technique? Is it a sense of style or a unique perception of the world? Who knows what creativity is and where it comes from. In my opinion to sell art on the web you need passion and drive. You also need to be risk taker, someone willing to take a chance, to try something new — experiment.
There are many artists who are, frankly, scared of the web. This is a bigger issue the older one is. Young artists who have grown up with the web have no fear of it, but the older one is the more resistance I find — well, let's not call it resistance — maybe apprehension is a better word.
Here are the top ten objections I hear from artists about going on the web:
1. No one will buy my work
Well - you will never know if you don't try. There are many places where you can post images of your work online. Some are more craft oriented and others are focused on 'fine art'. You would be surprised at the number of sites that sell in Etsy type websites, online galleries and art auctions. Everybody knows the famous auction houses like Sotheby's and Christie's but have you heard of Artnet? The average price of an artwork sold through Artnet is $6,800 - a big increase over last year when it was $5,000. 14% of all Artnet sales are online sales and the company believes that percentage will grow dramatically over the next few years. In 2010 Artnet sold $12M over the net. There are new places all the time, like Art.sy, called a "digital bridge to brick and mortar galleries and auction houses"
2. Someone will steal all my ideas if I put pictures on the web
I really hear this a lot. It used to be a bigger issue a few years ago. People think other artists - or the Chinese even - will see your pictures and duplicate them. I won't say this never happens, but it is greatly overblown. The production time for the Chinese is a year or more and they are focused entirely on cheap reproductions of great masters and kitschy type junk that no real artist creates anyway. Anybody can copy anything if they want. They can take pictures of your stuff in a gallery or at an art fair. There are a million and one opportunities for people to steal ideas already out there. So I say — don't worry about it!
3. I don't have any idea how to put my pictures up on the web
I can understand this, we spend more time teaching people how to make there pictures for the web than anything else. People always tell us they can't do it and then a few weeks later they have put up 100 items on the web without our help. It really is easy. Once you know how it will be a breeze. Words like pixels, RGB, sharping — they will become second nature for you. Just give yourself a chance and try! I know one artist who was totally intimidated by Photoshop and refused to try it for over a year, finally he did it and six months later he's an online digital artist.
4. I am afraid someone will buy something, I'll ship it and never get paid. I'll get scammed.
It happens, not often, but it does. Make sure you know your customers. Always require payment in advance. Never ship overseas to people you don't know. Be careful in business and you'll protect yourself. In 15 years of doing business on the web I was scammed twice. Once we got an order from the Emirates for $50,000 in art. It was totally legitimate. We asked them to wire us the money in advance and it came in two days. They ordered more from us for years and years. People who have money, have money. People who don't try and negotiate payment terms or can't pay you right away. If it sounds fishy, it probably is.
5. I don't know how to sell myself
This can be a huge problem for some artists. You have to think of yourself as a "brand". Often times artists can suffer from a negative self-image or are overly modest. Many find it difficult to describe themselves and their work. When I run into artists with this problem I say, "Let ME describe you! I won't be shy!" You need a coach a muse to inspire you! That's what Pallasart can do.
6. I don't have a website
You don't have to have a website to sell online. Sites like Etsy or Hybrid Mom Bazaar allow you to establish your own shop within their site. They are incredibly easy to set up! Pallasart can set up your own site. Sometimes galleries will pay for your site, but then you are tied to them.
7. I don't have a system to take credit cards
If you sell through some online sites you won't have to worry about this. They will take the money and send you your share once the commission has been deducted. There is also the option for you to set up a PayPal account. PayPal will allow your customers to use credit cards or send money from their bank accounts. PayPal has different options for you to get your money. PayPal is incredibly simple and easy to use. Call us if you want to learn more.
8. Online sellers will take everything in commissions
In the olden days galleries took 40 - even 50 and 60% in commissions. The web has made this much more competitive. The fees from many online sellers are small. Some online sellers charge a monthly fee to have your store in their website. Some charge a commission for each sale your make. Make sure you understand what the charges are, but don't be too worried. Most online sellers want your listings and are competing with other sites for business. This can drive the prices lower.
9. What happens if my business explodes — will I be able to keep up?
This can happen, but it does it's a great thing. Don't take your success (when it comes) for granted. You can be riding high one year and be forgotten the next. It happens. This more of an issue for fashion designers, but it happens all the time. The style and beauty market moves quickly, very quickly. Trends in the art world are slower for contemporary art.
10. I don't know where to start!
The first step is the hardest, just getting going can be a challenge. And - I have to say it's an ongoing effort to market yourself. Be confident, give it try and get yourself out there. Selling art on the web is being your own master. You can't be fired — no matter how old you are. You can live anywhere and you make your own hours. The talent thing - well it's up to your customers, isn't it. What people like they like. It's great to get paid for your work and you can make an excellent living today on the web as an artist. Good luck and Godspeed here's my wish for success and fortune as you set out on a new adventure!