It seems when buying art, customers still want a relationship with an actual person (a gallery person or the artist).....not a nebulous web site or social networking community.
We, at FineArtViews, already knew this fact because of our background
of owning and running a retail art gallery, and, indeed, it has been the topic of many of our past articles.
Interestingly, we noticed a poll on the respected art blog, Empty Easel
, titled, "Where do Most Artists Sell Art?
" And the poll results confirm what we've been telling you here - art buyers want to deal with you
, the artist (or the gallery) directly.
When we last checked the poll, there had been 77 responses which is, admittedly, not enough to be a "statistically valid" but interesting anecdotal evidence nonetheless.
Of the 77 responses, 17 people replied that they really didn't sell, so, actually only 60 responses can be counted as valid for determining where
people are selling.
Here is the important part:
71.6% respondents reported that methods that establish a direct relationship with the artist or artist's gallery are more effective that online art community sites.
By far the largest selling venue was "Walk-In art galleries" with a total of 25% of the vote (after adjusting for the non-sellers).
The second largest selling venue by a large margin was "My own website" (as we expected)...which means that having your own website is the most important selling venue for artists who don't have walk-in gallery representation
....and makes "My own website" the number one
online venue for art sales.
This makes sense. It's like the saying in the tech community, "The internet is
the platform" which means, there is no need for new networking platforms (social networks, communities, etc) because the internet itself
is the platform. So, for example, when we want to buy a piece of art, why would we go to an online art community site when we can simply go directly to the artist's personal
web site? Answer: we wouldn't (and as actual art buyers, we don't).
Here is our summary of the poll results (reformatted to eliminate the people who responded that they don't sell):
"Direct" Selling Methods:
Walk-in art galleries: 25%
Your own web site: 15%
Out in public drawing: 8.3%
Art festivals: 8.3%
Open Studio Events: 5%
Your own e-bay auction 10%
"Indirect" Online community Methods:
The other 14 online sites listed totaled 28.4% combined
, which would be an average of only 2.02% for any one online community.
The other sites listed were Imagekind (6.6%), Artist Rising (0%), Art.com (1.6%), Boundless Gallery (5%), Yessey (1.6%), PicassoMio (0%), ArtByUs.com(0%), Artflock (1.6%), GoZabo (0%), OriginalArtOnline (0%), RedBubble (5%), Etsy (3.3%), Zazzle (1.6%) and Cafrepress (1.6%).
What about blogs?
One tidbit that we found very interesting - no one
listed a blog as a selling platform. It was not in the original poll options and no readers added it as an option. We find this interesting because most art commentators are constantly telling artists why
they should be blogging....and there certainly are good reasons to blog, but just interesting that nobody reported selling
from a blog. Perhaps blogs are being lumped under the "My own website" option as a blog really is just a special type of web site.
So here is our advice on how to sell artwork, which really hasn't changed:
1. Start by honing your craft - produce the best work that you possibly can.
2. Set up your own, stand-alone web site with your own domain name.
3. Make sure your web site can capture visitor's email addresses
4. Approach galleries and get your work displayed in a good walk-in art gallery (or more than one).
5. Use your list of email addresses collected from your site to promote yourself, your work and your galleries.
6. If, and only if, you have time, set up free accounts on some of the other fourteen sites listed in the poll. Don't expect many sales from those sites - look at them as "advertising" to direct traffic to your web site. No one of them is likely to drive much traffic to your site but all fourteen together might send you enough to garner a few clients....and in the art game a few clients can make a big difference.
Software Craftsman and Art Fanatic
PS - if you need your own full-featured, stand-alone website (shown by Empty Easel's poll to be the number one online venue for art sales) - visit our sister site FineArtStudioOnline
for a 60 day free trial.
PPS - although not listed in the poll, our advice about social networking sites like Myspace, Facebook, Linkedin, etc - look at them as advertising. Don't waste much time on them other than perhaps to look for ways to drive some traffic to your