I am receiving lots of questions to use writing Ask Stape posts. I thought that I might write about one that I received here tonight. Below is the obligatory Ask Stape picture, which I have learned to make even smaller.
More and more artists are using the social media (Twitter, Facebook, etc)
to network and also market their art. Several artists have recently sent me invites to a Twitter live
"art reception" for an online exhibit. Are galleries going to become a thing of the past? I just sold a painting on e-bay for nine dollars and I am planning on quitting my job as a lecturer on hedgehog dentition. I understand that thousands of Americans are now making a living online with the painting a day phenomenon. What do you think of this trend?
I am glad you have provided me with the opportunity to upset a few hundred more artists before bedtime. Here's what I think.
I don't believe that the gallery trade is going away any time soon. Things are changing in the art world, and art sales online are growing. I think Internet marketing is a good thing to add to your efforts to sell art. It may some day be enough, but I don't think it is yet. The Internet participates in many of my sales because buyers can research me before deciding to invest in my art. But most people still want to stand before a dealer and see the painting in the "flesh", they also still want the expertise of a dealer helping them select their art.
Imagine if you and I were having coffee one morning, the phone rang, and it was the local nuclear power plant asking "Say, as long as you're up, do you wanna grab a couple of those cobalt rods for us? So you and I run into Reactors Are Us, and we are leaning over the freezer case and scratching our heads, should we get the ten footers? or the twelves with the cesium filters?
That's what its like buying a painting for most people. They need a dealer to help them. The price of art is too high for people to guess. Just like you would buy a two dollar watch on the street, but not a two thousand dollar watch, when the numbers get high people want to buy from a vendor they perceive as expert and reliable.
There's the problem with buying art on the Internet. Up to a couple of hundred dollars people will buy art online, above that it gets scary. Some still will, but generally they are buying from a well established artist whose work they know, and they feel reassured that if they don't like it they can return it or resell it, because of its proven value. That is particularly true when the artist is dead and has a auction record that reflects consistent prices higher than that asked online.
In order to make a living as an artist you will need to sell art that costs more than a couple of hundred dollars here is a post I wrote about that. It assumes a dealer in the sale but the basic idea remains the same. you may sell some low priced paintings online, but I think that selling enough to make a living is a long shot. There are a few people doing it, but very few. The problem with playing at the bottom of the market is that some one is always racing you to sell even more cheaply. They can always underprice you and as the prices circle ever lower, it gets to be all about the price rather than the quality. There are people who are so delighted to sell a painting that they will sell their art at a price that barely returns them the cost of their materials, much less pays for their time. How do you make a living competing with that? If you want to put a little work into your art for qualities sake, you get underpriced . I don't mean to say you need to be fabulously expensive, but the bottom of the market is not a very nice place to play. It is cutthroat, Darwinian and vicious, and the last thing to bring there is carefully crafted art of quality. You will always be dealing with people who constantly demand lower and still lower prices, and then treat you with the contempt deserved by the creators and purveyors of shoddy goods everywhere.
I have some more ground to cover so I will return to this tomorrow night, as the lemurs are cooing softly for their suppers.