Selling artwork online
by Lisa Timmerman
I think, whether we’re established artists used to selling our work in galleries or newly confident artists hoping to pay some bills, our online presence is going to be really important over the coming months and years so the sooner we start building it the better.
Over the years, many of us have been reluctant to share our work and ourselves online for fear of fraud or humiliation, preferring to sell our work in a more conventional gallery setting with a gallerist to buffer our sensitive artistic souls and having a website to back it up.
There is still something to be said for having a website but it’s not completely necessary and if we’re not going to keep it updated or use social media to divert people there then it may not be working effectively enough for us.
A place to start will be on a social media platform that our colleagues, friends, clubs or societies are using. There we can find our customers, our supporters, our inspiration, our joint social initiatives and our motivation.
More than 70 of the Leicester Society of Artists are currently using Instagram as a way to display their work in progress. They are building a following of both friends and strangers who regularly see their work and watch its progress, becoming emotionally invested and interested in the artist.
This does not happen overnight. It’s a slow but natural process of communicating with people. If you only post photos of your work but never comment on anyone else’s then you’ll remain on the outside. Being sociable on social media platforms is a difficult step for many people to take but the evidence suggests that it’s a worthwhile investment of your time and energy.
When you consider who the first people were to buy your work, it’s likely that friends were buying for a while before a total stranger bought it. We are drawn to buying art that we have an emotional connection with and this is part of the reason social media is a good place to involve ‘total strangers’ in your process on a regular basis. In your ‘bio’ is a link to your website which you refer to as the place to ‘find out more’.
On your website is the opportunity to subscribe to your newsletter or blog and that way you build your own personal audience of fans and potential collectors of your work.
It may seem like an enormous amount of effort but can be taken in small steps, one at a time, with a result which may surprise and even inspire you.