Art is communication. It’s not complete until it reaches other people. All the better if they can own it, see it every day, and be a little changed by it. That’s why you make it.
Also, some money would be nice.
As we buy more and more of our special things online, there are more art dealing websites than ever. Just as you’re thoughtful about how you create, you want to be smart about how you sell. That means picking the right place to show your stuff. And that means asking yourself some questions.
Are your pieces one of a kind or game to print for anyone with broadband? Are you aiming for a wider audience that might discover you by surprise or a targeted group totally focused on your field? Are you ready to be considered by a big name in the business, or is it time to sidestep the permission process?
Would you rather pay less and do more to grab attention for yourself, or let the site you settle on do the heavy lifting?
Let’s look at some top options so you can see what fits you best.
As the OG of crafty goodness, everybody knows that if they want handmade design, they’ll find it on Etsy. For a negligible listing fee — 0.20 percent of each sale — and a payment processing fee of 3 percent plus $0.25, you can place your work in a market that draws millions of shoppers, whether you’re a painter, illustrator, jewelry maker, sculptor, or you weave baskets out of hair.
Simple, direct, and cheap, this is a quick way to get anything you create in front of customers who might not know they’re looking for you until they find you.
Conversely, Artfinder gathers a select community exclusively dedicated to fine art, welcoming a global flock of more than 500,000 aficionados. Only limited edition originals are accepted. You’ll need to submit an artist’s statement that describes the inspiration and form of your work and wait to hear if you’re approved.
You’ll pay a heftier commission — 35 to 42 percent of each sale — but being displayed in a curated collective of independent artists boosts the value of your views, upping interest in your body of work from a specific audience.
3. Saatchi Art
If shiny credibility appeals to you, why not shoot for the moon and set up shop at Saatchi Art? Though under new ownership since 2014, this online gallery wears one of the art world’s most famed names. With 1 million social media followers and another million catalogue subscribers, you’ll get in front of plenty of people who are already prepared to snag their next masterpiece.
Both originals and prints are accepted, and there’s no approval process. Though their commission is a touch higher than Artfinder, the extra cost covers the convenience of Saatchi sending a courier to pick up your packaged piece and getting it shipped for you when you make a sale.
Maybe you’d rather skip the commission altogether. On Artplode, which features more than $10 million worth of art, artists can sell their art to enthusiasts around the world. Likewise, art dealers can buy art from all over.
Here, you pay a flat fee of $60 for each listing rather than shell out a percentage of your sales, so you’ll always know exactly what you can look forward to bringing home from your buyer. You can even check your pricing against fair market estimates right on the site to make sure you’re keeping in tune with demand. Especially for your more expensive opuses, you can count on keeping more of the worth of your work, though you’ll take charge of customer communications and delivery logistics yourself.
If you’re more of a “come and get it” kind of creator, Redbubble may be closer to your speed. It’s fast and easy to upload your images for printing on canvas, stickers, totes, shirts, cases, and cards. You set your own profit margins and let Redbubble handle printing, payments, shipping, and every detail of customer service. What’s better than running a business without having to get all businessy? Plus, you keep all the rights to your work, so you can sell as many products as you like without selling yourself short.
You’re an artist. The “struggling” part is optional. Let the internet help you connect with collectors around the world. Get seen, get sold, and get back to the work you love.