Talking about the sustainability of an artistic career is a huge topic which raises all sorts of controversies and debates. I am exploring the online market and what it has to offer to artists – It could after all be their new (or not so new) way forward!
In looking for new ideas on art and “the business of art”, I came across many websites providing platforms for artists to sell their works. I wonder – Can artists be entrepreneurs too? Can artists make a living selling online?
I browsed many art e-shops – there are hundreds of websites brokering art, but the following are quite unique in that the artists themselves are managing their works online.
www.newbloodart.com – buy original art online
www.buysomedamnart.com – the site says it all – buy some d@mn (original) art!
www.artpickle.com – platform to artists and events (a directory with extra features, if you like)
www.mischmasch.com – online artist community with social networking features
www.Etsy.com – a range of shops online, including arts and crafts
Many interesting works are being sold online and e-shopping is really changing the way consumers shop. But how open minded and trusting are we on purchasing art online?
Looking at several shops on Etsy.com, I found that most e-shopping for original artworks, prints, photography, sculptures and all sorts of craft are supported by buyers in America and the United Kingdom. Most Etsy.com craft shops are also from these two countries. In the Asia continent listings, Etsy.com craft shops are made up mainly of suppliers of arts and crafts. Aside from apparels, Asian arts and crafts are near nothing in the Etsy.com community. And where there are, sales volumes are extremely low.
So, if the marketplace is driven by demand and supply, is there no demand for Asian works; or is there no supply?
In several interviews, online gallery owners claim that there are buyers in the western countries who purchase art online ranging from tens to thousands of US dollars. Perhaps, what is being experienced is the confidence in online art shopping amongst Asians. While shoppers are willing to part with USD10 for a pair of socks bought online, the same cannot be said about a USD10 print. The confidence is still not yet embedded. I would say that when a buyer does buy that print, he will be thinking “lets see if this works” before he clicks the “confirm purchase” button, instead of “Alright! Can’t wait for that print to get here!”.
A great shopping feature is the feedback form. Etsy.com does this well, and platforms should encourage this feature too. It gives new comers to online art shopping a sense of security and confidence.
So, do these online art shopping sites really help the artists? Logically it should as the internet is our world (and shopping mall!), but to what extent would it sustain artists to continue in their craft?
Is selling online only for the hobbyists or can internet marketers really take art shopping to the next level?
I suppose it all has to start somewhere – so I thought I’d share a few arts and craft sites from this part of the world that are quite interesting and creative, deserving a shout out to the world. Let us hope that their online shops can take off and we see them continue sharing their works of art.
(Illustrations on print)
Happy Online Art Shopping!