When we create, we are enthusiastic about it, love showing what we make to others, and they love to see what we are doing. It ranges from “Look, Ma!” to worldwide websites. We also do it through markets, stalls, restaurants, exhibitions and galleries.
But we want to sell our art as well!
On Internet, you can create a facebook page, website or blog where you can publish your artwork and your CV and also write about your art and your life as an artist. Such a platform makes it easy to share your work and show it at any time to friends, family, admirers, supporters and customers anywhere in the world. It serves as you online information package.
Fitsmallbusiness website states that "to sell products on Facebook, you first need a dedicated Facebook page for your business (not your personal page). Next, either connect your ecommerce platform to Facebook or upload your product category manually. Then, you’ll have to market your products and your Facebook Shop through ads, contests, and boosted posts." (https://fitsmallbusiness.com/how-to-sell-on-facebook-shop/, 14 July 2021)
The advantage of using your personal profile for your art is that you have a wider reach without advertising, even though you may not mention prices. You may however say that people may inbox you for prices.
I have a friend who uses her Facebook profile ONLY for art and people connect with her because they are interested in her as an artist. From time to time, she launches special promotions of art that is available through her instead of through galleries and she always generates sales through them. She also promotes projects and gallery exhibitions through Facebook to support the marketing done by the galleries who host her work.
Although Facebook allows you to add prices to products on a business page, they limit your reach, except if you advertise or pay to have posts boosted. Apparently it is more effective to advertise, as a boosted post just gets dished up to anybody in the world who tends to “Like” posts a lot. The result is a random audience that is not necessarily interested in your art or intend to ever visit you page again.
The website Artpromotivate.com is a mine of information for promoting your art via the internet. According to them and many other sources, there are many portfolio websites where artists can showcase their work, but your own site or blog should be the first priority. All other platforms and social media sites should lead people to your website or blog, which you can link with an eCommerce platform such as Shopify. Read about the pros and cons of Shopify compared to other eCommerce platforms at https://yourartempire.com/ecom-platform/, 14 July 2021)
If you join as many portfolio sites as possible or create numerous social media profiles, you might just end up spending time on the internet instead of at the easel. Wordpress is generally regarded as a trusted free website host. Focus on the social media platform which you enjoy and where you have already established a circle of friends and connections – be that Facebook, Twitter, Flicker, etc.
The tried and tested "old-fashioned" options of selling through art galleries and other physical outlets are still valid options for selling art. Some businesses like restaurants and farm stalls might love to display your art without taking a commission on sales, but remember that it is an incentive for them to try to make sales happen. They could even pass it on to their staff as an incentive. Even if they do not want to take a commission, insist on it, to make sure they take art sales seriously.
At the other end other end of the scale, professional galleries that take up to 60% commission - and even more. Remember that they have huge overheads and create a beautiful environment aimed specifically at selling your art.
It is advisable to keep your selling price the same at all venues, also online, otherwise you confuse your market. You cannot ask more at the outlets that take more commission, as that would discourage customers to buy from them. They would also not appreciate you undercutting their prices at other, maybe less professional outlets, so they will not want to work with you in the end.
Also remember that you have to honour your agreement with a business that is putting your work up for sale. Your business relations will sour and erode quickly if you allow customers to persuade you to fetch work from the gallery and sell it to them minus the commission.
Another avenue of selling art, is through commissions. If you are commissioned to do an artwork, it is important to understand exactly what the customer wants. Anything vague might result in them telling you in the end that it was not what they imagined. Which translates to: Be careful to try to give life to somebody else’s flights of fancy.
You could also get the “it’s not what I had in mind” when the client wants to get out of the agreement. The answer to that is to only take on a commission that you would love to do anyway and could be offered for sale through your outlets if the client refuses to honour your agreement.
It is also advisable to insist on a non-refundable deposit. That would ensure that others do not lightly toy with your talents and skills, as if you are the mouse and they are playing with Bit Paint on the computer. Don’t even start before receipt of a deposit. Be sure to agree to a reasonable deadline for completion.
You could give customers an option to pay monthly over a period of time that suits them, with a commitment to show proof of progress at every month end. If no monthly payment is forthcoming, stop working on the commission until a payment is made.
It is best to make delivery and insurance the customers responsibility. You might want to include packaging costs in your initial quote! If you live in a city, the packaging could be delegated to the courier if they are experienced art conveyers, but it might be better to package an artwork yourself, as you’ll have an understanding of its vulnerabilities.