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You Can Be Your Own Gallery: Sell Your Art Online

Sep 10, 2008
Becoming a successful, paid artist used to be just a fantasy for many, but now with the access of the Internet, many artists are finding customers all over the world to buy their art. There are several different methods artists use to showcase and sell their art, and over extensive research, I've tried many of them. I thought it would be nice to share some of my discoveries with other artists looking for a little bit of help in this department.

Let me first state that the following information is directed toward anyone who wants to sell his or her artwork and doesn't care if it is done through a gallery or not. This is more of a 'do-it-yourself' technique.

One way to show the world your artwork is by making a custom portfolio website. You can easily make it yourself through services like Go Daddy.com or Names Direct.com, or you could pay someone else to do it for you. Before you go off and hire someone, you might want to consider the cost advantages of doing it yourself. After all, each time you'll need to add new information it could become costly with a web designer.

if you haven't already purchased a domain name, then you'll need to do this before you can build your site. There are literally thousands of companies available and you can find one by google searching 'domain name check'. For my portfolio site, I use two different domain names that both forward to the same place (GayleEtcheverry.com and GaylesPaintings.com). Since my last name is hard for people to pronounce, I figured it would be safe to create something simple too. it's proved to be quite successful for me.

A second option for showing off your artwork is by starting a personal blog. There are many companies available for this free service - two most popular being Blogger.com and Wordpress.com. This is probably the easiest way to display your artwork. In addition, a great feature blogs offer is an RSS feed. RSS feeds keep your fan base in the loop of all new content added to your blog. For example, once you upload a new painting to your blog, anyone who signed up for your RSS feed will instantly know about it!

If you don't already own a digital camera, you might want to do some research and purchase one. You can find a great camera for under $300. It is the perfect tool for uploading pictures of your art to your computer and then to the web.

Two websites I've used in the past to sell my artwork on are EBay and Etsy. I like them because hundreds of thousands of visitors check out their respective sites daily with many purchasing artwork. This gives the ability of people in different parts of the world to buy original artwork for a price that fits their pocketbook. Yes these companies do charge fees for listings, however it is much cheaper than the 50% commission most galleries would charge. Plus, you'll be able to accept credit cards from your customers by using a service called PayPal. Don't forget to add links between your portfolio site/blog and EBay/Etsy listings!

You could always sell your artwork right on your website if you feel comfortable doing so. Many artists currently do this instead of the typical sites like EBay and Etsy. Currently, I sell my paintings through my website, however sometimes I will post a painting through EBay or Etsy. I do suggest if you are new to this that you just start out on EBay or Etsy. It will help bring in new customers.

Another point I would like to make is in order to become successful at anything, you'd better become a great networker. If you are unfamilar with the term 'networker' then read on - a networker is a connector, one who builds business relationships on a win-win basis. Zig Ziglar is one of the worlds leading sales experts who said it best, "You can get everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want."

No matter where you go, you should always be prepared for networking either on the street or on the computer. The first thing to do is tell everyone in your life that you are selling your artwork online and you'd appreciate them helping to spread the word. If you should meet new people, kindly ask what kind of referrals they could use for their business and then tell them the types of referrals you would like to receive. Not sure of they type you are looking for? You want referrals of people who like to buy art, especially one-of-a-kind pieces created by you! Don't forget to always have business cards on hand with your blog/website domain name, and contact information so people can get a hold of you to buy your art.

Since you'll be spending more time online, you ought to sign up for some free networking websites. There are thousands of these available on the web. Some of the obvious are Myspace and Facebook, however there are many other sites out there that encourage you to post messages and links to your business sites (one such site is JasonsNetwork.com). Most importantly, you have the capability of meeting thousands of people all over the world - people that could turn into future clients!

This may sound a bit cheesy, but it is very important to stay confident and never give up. Continue to make your art, upload them to your website and plug away at promoting yourself. Ask people if they would like to join your subscriber list to stay notified of each new piece available for purchase. When you send these emails out, be sure to add active links to the artwork you are promoting and encourage your supporters to forward your email to anyone they feel would be interested in your art. Again, stick with it, it may take a little bit of time to get the word out there in the world, but in a little while you'll build your subscriber list and begin to sell your art. You'll be a paid working artist in no time!
About the Author
Los Angeles based artist, Gayle Etcheverry is pleased to share her tried and true tips so you can successfully begin to Sell Your Artwork Online.
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