Monday, September 13, 2010

Ask the Editor: Where should I sell my artwork online?

Ask the Editor: Where should I sell my artwork online?

As the Senior Editor of it is not uncommon for me to receive requests for advice from artists. One of the most asked about subjects happens to be focused on selling art online. It is safe to say that I receive at least a dozen to well over a hundred versions of this questions per month on Facebook, Twitter, or by email. Thus, I feel that I should tap into this question once again even though I know that I’ve covered it before on the Myartspace Blog.

One of the most common questions is a variant of “Where should I sell my art online?”. As Senior Editor of it goes without saying that I will often suggest our eCommerce platform-- The New York Art Exchange -- NYAXE (See, ). However, I always point out that if an artist is going to utilize an online art community or art focused social network for the purpose of eCommerce he or she would be best served by choosing a platform that fits his or her artwork. Furthermore, an artist should choose an eCommerce platform on an art site that promotes itself-- overall-- with a level of professionalism that matches the artists personal ambition.

If you consider yourself a fine artist you may want to avoid utilizing eCommerce capabilities on an art site that tends to focus on art that is of less quality than your own-- or if the artwork on the site tends to simply not ‘fit’ in the direction you have chosen with your art. You want to represent yourself with an eCommerce platform that embraces the market for your type of work. In other words, if your goal is to exhibit in legitimate brick & mortar galleries that cater to fine art you may be wasting your time by promoting and selling your art on an art site that focuses predominately on fan art or craft. You need to go where your market is!

Point blank-- do you really want the oil painting you worked weeks, months, or years on to be featured next to a sketch of a popular anime or movie character on standard notebook paper? If those types of works dominate the art site chances are the buyers utilizing the eCommerce platform on the site go there with said work in mind. In other words, they are not looking for your fine art painting-- they are looking for an Edward vs. Jacob drawing. Again, you need to go where your market is AND use the eCommerce capability on an art site that understands your market.

When considering this you must also consider how the art site you use fits into your overall marketing plan. Does the site represent your goals as far as selling your art online is concerned? Does the site reflect your dedication and professionalism? Ask yourself the following questions:

* How does the site promote itself and thus the members of the site?

* What quality of artwork does the site tend to feature?

* What kind of reputation does the site have?

I can’t speak for other art sites that offer eCommerce capabilities nor will I use this entry as a way to knock other art sites that are available. However, as Senior Editor I can answer for

The question-- “How does the site promote itself and thus the members of the site?”

My answer-- Aside from the typical methods of site promotion-- such as opt in email, blog, street teams and other forms of marketing and advertising-- we at have a history of promoting the site and our members at top art venues. For example, has been an exhibitor at the Bridge Art Fair, Aqua Art Miami, and this December we will be exhibiting with the SCOPE Art Show for the first time.

I am proud to say that is one of only a few artist social networking sites to be accepted by these venues-- which I believe reveals the importance and reputation that the site has within the context of the mainstream art world. The exposure that has received from exhibiting at these venues is important to our members because it introduces the MYARTSPACE community to thousands of art admires and collectors from throughout the world.

Furthermore, has been promoted in the form of special events in key cities throughout the world. For example, we have had an exhibit of member art in the heart of Manhattan’s art scene, have had several exhibits in Palo Alto, California, and have had an exhibit at SCREAM LONDON in London, England. These exhibits featured competition winners while at the same time exposing the site in general to gallery-goers.

The question-- “What quality of artwork does the site tend to feature?”

My answer-- Featured artists tend to create the same caliber of artwork that you may find in high-profile contemporary art galleries and art museums in New York City or London. In fact, many of our Featured artists happen to have exhibited at some of the most prestigious galleries and art museums in the world.

For example, I know of a Featured member who has exhibited at the Gagosian Gallery in both New York and London-- and others who have exhibited at Mary Boone Gallery, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, and the Tate Modern-- the list goes on. Furthermore, there are Featured artists who have been reviewed in art magazines such as Art in America, Juxtapoz, and ARTnews.

Furthermore, has a history of teaming up with world-class curators and art critics to create competitive forums from which the best art on the site can be highlighted and recognized. has worked with or is working with art jurors from The San Francisco MOMA, the Tate Modern Museum, the National Portrait Gallery, the Whitney Museum, the San Jose Museum of Art, New American Paintings, the Art Institute of Chicago, Sotheby's Institute of Art, and the Rhode Island School of Design-- just to name a few.

Point blank-- We at are very selective in our process as far as featuring artists is concerned. We take the process very serious because we want the selection process to be something artists will be proud to list as an accomplishment. This is why I’ve long said that has raised the bar for what is expected from an online art community and art focused social network.

The question-- “What kind of reputation does the site have?”

My answer-- I think the reputation of within the context of the mainstream art world is obvious. Art fairs such as Aqua and SCOPE are very selective in who they accept as exhibitors. Their reputation and professionalism is on the line with every exhibitor they choose to accept and promote. Needless to say, these venues don’t accept every art gallery that applies-- and it is very rare for them to accept a website as an exhibitor.

This is why I say that online traffic is not everything when it comes to art. I’m fully aware that there are a few online art communities that receive more traffic than However, those art sites-- as popular as they may appear to be by numbers alone-- have not exhibited at venues like SCOPE and my guess is that they never will. Why? Because their selection process for featured artists is not professional, their art competitions are juvenile, and their membership is generally not focused on the mainstream art world.

In closing, if you are a fine artist who chooses to utilize eCommerce capabilities on an art site you should do so with an art site that reflects the market for your art and your level of professionalism-- one that focuses on attracting that standard of art buyer. If you are a fine artist the eCommerce platform offered by may very well be what you are seeking.

Take care, Stay true,

Brian Sherwin
Senior Editor

1 comment:

Rise Art said...

Great Article. In general, what goes for Galleries also goes for Online Galleries. But then one should also take cost and resources into account.
Bottomline, there is no one size fits all...