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The landscape has changed for not only landscape artists, but artists of every medium. Online selling has changed the game for artists, who typically had to either hustle for sales or rely on the media, go-betweens and galleries to show an interest and arrange sales.
Guaranteeing financial security through a “patron of the arts” still exists, but more often than not, today’s artists are banking on their own talent and drive to carve out an artistic career. Luckily, there is a generous number of online platforms that help artists generate income. Here are five popular ways to make money as an artist online:
1. Selling Art Through Your Website
Some artists have the gumption to go it alone by setting up their own e-commerce business and selling art through a site storefront. Without having to count on middle persons, you can hold creative control over visuals and marketplace features. You’ll have to pay server fees, but your own website is a great tool to promote your brand and style while showcasing your portfolio.
2. Using Online Platforms
If you need a hand getting your art out to prospective buyers, there are plenty of agents and brokers running online sites. As far as platforms go, sites like ArtPal, Saatchi Art and UGallery offer a mix of curated original art and prints. Some, like Artfinder, only accept original paintings, photography, collages, sculptures, drawings and digital art, to sell for a commission or listing fee. On Artplode, buyers and sellers of art deal direct with each other with no commission charged.
Of course, there are plenty of bigger online platforms that can help you expose your work to potential buyers while providing varying levels of technical and marketing support, as well. For example, Etsy — the “shop for anything from creative people anywhere” — or eBay might get your work noticed by consumers due to their sheer size and popularity.
If you have an eye for site design and are skilled at customizing themes, creating an online shop through Shopify is an easy and flexible choice that will give you a personal website feel via a trusted platform. But if you aren’t ready to pay to create a premium theme, it may be hard to make your shop — and art — stand out from a host of others.
3. Art Prints and Digital Files
If you are tentative to part with your original work, there is a massive industry for buying and selling prints and digital files. Although these sell less than original artwork, you can chalk up innumerable sales with one piece of art.
As Bloomberg noted, “Prints have been around since the Renaissance, and have always occupied a slightly uneasy place in the art market. They’re designed by an artist and often signed by the artist, but they are, by definition, reproductions.”
But they are also big business. Prints are huge on Etsy, from artwork and photographs to sewing patterns and wall canvases. For works of art, the value of a print is dependent on a number of factors, including the number of prints, the quality of print and the artist’s reputation, per Bloomberg. At the lower end of the market, prints are copies, but can earn the artist a lot of money through units sold. Check out sites like Society6, Zazzle and Redbubble for print-on-demand marketing options.
4. License Your Artwork
Who hasn’t walked into a store without seeing an Anne Geddes portrait on a calendar, mug or tote bag? That’s licensing at work. Art licensing is when an artist pairs with a manufacturer to use their artwork, and reproduced on a product or range of products in exchange for payment. Some artists make an incredible amount of passive income licensing their works — and the product possibilities are endless.
Gaining residual income from royalties when you license your artwork can help your bank balance even when your own sales are slow. And if you’re going through a creative block or decide to take a break from making art, you can still have money coming in.
5. Offer Commissioned Work
Commissions are a great way to grow your audience, but not every artist is comfortable doing them because they require an ability to compromise, or at least balance the customer’s vision with your creative process and integrity.
Commissioned work is when an artist is approached to custom-make a piece of art according to that client’s specifications. These are specifically personalized to a person or a brand in mind, can be solicited online and can earn the artist a great deal of money. If you can garner a reliable reputation doing commissions, you’ll be able to build an impressive, tailored portfolio.
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Before you start raking in e-transfers, you should spend some time to target your audience and determine pricing before you decide upon the best marketing and selling strategies for your art. You need to consider ways of expanding your vision and get your unique creations out to more people by using social media channels, blogs and YouTube videos to connect with new and repeat customers.
As an artist, you shouldn’t have to struggle to make money online. There are other means of making money as an artist online, like pursuing collaborations, crowdfunding campaigns, offering Patreon memberships, applying for grants and selling design and photos to stock websites.
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