A New Age of Selling
A universal challenge that many young artists face is that of initially jumping into the highly competitive and daunting art market. Every artist wants to sell their work, but with global art sales dwindling and traditional gallery exposure remaining cutthroat, selling seems more difficult than ever. However, the art world is shifting rapidly from the traditional auction houses and galleries, thanks to the rising popularity of online art sales. According to the Hiscox Online Art Trade Report, online art sales increased by 15% from 2015 to 2016, despite the slowing global art market. Here are some ways in which the online market is taking prominence in the art market:
Brick and click platforms
Traditional auction houses are now adjusting their sales strategies by taking advantage of the online art market. Companies like Sotheby’s, Artsy, and Christie’s now offer online auctions, and these types of sales accounted for 19% of all online art sales in 2016. This shows that even the traditional art businesses are gaining prominence in online art sales, suggesting a major shift in how we purchase and sell art.
Social media is gaining much influence over both online and traditional art businesses. Instagram is the preferred social media platform for 57% of art buyers, with Facebook being the second most important platform. An overwhelming majority of galleries actively use social media to promote their galleries and art/artists. Further, auction houses such as Christie’s and Phillips, have found social media to be a powerful business and communications tool.
Growing Confidence in Online Art Buyers
Though some art buyers remain hesitant of buying art online, those who already purchase art online have been buying more art in the past year. 65% of existing online art buyers have bought more than one piece of art in the last year, which increased from 63% the year before. Half of existing online art buyers said that they would buy even more art and collectibles in the coming year, which is also an increase from the previous year.
What Does This Mean for Artists?
How does this affect you as an artist? The growing online art market is not only changing how people buy art, but how artists market and sell their art. Artists no longer need to rely on traditional galleries and auction houses as the only resource to sell your work. Now, you can take charge of your own career using the growing platform of online art trade. Becoming an entrepreneur for your art is the new key to success in this rapidly changing environment. Marketing your work through social media platforms, such as Instagram and Facebook, is a powerful and effective way to curate your own brand and gain exposure to potential buyers and galleries. Entrepreneurial development programs, such as Visual Arts Reimagined are specifically designed to help artists thrive in this new age, supporting young artists to launch their career using an innovative and nontraditional approach. Through helping develop business and leadership skills and a supportive environment of creative and business professionals, Visual Arts Reimagined gives artists the tools they need to succeed in the modern art world.
Isabel Lamont is a senior at Sarah Lawrence College and serves as an admissions assistant with VAR.