Learning How To Sell Art Online And Make Money

Christine Hollen, founder of Valenta Couture, shares how to sell your artwork online.

With the constant influx of art sales online these days you wouldn’t think there would be a job around, but you’d be wrong. Take Jeremy Bales for example, a national photographer. He first started learning how to sell his art online six years ago and now has around 1000 subscribers to his Bales Studio Calendar app, which was originally an Ebook. From the start, he was dealing directly with the client, instead of choosing traditional sales channels like galleries or auctions. He set up a Shopify site and sold prints through it. The release date for the calendar was always 11/11/11, which would have been the first November 11. In the beginning, he often sold through his own online shop, which is how he met his wife, who was also a graphic designer, and the entrepreneur was born. In the end, he established an actual gallery, and he has even done a few book signings.

“I sold gallery pieces myself,” he says. “I could meet the client at the gallery and set up the show for them.”

But there are other companies who are serious about selling on the online marketplace.

Street artists have been selling for some time. There’s The Sandworm, which started on Facebook and sells the actual works of street art, and Upfront Artists, which has a micro gallery that only sells one or two pieces a month. Thomas Kerzner is not only a large street artist but the founder of Bits Una Images (BI) which specializes in creating custom social media content. They started using etsy in 2017 and now have more than 100 pieces of art on their account. He has sold all kinds of street art, but especially in film studios, T-shirts, and other media.

“I don’t think there is a one-size-fits-all for street art and mediums,” Kerzner says. “We are a long-term artist, and so are our clients. If you have some short medium medium-term clients, then we are in a different situation than other artists who are more focused on the mainstream. We are here to be life-long business partners who want your energy and creativity. When you first meet us we look through one another’s work as we interview you about what you are going to bring to the party. If I’m going to commission you on a particular project, and because I’m happy with your passion we want to give you more opportunities to explore what you are interested in. I’m not big on a curation process. When we meet with a new client, we are all right around the same point. Let’s figure out ways to make it work.”

Many are finding success with their own digital storefronts.

Larry Esty, the founder of Impossible Office, has created a sort of “Hyper Modern” website that has been taking off in 2019 with a staff of more than 35 people. With a strong customer base, he went online and decided to set up a digital storefront. He started it in March 2018 and in January 2019 he has already sold over 35,000 items, including custom iPhone docks, at both his web store and his bricks and mortar store in Boston. In September 2018, he sold 300 iPhone docks and over 3,000 Moleskine “Mots” bookcases to a lot of smaller businesses and architectural firms. The customer base is diverse and anyone can see how hard he is working for his sales. He has taken the store one step further by featuring industrial cityscapes.

“You can buy a TV set at your local stoplight vending machine, or an industrial Moleskine bookcase,” he says. “It’s a great place to go when you need the documentation. You will find me dressed in full urban blue jeans and sweater shirt. I fit in the perfect Boston mason jar. I am a data mining ad machine who has a lot of B2B clients and has many web properties.”

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