Every artist dreams about selling their work and making a living from it. It's a wonderful thing to be able to share that bond we create with our work, with other people who love it. When searching for a way to connect my work with those who care about it, I came across Fine Art America. My work was displayed there for a couple of years. Today I left Fine Art America. It was strategic choice, and what was best for my art business. Here is why.
There were many things I considered when choosing to leave Fine Art America. In 2015 I started my Youtube channel to bring art lessons to everyone. Soon after I decided to create a website to help organize my art lessons into art mediums and age groups. I worked very hard to make my website and Youtube channel a wonderful place for people to come and learn about art. I was building an audience of art lovers there.
Even tho I was busy teaching, I still wanted to sell my artwork. I decided to use Fine Art America to promote and sell my work. I really didn't understand how that would effect what I was doing here on Createful Art. Fast forward a few years and I hadn't put a lot of new art work on Fine Art America. The problem I ran into, was that Fine Art America, like Etsy or any other platform that can sell artwork, was they were taking my customers away from Createful Art and onto their platform.
I saw only a handful of sales coming from Fine Art America. I'm guessing because I hadn't built it up and created a community there. I was doing that here on Createful Art, so why do it there. However I had a little under 1,000 views on my Fine Art America page, maybe weekly I can't remember. It really doesn't matter. What matters is, those were people trying to find my artwork, and Fine Art America got them to their website not mine.
By displaying my art first on Fine Art America I had basically given them a pass to take my customers, get their e-mails, build their website, while using me to do it. It's their goal to be the best and largest place to find fine art, I don't blame them. My fault was that search engines would find me there and I really wasn't there, I was here on Createful Art.
I had probably lost thousands of people looking to find my work on Fine Art America. I don't want this to happen to other artists. The most important thing to do when you're ready to sell your art is to build relationships with people who like it. The best place to do that is where you have the most control doing that, YOUR WEBSITE. On your own website you can gather e-mails, post videos, give discounts, share info about you...whatever you want to do! On other platforms you're restricted by their ways, they gather your customers info sometimes giving you no access to it, and they communicate to your customers by e-mail promoting whatever and whoever they want.
Don't essentially give away your customers. It's very easy to build your own website these days through Weebly, Wix, Square Space and so on. Use your name as the title of your website. In my case www.ashleykrieger.com will send them to this website, Createful Art. This is so I only have to maintain one site and people find me here where I'm at. Make sure you have a way of collecting customers info so you can build a relationship with them, I do this using Mailchimp.
Place your art front and center on your site and make sure every picture has your information, for example: Artwork by Ashley Krieger with "Title of the Artwork" and whatever information that explains that picture. The reason you add this information to your pictures is that we are working with Google. Our photos from our website will pop up in google search when people are searching for them, but only if you give Google the information. You want to make it easy for Google to find you so they make it easy for people to find you.
Delete any accounts that you sold your artwork prior to this, like Etsy, Fine Art America, Saatachi and other online galleries. Understand that brick and mortar galleries you have shown at, may have websites with your pictures and information. Google may pull this information up first when people are searching for you or your art. Make sure that your art is still displayed there. If your art is not in the gallery, ask them to delete your work from their site.
When you decide that you do want to partnership with a gallery be aware of a few things. The gallery should share a link to your website where customers can find more about you, see more of your art, and can start to build a relationship with you. If you make a sale from artwork that is displayed in a gallery from your site, you still need to give the gallery the commission you agreed upon. You want to put the galleries link to art on your site that is shown in the gallery, because that is where customers will find it. Galleries put a lot of money, time, and effort into selling your work, even if it was sold on your site.
This leads me to the point that you do not have to pay a commission when you sell your art from your own website only. When you can get all the profits, that means you can have the funds to build your business and make more sales with advertising. Advertising is how you reach the people who like what you do. It is not often that a gallery can hyper focus on finding your customers with as much reach as online ads. So when thinking about showing in galleries, remember that it is a partnership and it needs to be beneficial to both parties.
Business is usually hard for artists to wrap their heads around. I have had to learn a lot in the process of trying to survive off of what I do. I have learned to focus on giving what you have to offer in one place and gathering your audience there to build a relationship. This year I will be hyper focusing on doing that. It started with saying goodbye to Fine Art America. Now google will put Createful Art front and center to find what Ashley Krieger has to offer the world. It's an exciting step. I hope this helps you move forward in your art business as well.
If you would like to pick my brain more, become a Createful Art Member and send me your questions for my next live Q & A session.