Business of Art - Marketing for artists

If given a choice most artists would prefer to just paint and leave the business issues (promotions, exhibitions, selling your art and dealing with art galleries and clients) to someone else. Unfortunately until you are established and can afford a representative and support staff you would have to do everything yourself. You need to get your name and your paintings to as many people as possible - people who would be interested in acquiring paintings from you. Some venues for exhibiting your work (besides an Art Gallery on Main Street - which is hard to get into initially) include your local art group, your local banks or large corporations, entering art competitions and the best of all, the internet. A good thing about the World Wide Web is that you can have thousands of people viewing your work 24/7 with little work and expense by you. Having an online art gallery is a must for artists. People use the internet to look for everything nowadays therefore it is imparative that you and your artwork have a presence on the web. Learn to take advantage of the internet to promote and sell your art online.

You will need an email address and a web page. If you haven't had an email account you should try either gmail (by Google) or Yahoo Mail. A web site can cost you from nothing to several hundred or even thousand dollars. We will look at three options: Free Option, Budget Option Customised Option.

ONLINE GALLERY - FREE OPTION:

Many companies offer free web sites, some with ads. Use any search engine (Google, Yahoo, Bing) and look for "free web sites". You should stay away from sites that include advertising on your page as you have no control on what type of ad would be displayed and it generally does not look professional. You want a professional looking online art gallery to showcase your art. Google Sites is a solid option and worth a look. The down side of this option is that you have to do some work. Though free templates are provided, it would work best if you have some knowledge of the structure of a web page (html, css, javascript, etc...).

The second free option is to have a blog account. The two big names in blogs are WordPress and Blogger. Most people with blogs would post new articles at a regular interval; however there is nothing wrong with using blog to post your artwork and only update it a couple of times a year or whenever you have a new exhibition. Blog sites are easier to work with and there are many free and attractive templates (they call these "themes" in blog world). This is an excellent example of using the Blog format to promote your work.
For all Do-It-Yourself artists out there here are some resources to help you create your own online art gallery.

ONLINE GALLERY - BUDGET OPTION:

This option will cost you from $5 to $30 a month.
In this category you select the template, enter the necessary information and upload the photos and the software will automatically generate your web site. The ease-of-use in this category of service varies; some are easier than others. Web building service provided by web hosting companies is very similar to the free web option and requires some technical knowledge. Some of the better known web hosting companies are 1and1 (which hosts this site), Yahoo, GoDaddy and iPage . The cost by these companies is about $5 a month or less.

Service by companies specilizing in building web sites for artists (like Artspan) is easier to use. They are a bit more expensive than the regular web hosting companies but a better choice for artists.

ART WEBSITE - CUSTOMISED OPTION:

You can have your web site designed by professional designers to your exact requirements. This would cost several hundreds to several thousand dollars to set up and several hundred dollars a year to maintain. Few artists would have a need for such a site. However when you have a lot of special edition prints, books and DVDs that you produce - in addition to your paintings - you may want to have a customised web site built.