I've recently made the decision to pull all my art from traditional brick-and-mortar galleries. After a lot of research I posted my work with Fine Art America (www.fineartamerica.com) and reduced my prices by about 40% which approximates the commission that would have been taken by the galleries. I have also decided to return to exhibiting at nearby weekend art shows including Beverly Hills and La Jolla, CA where I'll keep my prices consistent with the 40% reduction.
My reasons are fairly straight forward. Traditional street galleries are hurting. The economy is bad, especially for art. Foot traffic is down, sales are down, and many (I've read 40%) of the galleries have closed in just the past three years. And once my art is in a gallery at an established price, I find it unfair to sell similar work at lower prices at other venues. I believe an artist's prices should be consistent.
If I exhibit at well-recognized places, where more people see more of my work at lower prices, I believe I've increased the probability of sales. For me that has become a few juried, nearby art shows and the on-line gallery Fine Art America. For artists and collectors who may not be familiar, Fine Art America (FAA) offers the following:
1. It is a large and fast-growing on-line gallery. Note: There are over 190 similar websites.
2. More than 150,000 artists are members and membership is growing at the rate of about 500 per week.
3. FAA is free for basic service, or $30 per year for a premium account.
4. FAA offers print-on-demand service for any image that the artist exhibits. For each image posted, FAA provides 6 different products of that image. These include canvas prints, framed prints, art prints, acrylic prints, metal prints, and greeting cards. For each of the print products, the artist can specify up to 12 sizes available to the customer. Taken to the extreme, this means that for each image an artist posts, there are 60 different print products plus greeting cards available for sale.
5. The price for any reproduction is set by the artist. FAA tells the artist the manufacturing cost. The artist defines his own profit.
6. FAA handles the order, shipment (within 3 days), and payment. The artist's profit is deposited into his PayPal account. FAA provides a 30-day money back guarantee for each piece of art delivered.
7. FAA provides the artist with a website showing each piece of work and the price of each reproduction. Originals can also be shown, but are not sold through FAA services. The website can become the artist's primary site or it can be linked to an existing site (the option I chose).
8. If approved by the artist, FAA provides full-resolution viewing of selected areas of the artist's images.
9. An artist may post any number of images.
I've been with Fine Art America for less than one month. I'm still populating it with my images. That does take time. But, I've already had hundreds of visitors from around the world (they are recorded by time and location) and some sales. As an artist or collector, it is a great resource. And, I believe, this is the wave of the future.