Artists between entrepreneurship and art-the struggle online

(Photo source by Maia Paduraru)

Most of the contemporary artists try to build their own business online to sell their works. More and more of them have online shops with delivery services. However, there are still artists who are reluctant to embrace the internet art market and they struggle to adapt.

The artists try to avoid the gallery system, that takes a big portion of the income per artworks. Besides this, it is not easy to get into the high circle of art dealers, gallerists and rich collectors. That is the reason why there is a tendency of building an online shop for their works.

The artist is not anymore, the artist, it is the businessman, the advertiser and the administrator.

“Taking product photos, editing, description writing, advertising, delivery and whatnot. It’s so many things that one has to be prepared to do and learn in order to make it rolling. Consistency is key, plus good planning. It’s unfortunately not only the fun part of creating the things I make but much more. Nevertheless, it’s exciting, challenging, educational and fun to do. It’s like operating a multi-dimensional machine, and the more you use it the better it becomes,” says Tanya Angelova. She started her online shop of origami jewellery on Etsy in the last year during the first lockdown when her normal activities “were put to a halt.”

Art remains the only commodity on the market with stable sales and small fluctuations in the revenue. In the pre-corona year 2019, the global sales of art and antique reached around $64.1 billion according to Art Basel & UBS Report, which is almost the same as in 2017

Graph showing the sales in the Global Art market from 2009 -2019 (Source: Art Basel & UBS)

“It happens a lot that people compromise the things they want to make on the economic ground. The danger is that there are artists who think too commercially. You should try to earn enough, not more than you need,” says Bas van Delden, an young artist. “The moment you start to create as somebody who makes a product for an audience then you are losing your authenticity as an artist.” The artist acknowledges the importance of online presence but he says that creating personal offline connections in the art world is more important for selling your art and for building your career.

Now the pandemic situation forces, even more, the artists to go online for promoting and selling their works.

“I am working right now on the series of illustration that I want to sell basically to pay my rent next month, hopefully. I already made some calculations if everything goes well for 20 sets of nine A3 posters I will be earning around 300 euros,” says Marina Sulima, an artist based in Groningen. Marina tries to sell her art on her website and social media because most of the offline art projects are cancelled due to corona restrictions.

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