The growth of the Internet and social media is profoundly affecting how people discover and buy art. In a Pew Research Center Survey of arts organizations, 92% of the respondents agreed that the Internet has increased engagement in the arts and 83% said the Internet and digital technologies have made the arts audience more diverse.
In a Wall Street Journal article entitled “A Finite Universe of Art Lovers? I Don’t Think So,” Artsy founder Carter Cleveland predicted that the Internet might make art as much a part of our lives as music. He disputed the notion that only an elite few are interested in buying art and that you must experience art in person to have a passion for it: “Some 71% of collectors and 88% of dealers regularly buy and sell art via digital image (sight unseen), and on Artsy we seen an average distance between buyer and seller of over 2,000 miles.” He predicts that, “New artists will be discovered faster, and location won’t matter as much.”
He believes the global art market is well-positioned to expand beyond its current level of about $66 billion in annual sales. Cleveland writes that for every household that collects art, there are 37 households with similar incomes that don’t: “If art becomes a ubiquitous part of culture, collecting could become normal behavior for households with disposable income, just like buying luxury fashion and jewelry.”
The pool of collectors is expanding. Patricia Tsouros of Artfetch.com is happy that the Internet enables artists to share their work with a global audience: “With lightning speed, they can raise their profiles. And with the same speed a new generation of art lovers can be garnered.” She said the growing accessibility of art is “breaking down walls, making art accessible to everyone – not just the elite class. It is changing the way we think. More and more art is being bought by collectors and novices online.”
In a press release. Artprice CEO Thierry Ehrmann said, “The art market is hungry…we have grown from 500,000 collectors after World War II to nearly 70 million today, a figure that includes professional and amateur collectors and enthusiasts at all levels.”
Brands, retailers, and technology manufacturers want to partner with artists. The JWT Intelligence market research firm helps retailers and brand marketers convert cultural shifts into business opportunities. In their Future 100 Report of trends to watch in 2015, they note that “High culture is going digital.” Museums and theatres are using digital platforms to open up high art to mass audiences and experimenting with immersive exhibitions of art, design, film, music, and video.
Other trends JWT analysts highlighted include experiential public spaces, intelligent and artistic gaming, the use of airports as art venues, and “Mass-Market Art-Tail.” They note that “Luxury brands have long fostered close ties with the art world, but now mass-market brands are also seeking the cool points generated by aligning with cutting-edge creatives.”
Artists must become savvy online marketers. While the Internet has opened up dozens of avenues for artists to sell art, it is up to you to find ways to get yourself noticed. In his blog post “What’s the Best Way for Artists to Get Found Online?,” art-business consultant and author Barney Davey suggests that asking how you can get your work seen by more collectors may not be the right question to ask: “I would ask how can I find more collectors? Waiting and hoping to get discovered gets you stuck.”
“Guerilla Marketing for Artists: Learn How 100 Collectors Can Bulletproof Your Art Career”
In this book, art-marketing consultant Barney Davey emphasizes that smart art marketing is all about using your time and resources wisely. He provide tips for finding the prospects most likely to buy your work, building a network of loyal patrons who want to own your work and support your career, and determining which traditional and digital art marketing tools are best for your unique situation.
On his art business blog, Davey suggests ways to overcome common art-career frustrations. In one post he talks about how to get found online. Other posts provide tips for pricing your work and list 89 Cheap Ways to Promote Your Art Business.
Thriving Artist Summit
During this free, online summit, artist business Bonnie Glendinning brings together dozens of successful artists, experts, and mentors to help empower and inspire artists, designers, and makers. The event covers topics such as how to: make your creative business a success; build your brand for your ideal buyers; price your work for real profit and growth; and diversify into licensing, wholesale, and direct-to-consumer opportunities.