ARTISTS. Exhibbit’s immersive 3D online galleries provide an elegant way to show your art and grow your online presence. Gallery owners, artists, curators, and private dealers can use exhibbit software to set up “virtual exhibitions” that can be viewed year-round by art lovers worldwide. Visitors to the “galleries” sense they are seeing your art in a real gallery setting.
Exhibbit was founded by Amanda Lane and Peter Worrall to provide online art viewers with a richer more realistic experience. They also wanted to give give artists a easy way to take control of their online presence without making it a full-time job.
Lane and Worrall understand how much work is involved in creating a real-world gallery exhibition because they have exhibited their own art. “Although we sold well, the return for the many months of work we put into it just was not enough,” recalls Lane.
Recognizing that others in art world felt the same way, they decided to create a better way. Because Lane and Worrall both have backgrounds in 3D animation for film and television, they realized that 3D models and interactive environments could come together to provide new ways of viewing art online.
As she designed the look of exhibit’s galleries, Lane said she was striving to create “Something more akin to the emotional experience that you feel when visiting a real gallery. You can move around and view the art at your own pace and compare the artworks in a single environment.”
Exhibbit offers three types of self-managed plans: Curator; Curator Plus; and Custom.
Curator: Display up to 12 artworks in a single, continuous exhibition in a marble gallery design. Viewers can see the gallery through a link that you publicize.
Curator Plus: Choose from three gallery designs, embed the gallery in your website, and run multiple, consecutive exhibitions. This option includes an e-commerce link to third-party software.
Custom: Exhibbit galley will custom design a unique gallery just for you. It can be virtual replica of your existing art gallery.
Exhibbit also offers specialized virtual gallery services for art fairs, dealers, and other arts organizations.
“In today’s world, those who market good-quality products in an elegant manner get noticed,” said Lane. She believes individual artists should play an active role in building their online presence, because “Putting your art on art sites along with hundreds, even thousands of artists is not enough.”
To attract visitors to your exhibbit gallery, Lane suggests spending a few hours a week communicating on social media and updating your content. “If you update your content and share it regularly, you will grow your brand online.”
Exhibbit has developed a tutorial to help new users set up their first exhibition.
“Good quality photographs of your artwork are essential,” says Lane. “We strongly recommend files between 5 and 8 MB. Make sure they all have the same exposure and the background is cropped out before saving them as uncompressed jpegs.” Image theft is unlikely because anything higher than screen resolution can’t be downloaded.
Before uploading your images, have the information ready to add for each item. Name each file with the title of the artwork, choose a title for your exhibition, and write a paragraph about it.
According to Lane, “The Exhibbit model supports both the gallery and artists. An exhibition can be embedded in both the artist’s and gallery’s websites for both parties to utilize at the same time. The gallery and artist can work together, using exhibit’s built-in marketing tools to share views from the exhibition and link to the experience.”
ARTISTS. If you would like to be better organized in managing your art, art sales, and art-world contacts, check out Artwork Archive. It’s a password-protected web-based platform through which you can track all the art you have created, what pieces have been consigned to galleries or entered in competitions, and what works have been sold.
Artwork Archive was the brainchild of John Feustel, the son of a painter who had reached a point in her career where she really needed help keeping track of her gallery and client contacts and when each piece of art was sold.
“The clunky database or large applications she had to install on her computer had more of what she didn’t need than what she did,” recalls John. When his mother asked him to use his computer programming/web app development experience to devise a better approach, he was happy to help. Together, they created the initial version of Artwork Archive.
Over the past year, the Artwork Archive team has grown and the service has been continually improved with feedback from enthusiastic users. The latest release is a mobile-friendly site that can be accessed via your PC, tablet, or smartphone. It is simple enough for first-time users, but powerful enough to meet the needs of more established artists.
The latest version also includes tools that allow galleries and collectors to track their inventories of art. They can track works by multiple artists, record their appraisal values and other insurance information, and even display their collections to the public
John Feustel recently answered a few questions about how Artwork Archive can help you solve some of the problems you may have experienced with other forms of art-inventory software.
Q. To what extent has Artwork Archive benefitted from your expertise in the latest trends in website development and cloud-based software?
A. Being a modern, cloud-based solution is critical to what we are doing at Artwork Archive. As computers give way to tablets and mobile phones, people’s expectations of what a piece of software can do are changing. Downloading and installing software on your computer, paying for updates, and having the information reside on your own personal computer are becoming things of the past.
What happens when your computer gets a virus or crashes? What happens when you get a new computer — how do you transfer over all your work? With the growth of web-based applications that can be accessed anywhere from any device, we can provide things like daily backups, data security, and instant updates.
The single greatest thing that it gives us is the ability to respond instantly to feedback from artists. If we hear that something is confusing or a certain feature would be useful, we can sometimes get that change live on the site the very same day. It has really allowed us to respond and grow based on user feedback and helped us create the product that we have today.
Q. Do artists appreciate the simplicity of your solution?
A. Based on all the feedback we’ve gotten, they certainly do. While some artists are very tech savvy, many would rather be working in the studio than learning a new software system or dealing with complex database programs. From the beginning we wanted the site to be incredibly easy to use. Instead of extensive documentation, we built the site to walk you through the process of uploading your first piece, filling out your bio, and setting up locations and galleries.
Everything has a very consistent and elegant way of doing things so once you upload your first piece, you basically know how to upload gallery information, add contacts, and create sales. We wanted everything to be self-explanatory and our artists have really recognized how fun and easy the site is to use.
Q. What feature do they seem to like best?
A. It’s really different for each artist. I think the fact that you can generate consignment reports, invoices, and gallery labels at the click of a button has really helped many of our artists advance their careers and approach things in a much more professional manner.
We’ve gotten feedback from gallery owners who love that their artists are using Artwork Archive. Getting consistent and proper documentation and reports helps everyone.
We also have a section called “Insights” that our Artists love. This allows them to see their progress of creation and sales over time, get a heat-map of where all their artwork is located, and helps them visualize their inventory value and location in a number of ways. It’s like business insights for artists and can really help you make data driven decisions about your career.
Recently, a number of artists have started embracing our new Public Profile Page. This allows artists to choose which pieces and info to share publicly and gives them their own public page on Artwork Archive to share and show their work. I think it was best described as a professional looking electronic “calling card”. Some artists are even using this in place of their own website and the feedback has been very positive.
Q. How long does it take to get an inventory of art uploaded? Is it time-consuming to keep it updated?
A. The time it takes really depends on the artist and the body of work. You can have a piece uploaded in only a few seconds. But we often recommend that artists take the time to fill out as much information as possible and write a nice description for each piece. We are also working on a “bulk upload” feature that will allow artists to quickly get a lot of their work in the system, which they can go back and update over time.
It often surprises me how well our artists (my Mom included) keep their inventory, sales, and gallery data updated. They genuinely love tracking their inventory on the site and don’t feel like a piece is complete until it’s been uploaded to Artwork Archive.
Some artists log in very often just to browse around and look at their inventory. I’ve heard that it can be an inspiring process to get that visual overview of your entire body of work and see how you are progressing and adding to it over time.
Q. Has the feedback you have received from other artists reflected the same types of issues that your Mom was struggling with?
A. The initial experience that my Mom had while trying to find an inventory program was very frustrating. The software was outdated, confusing, and didn’t fit into this modern, multi-device world.
From what I’ve seen this is a near universal experience with artists. We have often been described as a “breath of fresh air” after trying out other systems. Artwork Archive seems to “just work” no matter what you are trying to do.
Q. As a new generation of collectors begins to get established, do they recognize the benefits of keeping track of their collections online?
A. I think so. So much of our lives are becoming data driven. We want to track what we eat, how we exercise, how we work, etc. Collectors are no different. Whether it’s a hobby or your life’s passion, being able to record and track your collection for insurance or home inventory purposes is a benefit that both old and new collectors universally agree on.
Recent natural disasters have caused people to think about how they are protecting their art assets and what kind of inventory and documentation they are keeping.
Q. Does the Collector side of Artwork Archive have tools for recording the story behind the art?
A. We have the ability to track the “stories behind the art” through visual and textual means and have really noticed that being a big part of the collector experience. At the time we don’t have support for video or audio but the Collector version of the product is still very new. As we did with the artists, we will adapt and grow the site based on feedback and suggestions from collectors. I can certainly see this being something we add in the future.
Q. What’s next for Artwork Archive? Will you focus on expanding the artist community first or the collector side?
A. It’s really all the same approach to us. We certainly started with the artists and will always have a passion for them. But there is so much intersection between artist, collector and gallery. It really makes sense to work with everyone.
The tools we provide to artists help the collectors and galleries, and vice-versa for the collectors. As they see who and what they are collecting, and keep accurate record of all their contacts, they might be more likely to reach out and acquire more work from the individual artists. We really feel like we can help on both sides of the transaction.
Q. Do artists appreciate the fact that you will be reaching out to aspiring and established collectors and building a community of collectors?
A. It’s still early but I think everyone will start seeing the benefits of having both collectors and artists as part of the Artwork Archive community. At the moment we’re really focused on making the best product for artists and the best product for collectors. Over time we will start to see more and more overlap.
The public profile page is just the first step of that. We have Artists sharing their public page with collectors, galleries and potential clients and seeing very positive feedback from that. This whole world starts with the Artist and the Artwork, but without Collectors, Buyers and Galleries, none of it would be possible.
ARTISTS. Two news releases Christie’s posted online this year show how rapidly the online marketplace for art is expanding, even at the upper echelons.
In 2006, Christie’s was the first art business to launch online participation in live auctions. Over the past five years particularly, they have seen dramatic increases in the volume of lots purchased via its Christie’s LIVE platform. Christie’s launched their e-commerce platform in 2011 and has held 70 online art auctions.
A Record Year for Art Sales in 2013
In a January 22 press release, Christie’s reported that 2013 was a record-breaking year for art sales. Christie’s art sales topped $7.1 billion in 2013, a 16% increase from 2012.They attributed these gains partly to the expanding buyer base made possible by greater online accessibility.
While the $20.8 million that came from on-line only sales seems miniscule compared to the $5.9 million from live auctions and $1.19 billion in private sales, Christie’s regards their online sales as a key driver of attracting new buyers and increasing global accessibility to authenticated art and luxury goods.
“With 16% sales growth and 30% new buyers coming in 2013, Christie’s has succeeded again by focusing on the art and connecting it to the ever-increasing audience of enthusiasts and collectors,” said Christie’s CEO Steven P. Murphy. “We continue to see a surge in interest across categories and across the globe, fueled in large part by the online platform enabling greater connectivity between buyers, sellers and the objects of their pursuit. Our continuing goal is to provide more to our clients and to convene new clients to enjoy art, be it through auctions, exhibitions. or online.”
Plans to Expand Their Digital Engagement
In a May 6 press release, Christie’s announced plans to invest about $20 million in improving their online services. Technological and digital advancements will include infrastructure improvements, an enhanced client-service experience, and creative content and media endeavors.
Statistics included in the release show why Christie’s is eager to expand their digital presence.
In 2013, Christies.com experienced a 19 percent increase in visitors. The site attracted 20.6 million unique visitors from more than 100 countries. The number of mobile viewers was up 42 percent in 2013.
“The global audience for art is increasing, museum attendance has increased again, and the art market is continuing to grow. This is in part driven by digital accessibility of art and imagery”, said Murphy in a panel discussion at Atlantic Ideas Live in New York. “Not long ago, our New York sales catalog would be viewed by a few thousand catalog subscribers four weeks before the sale. Now more than a million visitors view the works online.”
“This online accessibility combined with ever increasing visitor numbers to our public exhibitions has shifted the dynamic,” observed Murphy. “This has also fundamentally impacted the value of the original object itself, as the experience of standing in front of the picture and owning it has become even more powerful.”
In the press release Christie’s confirmed that 48 percent of all client registrations are now facilitated digitally. Plus, 45 percent of buyers in online-only sales in 2013 were new to Christie’s. One in five buyers in the online-only sales is under the age of 45.
Founded in 1766, Christie’s is the world’s leading art business. Christie’s offers about 450 auctions annually in over 80 categories, including fine and decorative arts, jewelry, photographs, collectibles, and wine. Prices range from $200 to over $100 million.
Barney Davey is president and founder of BarneyDavey.com, a marketing consultancy and book publishing company. For the past three decades, he has been actively involved in helping visual artists get their work seen and sold. As a publishing executive for the now-defunct Decor magazine and the Decor Expo trade shows, he consulted with hundreds of the industry’s leading art publishers and self-published artists regarding their art marketing and advertising strategies. He is the author and publisher of the 300-page book, “How to Profit in the Art Print Market, 2nd Edition” and “How to Price Digital Fine Art Prints.” He has written art marketing articles for The Artist’s Magazine, Art World News and Art Business News.
“The Zen of Selling Art” is a collection of essays on business success with tips that can help you build a more rewarding art career by selling your art at regularly increasing prices. The information is gleaned from the best advice Davey has been giving artists since 1988. It is supplemented by information from other sources, such as articles Davey has written for Art World Newsmagazine and posts published on his Art Print Issues blog.
“We all know that the amount of money we make is not the real reason for our true happiness,” explains Davey. But, he believes that achieving greater financial success will pay dividends, both professionally and personally. For example, it is easier to be happy when the stress of worrying about money is relieved. Beyond securing your family’s well-being, good fortune and success can bring other kinds of satisfaction, including a more balanced life.
If you are successful selling art on a routine basis, Davey points out that you can use some of your income to do good things that wouldn’t be possible if you work only for subsistence.
“That is why I continue to write to help artists to improve their art sales skills,” says Davey. “I want artists to enjoy all the success and sales they deserve.” He believes you only need to learn some new skills or sharpen existing ones to begin to enjoy the benefits of more art sales. The e-book includes essays on the following topics:
Sell Art with the Best – Learn to Offer Big!
Shhh! How to Sell Art with Silence
How to Sell Art: Use the Five “C”s for Success
Seven Great Ways to Sell More Art
Visual Artists’ Perceptions and Selling More Art with Partners
Exploring Open Edition Art Print Market Opportunities
Selling Art Prints – Exploring Open Edition Print Opportunities
Improve Your Art Sales with these Seven Selling Points from Barney’s Day Gig
To learn more about how to sell art through arts festivals, check out the 2012 Arts Festival Conference scheduled for Thursday, September 6 and Friday, September 7 at the Avenue Crowne Plaza Hotel in Chicago.
How Public Art Can Benefit the Arts Festival and Artists
Tech Trends and New Tools to Benefit You
During the Symposium session from 9 am to noon on Friday, you can listen in on a high-level panel discussion of art-business trends and industry changes, cultural policy and the larger arts and culture landscape, and inventive ideas.
On Friday afternoon, a public portfolio critique session will give you a behind-the-scenes view of what happens after you submit entries to an arts festival. A mock jury of art professionals will discuss image submissions in terms of composition, technical presentation, artistic presentation, or image quality.
All artists and art-festival administrators are welcome to register for The 2012 Arts Festival Conference. You don’t have to be a ZAPP® user to attend. Special day-pass rates are available for Chicago-area residents. Register now at bit.ly/zapp2012. About ZAPP ZAPP is an online application and adjudication system that was launched in 2004. More than 500 art shows and cultural events now use ZAPP to manage their application, administration, and jury processes online. More than 60,000 visual artists are currently registered with the ZAPP system.
ZAPP is managed by WESTAF, a non-profit arts service organization dedicated to the creative development, advancement, and preservation of the arts regionally and through a national network of clients and alliances.
“Artist Painters” is not your ordinary painting company. Founded by 38-year-old artist Gene Pellegrene, the Chicago-based firm employs area artists from all creative fields to execute high-quality interior/exterior painting projects for their customers.
The artists earn a decent wage while subtly raising awareness about the benefits of art, one project at a time. As the artists work in a client’s home, they influence people’s perceptions about art and what art can do.
In addition, the artists often feel inspired to create a gift that reflects their experience during the painting project.
According to Pellegrene, “Almost every painting job has a piece of art that is created from that particular experience and given to the customer as a surprise gift.” Previous clients have received paintings, work journals, collages, or furniture.
For example, during one interior painting project, the clients’ four-year-old son charmed Pellegrene with his humor, questions about painting, and love of making art. Although the son said he would like bright yellow walls in his bedroom, his mother had other ideas. So Pellegrene crafted and left behind a small oak art table and stool finished with bright yellow accents.
“The art table was a functional piece that on another level demonstrated a very personal, relationship-based piece of art,” says Pellegrene. “It was an example of the power of art to spawn memories, relationships and appreciation for those relationships.”
Artist Painters embraces the philosophy of the “local living economy” by taking an ethical and socially responsible approach to business and its artists. The goal is to serve the common good in the community, rather than simply focus on increasing profits. Pellegrene hopes the company can remain “small” in its ideology while helping to support as many artists as possible.
“This ideal only works under the conditions with the highest quality of workmanship,” he says. Artist Painters provides free quotes in the Chicagoland area on projects such as interior and exterior walls, murals, deck refinishing, wrought-iron fencing, and more.
To see examples of how artists have enhanced home painting projects, visit Artist Painters on Facebook or their website.
According to the 2010-11 Occupational Outlook Handbook published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there were approximately 221,900 working artists in 2008. This number includes 84,200 art directors, 13,600 craft artists, 25,700 fine artists (painters, sculptors, illustrators), 79,000 multimedia artists and animators, and 21,500 other types of artists and related workers. About 60% of artists and related workers are self-employed.
While the outlook is bright for multimedia artists and animators in fields such as motion-picture and video production, advertising, and computer systems design, very few fine artists can support themselves solely through the sale of the work. Most fine artists have at least one other job, such as working in a museum or gallery, teaching, or working as illustrators. Some artists hold jobs in unrelated fields and pursue art as a hobby or second career. Below are some of the challenges and opportunities that may affect art careers in the years ahead:
Lack of career preparation. Many art schools focus almost exclusively on teaching technique, without much emphasis on the practical business skills that artists need to earn a living. Today, anyone who wants to pursue a self-directed career such as art, should know how to promote and market themselves–online and in-person.
Balancing art creation with self-promotion. It can be difficult to focus on creating great art while continuously networking and working to get name recognition. It’s incredibly time-consuming to do both things well.
New sources of competition. Many retiring Baby Boomers are pursuing long-deferred dreams of becoming an artist. Unemployed or underemployed workers are trying to convert their art hobbies into new careers.
New tools for creating and displaying art. Technology is making it easier for artists to experiment with new forms of visual expression. For example, today’s digital-printing technology makes it possible to reproduce your art directly on fabrics, backlit films, metal, wood, or vinyls.You can also combine digital images with traditional art materials to create one-of-kind prints with texture and dimensionality And visual art is no longer confined to a frame. It can be displayed on computer screens or projected or applied to indoor or outdoor walls.
New opportunities to promote and sell art. Technology has opened up new ways for artists to promote and sell their work. For example, social media is making it easier for artists to build relationships with other artists, gallery owners, editors, art journalists, and potential buyers of their work. Online galleries make it possible for artists to show and sell their work to buyers around the world.
A wider, deeper pool of art collectors. A 2010 survey found that consumers are investing more in original art, which has become more widely available as artists have started exploring different ways to market themselves. Digitally printed limited editions are making it easier for more people to buy art they truly love, instead of only those prints available from mass-market art publishers. Some gallery owners sell lower-cost editions to attract new customers who might someday become serious collectors. A growing number of health care facilities, corporations, educational institutions, and civic leaders are commissioning or collecting art because they recognize how much art can enhance our surroundings.