ARTISTS. DESIGNERS. If you haven’t yet found the right online gallery—either to buy or sell art online—check out Thumbtack Press. The company offers a hand-picked collection of open-edition prints by over 100 top low-brow, illustrator, and character artists from around the world.
“Why open-edition prints? By selling prints without limiting their availability, we reach collectors who have elite tastes, but perhaps lack the dollars to match,” explains curator/owner Barry Friedland. “This way, if you don’t currently have the means to own an original Paul Blow, say, or a Matthew Woodson, you can still get your hands on their work in the form of a high-quality print. We help artists reach new fans; and we help fans become collectors.”
The Thumbtack Press site includes up-to-date features such as a Virtual Room to help customers visualize how a print might look on their own walls. Buyers can search for art by genre, artist, color, size, and subject and choose from hundreds of frame and mat options.
Marketing with Attitude
Personally, I am impressed not only by the freshness of the art, but also by the whimsy of Thumbtack’s marketing.
For example, according to the “research department” at Thumbtack Press, the giving and receiving of art results in a 56% improvement of personal relationships, a 28% increase in creativity, and a 41% more charming personal space—all of which lead to a longer and more fulfilling life.
While it’s unclear how the marketing braniacs at Thumbtack arrived at those exact figures, you have to admit it’s a fun way to promote the sale of gift cards for art prints.
You can order a gift card for whatever occasion you choose, include your own message, and have it sent instantly to whoever you think might enjoy the distinctive selection of featured on the Thumbtack Press site.
The company’s promotional strategy also includes public relations, advertising, search-engine optimization, social media, and personalized outreach to bloggers (like me!).
“We encourage our artists to work in concert with us — to use our social media integrations with Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Tumblr and others to provide a sales synergy to get your art seen by the greatest number of people around the world,” says Friedland. Over 25% of Thumbtack’s sales are international.
Benefits for Artists and Designers
In addition to exposing art enthusiasts to unique, affordable art, Thumbtack Press wants to help advance the well-being of artists.
“We love art and treat artists with the respect they deserve,” says Friedland. Along with producing high-quality prints on a range of substrates, Thumbtack Press handles every element of the day-to-day complexities of running an online gallery business so you don’t have to.
Thumbtack deals with the website programming, hosting, credit card transactions, fulfillment, framing and matting, packaging, quality control, advertising, marketing, accounting, and everything else that goes into running a world-class e-commerce site.
Because Thumbtack Press is a curated site with a particular look and feel, not all work that is submitted to the site is accepted.
“The best way to get a feel for what we are looking for is to take a look around,” says Friedland.
To be considered for inclusion, submit at least three works for review. (See the submission guidelines on the Thumbtack Press website.)
If your work is accepted, you will get access to a private Artist Control Panel where you can upload and control the art you want to sell and provide information that will enable customers to know more about you and your art. The Artist Control panel also lets you track your sales and payment history.
You will receive a royalty for each print the Thumbtack Press sells, as well as portion of the frame sale.