Online Gallery Helps Buyers Commission New Art

ARTISTS. is an online seller of original art. The art lovers who founded the site believe a growing number of people would prefer to own something unique, rather than a reproduction. Recently, they introduced a service through which buyers can submit commission requests to artists whose works they admire on the Zatista site.

Zatista LogoOnce the request is submitted, Zatista works with the buyer and artist to ensure that the quoting and payment processes go smoothly.  For example, they help the buyer create a well-formed request with all the relevant details, and craft a commission agreement that both the buyer and artist can accept. Buyers aren’t charged for submitting commission requests. Nor are they obligated to accept the quote or follow through with the project.

Artists who are particularly interested in commissions should let the Zatista staff know, because they occassionally receive requests from buyers who does not have a particular artist in mind.

Another service provides is a complimentary art concierge service to help buyers select the right piece of art for their home or office.

How to Sell Your Art

Zatista currently sells original oil paintings, acrylic paintings, charcoal drawings, and mixed media works. They will also sell photographs and prints of digitally created art, as long as each print is hand-signed and numbered in an edition of 100 or less. They don’t sell sculpture, jewelry, furniture, weavings, and other categories of art.

To ensure that the site offers a robust, well-rounded selection of quality art in a variety of mediums, all artists and galleries who want to sell works on the site must be approved by Zatista’s Art Review Board.  When you apply, you will be asked to complete a profile and list a minimum of 3 works and a maximum of 5 works.

In addition to evaluating your art, the Art Review Board will take into account how professionally you present it. For example, photographs of your works should be clear, without extraneous objects or lighting glare. Your profile should be well-written, clear, and informative, and your store banner and message should be nicely created. The review process typically takes 3 to 5 days. It’s up to you to set the price for your work.

If your art is accepted for sale on the site, there are no membership or listing fees. Instead, you will be charged a commission when your art is sold. To make original art more affordable to more people, the online sales commission is substantially lower than commissions typically charged by brick-and-mortar galleries. For more information about the artist approval process, visit the FAQ section of the website.

Once your application has been approved, you are encouraged to display additional works and spread that word about Zatista to your Facebook fans and Twitter followers. You can also add a “Buy on Zatista” button to your blog, so visitors to your site know they can easily purchase your work any time day or night.

About Zatista

Zatista was founded by entrepreneurial Internet industry veterans. Their goal is to make the art-buying experience less intimidating and more enjoyable. They also want to make more originals easily accessible to aspiring collectors all over the world who might not be able to explore multiple galleries in big cities to find the art they like.

The Zatista website includes a glossary or art terms, and other information designed to educate and encourage a new generation of collectors.


Display Original Art Online and Connect with Buyers at

ARTISTS. The press release for a new online gallery/social network platform points out that with the rise of innovative e-commerce solutions, people in the creative fields (art, music, writing) may be able to find new ways to live their passions “instead of slaving away at day jobs.”

Screenshot of WebsiteIn fact, the press release announcing the launch of Artist Become ( leads off with this bold statement, “Things are changing for artists. No longer do they have to toil endlessly in obscurity, unsure of how and when they’ll be able to sell the artwork.” is a new venture by the online art gallery, which specializes in selling reproductions of oil paintings.

“With, we are doing more than creating a place for up-and-coming artists to display original art online, we are creating a new social platform for artists and art lovers alike,” states David Sasson, the president and CEO of

Fellow artists and art lovers can connect and communicate with other community members, comment and rate each other’s artwork, and become fans of other members. Artists can create their own galleries for free and had a dedicated URL to showcase their art, biographies, exhibitions, and more.

Buyers can choose to purchase art directly from the artist without any commission fees. If buyers prefer to order more affordable canvas-transfer paintings, the artist will earn royalties on every reproduction sold. Reproductions are available in a variety of sizes; pricing is dictated by the individual artists. has arranged its content into a variety of galleries, specified by artist, subject, style, and type. Artists will dictate how the community will look in the future, by tagging the art with keywords that will help visitors find the type of art they want.

“Our commitment to art and the art world started with,” said Sasson. “Now we want to branch out the give art lovers around the world the chance to find the next great artists of our generation. gives artists the ultimate platform to become recognized for their work and to make a living out of their creations.”

Sasson acknowledges that art is not an easy thing to sell. He believes that artists who participate in will benefit from the site’s relationship to because has already built a network of thousands of art lovers. This can help artists gain exposure and ultimately sales.

Useful Stats: Trends in the Wall Decor Market

ARTISTS. PHOTOGRAPHERS. If you ever wonder if the market is big enough to support the growing number of galleries that sell art and photography online, here are some encouraging numbers and trends.

According to a 2010 Unity Marketing Report on the market for Art, Wall Décor, Picture Frames, and Custom Framing, Americans spent more than $42 billion decorating their walls in 2009. But a closer study of 1,300+ recent buyers of wall décor showed that how consumers choose to spend their dollars to decorate their walls is changing.

“Americans are paying more attention to decorating their walls, but traditional art reproductions, for example, are being purchased less frequently today than they were in previous years,” says Pam Danziger, president of Unity Marketing. She notes that “Consumers are investing more in original art which is more widely available as working artists become market focused.”

Wall decor in bedroomThe study found that: “Art buyers are creative people who strongly connect with the art they display on their walls.” They want to buy items that reflect their personal taste, and consider the art they hang on their walls to be an extension of themselves.”

  • 55 percent of survey respondents agreed that “The art I buy and display is an important outlet for my creative expression.”
  •  72 percent agreed that “When choosing art for my home, the way the piece makes me feel is most important .”

 The study was conducted to help art, wall decor, custom framing and picture frame manufacturers, marketers and retailers better understand the consumer market for their goods.

Danziger notes that “The art and wall décor consumer wants to feel that she is heard and understood by those wishing to sell her these most personal forms of expression.”

She believes “Success in the art, wall décor, and framing market will come to those marketers who know how to make an emotional connection.”

Unity Marketing specializes in providing consumer insights to marketers and retailers that sell luxury goods and experiences to the “masses as well as the classes.”


Mystified By the Art Market? Read Seven Days In the Art World

Book Cover Seven Days in the Art WorldTo understand how the markets for creative work are changing, it’s important to understand what the markets were like a few years ago, before technology really starting speeding things up and the economy sent things spiraling down again.

So I read Sarah Thornton’s book “Seven Days in the Art World” to learn what was happening in 2008, when the contemporary art market was booming and prices at auction were going through the roof. Thornton’s book is interesting for several reasons. Although she has a BA in Art History, Thornton also has a PhD in cultural sociology. She observes the “art world” more from the detached, objective perspective of a culture researcher.

The book was compiled from hundreds of hours of “participant observation” and 250 in-depth interviews with high-profile artists, dealers, curators, critics, collectors, and auction-house experts. The seven days refer to insights she gained from observing interactions and activities at seven different sites:

  • a Christie’s art auction in Manhattan
  • a peer-critique by art students at the California Institute of the Arts
  • the Basel Art Fair in Switzerland
  • the Tate Britain Museum during the selection of the Turner Prize winner
  • the offices of Artforum magazine in New York;
  • the studios of artist Takashi Murakami in Tokyo; and
  • the pavilions of some of the nations represented at the Venice Biennale.

Each of the seven chapters reads like a Vanity Fair magazine feature story because she reports conversations and observations as they happen. Her approach lets you see how selling and buying art differs from selling other high-value products. (Sometimes, it doesn’t.)  Thornton admits that “The art world is so diverse, opaque, and downright secretive, it is difficult to generalize about it and impossible to be truly comprehensive.”

In the book’s introduction, Thornton says when she studied art history, she was exposed to recently made art but “I never had a clear idea of how it circulated, how it came to be considered worthy of critical attention or gained exposure, how it was marketed, sold, or collected.” As the work of living artists have become more in demand, she believes it is worth understanding the valuation processes art undergoes between the studio and its arrival in the permanent collection of a museum (or the trash and anywhere in between).

She differentiates between the “art market” (the dealers, auction houses, and collectors who buy and sell art) and the much broader “art world” which also includes the artists themselves, critics, and curators.

To me, Chapter 1 was the most fascinating because she observes an auction at Christie’s at which some pieces sold for millions of dollars. Here’s a quick overview of observations gleaned from the book about the roles of key players in the art market.

People collect art for different reasons. Some truly understand how art can enrich their lives. Others may simply want to diversify their investment portfolios or buy entry in a glamorous lifestyle. Collectors who buy art as investment or because “it’s cool” tend to have changing tastes and aren’t as concerned with the lasting appeal of the art. So they rotate their collections like people buy and sell stock. Collectors who buy for the love of the art tend to form emotional attachments, and only sell due to misfortunes such as death, divorce, or debt. Some collectors hire consultants to advise them.

Auction Houses
Auctions aim to bring the highest prices possible, and provide the illusion of liquidity. Although auction houses want buyers to be confident that they will be able to resell the high-value art they purchase today, that may not always be true. During the boom years, art auctions became something of a high-society spectator sport in which super-successful alpha males mostly competed with other alpha males.

Artists are discouraged from attending auctions because many buying considerations have little to do with the artistic merit.  Feel-good paintings with blues or reds tend to sell better than glum paintings with browns or grays. Paintings by male artists tend to attract higher prices because the male collectors tend to better relate to some of the themes. Any works larger than the size of a Park Avenue elevator eliminates a portion of the market.

Primary Dealers
Their role is to represent artists and mount exhibitions of work fresh out of the studio. A primary dealer can try to increase the value of an artist’s work by offering it first to collectors with sterling reputations. The hands through which an artwork passes can help it accrue value.

Secondary Dealers
These dealers don’t work a lot with the artists, but they do work with the auction houses. They have sufficient capital to buy market-tested art without any immediate pressure to resell it. They take control of the object and can hold on to it as long as necessary. So if a certain style of art goes out of favor, they can wait to sell it when that type of art is back in style.

Artists are discouraged from learning about business and art marketing, because this knowledge can affect the purity of the art-making process. However, the artists who sell well at auction tend to be artist-entrepreneurs. As one commentator in  Thornton’s book suggested, perhaps the successful businessmen who buy at auctions admire the boldness and risk-taking of artist-entrepreneurs. The collectors see themselves reflected in the artist-entrepreneurs.

For example, Andy Warhol and Damien Hirst both maintained media profiles that helped increase the audiences for their work. They used production strategies to ensure that a sufficient supply of their art would be available to meet the demands.

When Damien Hirst became the first artist to openly consign work to an auction house, he not only earned international press coverage, but also the admiration of the auction-house personnel who liked his strong work ethic and keen business sense. In general selling work at auction can be risky for an artist’s career, because the prices can fluctuate dramatically from year to year as tastes (and economic conditions) change.

Collectors like meeting the artists whose work they own. But auction houses regard artists as being hard to work with. During the boom, there was a shortage of older works and a spike In demand for fresh, young art.  Although auction houses tried not to interfere with the work of dealers, the amount of time between when a work left a studio and hit the resale market became shorter.  

What’s Next?
Reading “Seven Days in the Art World” provides a big-picture overview of the art world as it existed in 2008. It can provide a baseline for observing what has happened since the economy tanked, and speculating what might happen next as the base of art collectors continues to expand, both globally and within younger generations.

For example, some training programs have been developed to encourage artists to become more entrepreneurial so they make a living and pay off the student loans from attending art school.  And online galleries, art fairs, and social networking are starting to affect the way art is discovered and collectors interact with dealers and artists.

These are some of the questions we’ll continue to examine on this blog. If you have expertise, ideas, or insights that could help artists benefit from some of these ongoing changes in the art market, we would love to hear from you!