ARTISTS. If you plan to sell (or buy) original art through an online gallery, check out the credentials and expertise of the people running it. Not all galleries are run by professionals experienced in the art market.
In fact, some online art platforms operate without much human oversight at all, which can be risky to both artists and buyers. For example, if the online gallery isn’t run by someone who has seen the actual art and built a relationship with the artist, can the buyer have faith that the art is accurately priced, archivally sound, and offers investment potential?
If you are a new or emerging artist, look for a gallery run by an art expert who can mentor you on issues such as realistically pricing work and managing the release of works for sale.
“The emergent stage for an artist is a sensitive one,” explains Sarah Ryan, curator and founder of New Blood Art in the U.K. “If an artist fails to price realistically at the start of their careers they risk damaging their future careers significantly.” For example, if the work that you make available on an online gallery is priced too high, and you later sell that work offline for substantially less than the online price, then your reputation can suffer. Prospective future buyers may feel misled.
New Blood Art understands the importance of accurate pricing and manages it very carefully. The gallery strives to create a steady following of collectors for each artist they represent, and prices are gradually increased in response to demand. Prices go up by securing regular sales from clients who know they are buying at an attractive and realistic price point.
Ryan started New Blood Art in 2004 because she recognized that selling art online “offered an economically viable way of selling truly affordable artwork by talented young artists without being crippled by the overhead of a physical gallery space.” The staff at New Blood Art visits all of the UK graduate art shows to find the best new talent. The site currently offers more than 2,000 pieces at prices as low as ₤50.00.
“Over the last nine years, we have built good relationships with both the clients we serve and the artists the we represent. We have a good track record for identifying artists that have gone on to do very well and whose work has increased in value over time,” says Ryan. “As a gallerist, it is vital to get to know artists personally over time, assessing their commitment to their practice and the quality of the work they produce. This insight is key when determining investment potential for clients.”
Ryan not only gets to know the artists whose work appears in her online gallery, she also interacts with art buyers: “I do interact with personally with our clients and often meet with them and speak on the telephone. Without this interaction, I’m not sure we would have the same loyalty.”
ABOVE: One of the works featured on New Blood Art is “Untitled II,” a 175 x 175 cm mixed-media painting on canvas by artist Emma Devane. A 2012 art-school graduate, Devane was featured in a newspaper article about the advantages of collecting recently graduated artists.