Artnet is an online art gallery representing 16000 artists and 1300 galleries. It’s neatly organized, easy to use and offers valuable side-benefits as well. I’m told it’s the preeminent artist’s portal currently on the net. A remarkable number of our artist-subscribers are on it. Perhaps surprisingly, a remarkable number of popular, collectable artists aren’t. I find Artnet particularly handy when artists write to ask, “What do you think of my work?”
I was surprised to find myself in there. One of my less active galleries has put me up. One painting. Where it says: “For more info on this artist click here,” you are whisked to: “There are no details for Robert Genn at this time.” That’s about the same as saying the artist has stopped painting, gone into the breeding of pit-bulls, or has perhaps evaporated to the big studio in the sky. After all, there are other dead folks in there. I don’t know about you, but the whole idea of me being currently without details is irksome. Like a lot of things these days I guess you have to stay on top.
Previous results of our surveys on selling and marketing online are “Internet Art Review” (January 26, 2001)
“Online Galleries” (December 26, 2000) http://painterskeys.com/online/
There’s also a huge and disorganized one from March 28, 2000 “Survey results — selling art on the Web.” http://painterskeys.com/results/
This time I want to stick to Artnet. Please give me your feedback. How has Artnet worked for you? Where is it going? Is Artnet a worthwhile and cost effective venue–compared to say “clicks and mortar?” What type of artists find it most effective? If you’re not on it now, is it something you’re considering for the future? We’ll publish this information in the next clickback. Thanks for writing.
PS: “The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. To be your own man is a hard business. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.” (Rudyard Kipling)
Esoterica: Artnet is not to be confused with Art.Net, which is something else. Artnet contains listings of art events, an international auction calendar, art bookstore, recent price comparisons, an almost daily news bulletin, reviews and other features.
The following are selected responses to the above letter. There were far more responses than could conveniently be put into the standard size of our clickback. All letters are archived for possible future release. Thanks for writing.
(RG note) As a rule artists (and dealers) who are currently signed up with artnet were positive in this survey. The largest complaint was the price. Some appeared to have low expectations in the first place –but appreciated the sense of community. Typical statements were, “For me artnet has been a great place to just tell people I’m up there — and they go and have a look. It beats slides hands down.” — “It’s daunting when people go to artnet’s big list — they get confused. But when you direct people to go straight to your page it’s nicer.” — “It’s the best, but they kind of lock you in. To change your work on the site is expensive.” — “I like rubbing shoulders with all the important artists on artnet. Especially the dead ones.” — “They (at artnet) do a nice job—the newsletter is good — but anyone can get the news they put up, anyway. They ought to include something like the twice weekly letters that many artists would relate to.” — “As another tool for art dealers it’s okay. Some dealers just seem to think they should be on it — because they have been sold it.” — “Lazy dealers are using the shotgun approach.” — “As an already successful storefront dealer I find it (artnet) pulls in curious collectors when I have a specific artist that they want to see.” — “The fact that there are a lot of artists there is not too bothersome to me. People looking for me can find me.” — “I think some people are looking on artnet to see if artists are there. It’s a destination.”
by Bryan Dunleavy
I checked out Artnet. It has these virtues:
1. It is well organized
2. It has a simple, easy-to-understand interface. (No Flash, fancy fonts, lurid colors)
3. Images load very quickly.
I am so impressed that I may participate. Thanks for highlighting its existence.
by Barbara Mason, Portland, Oregon, USA
I am on line in a lot of places, not on artnet. This seems so outrageously expensive for an artist and there are soooo many artists here, how would anyone ever find you? If they already know your name, they will find you other places, if not the chances are pretty slim. I already have a gallery site, my own site, am on a second gallery site and on worldprintmakers site and monotypes.com This seems to me lots of exposure and costs me only about $300 a year for all of it. Art net is $1000 for 10 images… pretty steep. I’ll bet no one sells from there. If I was going to try anything new it would be http://www.nextmonet.com.
by Moncy Barbour
Artnet.com made it possible through their network to have my first show in New York. I really do not know when the show may take place. However just look at the ranks of the other artist you are with. I think that you are in good company — not talking of myself.
Quality is the main criterion
It’s really got to do with the quality of the work, hasn’t it? As well as productivity, personality, availability. Work that won’t sell in the real world won’t sell on the net. My work connects with people and it wouldn’t matter if I was on artnet (I am) or some other, people would still be attracted to what I do. But if you thumb through the artnet pages put up and paid for by a lot of hopeful artists, there is no chance, unless they got really lucky or found a sponsor through the system. Anonymous please.
I am already a popular artist. I have several dealers who do a good job. Artnet brings people who already know my work and they are prompted to get in touch and buy direct from me. I don’t mind this attention and some people like to do that. Please don’t print my name.
by Joanna R Ballard, Houston, Texas, USA
Petru Russu of Art Addiction/World of Art highly recommended Art Diary as THE CULTURE vs. Art in America as the Coca-Cola Culture. Rather pejorative view. But, I have a habit of asking these newcomers to my email, Where did they find me? Usually it was from artnet.com. Not from any other website. I wondered if Art Diary had come through Russu who was once affiliated with them. Russu’s website is slick, and he also found me on artnet.com What artnet.com (second year) has done is present my work to the world (Barcelona, Italy, Sweden) and kept me visible. I did check out your issue on the survey by artists of website showing, and from that I decided to re-subscribe to artnet.com. Mainly as a visible portfolio and usable resume, though I prefer Russu’s resume format to any other. Art Addiction is $150.00 a year vs. artnet.com which is $500 for re-new with no changes. I can send images from artnet easier than from artaddiction. But artaddiction, while virtual, is also a mortar gallery representation. One in Sweden and one in Venice, and a contemporary art magazine called World of Art, and it has just made its US debut through Barnes and Noble. Also slick. They are covering the ArtBasel Fair this next issue and have been invited to Miami. My purpose with Art Addiction was primarily to be in the issue of World of Art, i.e. publication, portfolio, exposure, and hopefully sales. It costs. Right now, one full page for the ArtBasil fair in Miami is $1790.00. I don’t have to belong to Art Addiction for that one. I had hopes that a gallery would offer me something on the brick-and-mortar level from artnet. So far, I have been approached by web/virtual people like Art Diary and others. It is my habit to review their artists, especially women and watercolor, and prices before I would consider submitting. Most of the watercolors are in a different market than mine. Mine are oversize and larger.
by Roger Cummiskey, Dublin, Eire
I am delighted to let you know that I am not associated with artnet and I can happily claim that this is one site from which I receive no emails or contact or comment of any sort. When they become really famous I shall regret it!
Problems with buying art on the Net
by Deborah Russell, Lutherville, Maryland, USA
Sorry about “no further details.” I have a few listings that are “ages old,” listing my gallery, Parallels which closed for business in 1998. Makes one wonder about the validity of the information that is available. A friend of mine, who owns a gallery/studio and started a non profit arts organization, was preparing to “go internet.” We discussed some of the pros and cons and the subject of the quality of work being shown on the web came up. He feels, as I do, that the internet is not a place that people want to buy fine art. It does have some negative aspects as far as potential buyers go.
I would not purchase art work from the internet. I like to purchase from artists that I know personally. I want to see it, feel it and taste it, before I make a purchase. Besides, I love talking to my peers, it makes the purchase “more mine.”
I have not put my art work on the net and do not plan to do so in the near future. If I do open a gallery in the coming year, I might consider a commercial site with sample work of my artists, but would not depend on that aspect as a source of income.
How to add details?
by Pamela Simpson
My husband, David Lussier, found himself listed on www.AskArt.com We don’t know how he got there, maybe American Artist Magazine put him there since that is one of the very few details listed. I don’t know how to add information to his bio and the way it is now, just like your Artnet listing, he looks like he’s inactive or dead. Has anyone else found themselves listed on this one? If so have they found a way to add information to it?
A whole new world
by Jeannie Castro
One of your subscribers wrote to say she liked my art work with artaddiction in Sweden. Also I did not know I still had a web page. I was with Petru Russu for 3 years, but did not get any feed-back… so I discontinued service. I’m now again with artaddiction, and if all goes well I will be in World of Art magazine in Dec. 5. 2001 issue. It has been a roller coaster ride dealing with Mr Russu, a long story I will tell you about some day… Artnet.com is wonderful. I just got in the computer world 4 or 5 months ago, so I am like a kid with all the art on the internet, it has opened a whole new world for me… Also my mother Phyllis Braun is now with artaddiction. I really don’t expect to sell, so difficult for me, with my style of painting. My mother has had some success there with her watercolors.
by Rachelle Krieger, New York, USA
Although I am not listed with artnet, I have a website at art.net, a non-profit site run by artists. I recently sold five paintings to a gallery in London through this site, without doing any promoting of my own. Each artist puts together their own site and posts it there for $60 a year (a bargain!). The webmaster does all of the promoting for art.net. You also get a huge amount of space and you can do whatever you want. Their main page is at www.art.net.
Passive and active
by Yaroslaw Rozputnyak, Moscow, Russia
For the Russia and other countries, where the standard of living is lower, Internet provider is large brake because of high cost of access in the Internet. Even I, for three years of presence in the Internet have spent already appreciable quantity of money on the Internet access and researches. I have concluded that there are two approaches on sales through the Internet: Passive one — be submitted in the lists on different collective servers and, Active one — to have an own site for sales. In Russia it is necessary to allocate this selling site from art author’s site for buyer convenience.
Need to know numbers
by L Diane Johnson, North Carolina, USA
I have not yet signed on with Artnet. After several attempts to obtain information about the measurable results of using their service without response, I have elected not to use them at this time. It is very nice indeed, that no commissions are charged. However, the $1000-3000 per annum fee is fine as long as sales are being made, or substantial visibility/career advancement for artists is achieved.
I’ve had a Web presence for 6 years, been a Web developer during most of that time, and have utilized the services of fee-based as well as “free” art marketing sites. Some have been of benefit for web exposure but not for direct art sales. Fee-based sites in particular are very willing to charge artists up-front fees then no action is taken on behalf of the artist after the initial Web sites have been created.
I know there are no guarantees, however, whenever I market my paintings through a gallery, consultant, etc., one of the criteria used is what their sales track record has been. This is key to deciding to use any service, online or not. When I can know more about Artnet’s real numbers selling for artists, then I would be first in line to consider working with them.
The potential is still very great for the future of art sales via the Web. At the very least, I recommend artists have their own site, experiment with ways to market including online art services to supplement until the most effective venue shakes out.
Just content to paint
I feel that this form of “showing” may be of benefit to some… but collectivity does not represent the best interest of most. As for myself, I would be delighted if just one someone would take note of all my wonderful masterpieces… Ha.!! Right now I am content to just sit in my studio and paint. I may have to move one day and get a larger place just to store my works… ! I wonder why I do it… well, I just cannot… That’s all folks.
You may be interested to know that artists from every state in the USA, every province in Canada, and at least 93 countries worldwide, including Afghanistan, have visited these pages since January 1, 2001.
That includes Skip Van Lenten who says, ” ‘There are no details for Robert Genn at this time,’ can only add to the mystique.”
And Barbara Steele Thibodeaux who says, “I would have to hear from some others that Artnet produced a return on investment before I spend that kind of money.”
And Dick Money of Glasgow, Scotland, who says, “I think I’ll hang out my shingle.”
And Kassahun Kebede of Jimma, Ethiopia who says, “Great persons Don Getz, Frank Webb, Charles Sovek and other known artists saved me from the very bad situation in which I had been hopelessly considered myself as a dropped fruit crop that falls from the tree before it is ready for picking.”
You may remember a previous letter was about the dog’s hair getting into paintings. Responses to this item can be found at http://painterskeys.com/authenticity/