This morning I received another invitation to list my work on a high end home furnishings, art and decor selling platform. The email boasts that the site receives 4.5 million U.S. visitors per month, has 30,000 registered designers and most importantly, that “art” is one of their top search words. Their terms: 70% of the sale price goes to the artist, the artist sets the pricing, and there’s no fee to list. The site is curated, so your work must go through their curatorial team before it’s approved to sell.
If you’re a part of the gallery system like me, this is probably not an appropriate route. If you’re not, and looking for ways to reach collectors, it might be of interest. Perhaps you’ve already received the invitation, too. Before we go further, what kind of artist needs such a sales partner? Here are a few ideas:
Are you working with a gallery, and are they currently listing your work on an online platform? If so, you might consider honouring them by leaving them to it. Most platforms are costly (and curated) and galleries stick their necks out to put you there, along with their branding and infrastructure, advertising and support material.
Are you working outside the gallery system and looking for more online exposure, including access to the design trade?
Is your work contemporary? (This particular platform says it focuses on contemporary artwork.)
Do you have a reasonable amount of inventory available and are you currently working steadily to produce more?
Are you willing to photograph your work, hold it in your studio, and pack it and ship it when it sells?
Are you willing to offer your work at a discount to the design trade?
What are the drawbacks of listing on an online platform? Have a good look at the site in question. It’s time for the essentials, again:
What are my goals for my art?
What kind of work am I trying to make?
Is my work original?
Am I prepared to produce for the marketplace?
Have I drafted a fair and universal price list?
Is the quality of my practice consistent and professional?
Do I have excellent images?
Can I pivot from here to a gallery should the opportunity arise?
Submitting your work to a curatorial team on a furnishings, art and decor platform, at worst, can be a test of your appeal to a mass contemporary design market. In other ways, it can be part of the same prep as for submitting to a commercial gallery: an original, developed and archival body of work, professional images, and well-prepared support materials. At worst, you may find out your work’s not popping in the mainstream; or your practice, not ready. At best, you could find your audience and be off to the races — without ever leaving the studio. “Beyond the age of information,” wrote Charles Eames, “is the age of choices.”
PS: “A good basic selling idea, involvement and relevancy, of course, are as important as ever, but in the advertising din of today, unless you make yourself noticed and believed, you ain’t got nothin’.” (Leo Burnett)
Esoterica: This letter is not an advertisement. I am not endorsing or partnered with any online sales platforms. Instead, I sincerely hope that sharing this information with you here, can be helpful to those of you who are interested. Here is the “seller’s guide” that was attached to the email invitation I received this morning — it will at least give you an idea of their process. My guess is that you can log in to the site and register as a seller and let the curatorial team decide if you’re a go. It could be worth a try. If you do, or if you’re already working with Chairish, I’d appreciate it if you’d share how you‘re making out, in the comments, below. “I love the healthy exchange of information.” (Brice Marden)
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“Growth itself has the germ of happiness.” (Pearl S. Buck)
Join Ellie Harold for “Intuitive Painting: Permission to Paint Expressively,” designed especially for mature women artists of all skill levels who wish to explore this medium for soulful exploration. The retreat provides attractive accommodations (your own room!) along with lightly structured activities for centering, relaxation and low stress art-making. You’ll have plenty of free time to muse, paint, write and reflect while enjoying the colors, textures and flavors of San Miguel. This Retreat has the potential to transform not only your art but your life! You’ll return home with a specific art “care plan” to assure support for further creating. Details at www.EllieHarold.com.
The way that I interpret what I see
is my Way.
I paint, because it’s the most satisfying way that I’ve found
to be myself.