Where to sell art online

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UPDATE: This post about where to sell art online was first published on 1 September 2018 and updated on 9 August 2021.

If you’re an emerging artist wondering where to sell art online, we have good news. There’s never been an easier time to make a sustainable living as an artist. Thanks to the advent of eCommerce, social media and online marketplaces, you can now reach a global audience for your artwork with just the click of a button.

While the total art market value dropped by AU$19 billion in 2020, total sales of online art and antiques roughly doubled.

Art buyers, like consumers of many other goods, have been driven online.

But what does that actually mean for the local artist in Australia? How do you start and where do you go?

Luckily for you, we’ve done the groundwork. Here is a roundup of four of the best places to sell art online in Australia.

4 places to sell art online

Paintings, prints, drawings and photographs topped the list of online art purchases in 2020. Here’s where to sell them.

1. Your own website

Template example GoDaddy Online Store
Answer two questions and GoDaddy Online Store provides a theme for you to customize.

Selling art online is all about visibility. One of the best ways to build visibility online is by creating your own website. GoDaddy’s Online Store makes it easy for anyone to build a fully functional eStore, including inventory management, SSL encryption, and built-in payment and shipping. You retain complete control as the artist, no one takes a commission and you can showcase as much work as you like.

Even if you opt to sell your work via an online marketplace, there is still huge value in having a central home for your work. You can feature a small selection on a marketplace and direct visitors to your website to see your entire collection.

Quickly link your eBay account to your GoDaddy Online Store, so you never need to worry about selling the same piece twice.

The first step is to secure a domain name (learn how to choose one here). Be sure to check out .art if the .com or .au you want aren’t available.

Type your name in the box to see if your domain is available

Once that’s done, the easiest and quickest way to get a website up is by using a site builder. Just customize a pre-built theme like the one above with your own text and photos.

To sell your work from a WordPress website you will require a plugin such as WooCommerce and some tech proficiency (or a programmer friend) to set it up properly. Whatever option you choose, be sure it includes an SSL certificate to process payments securely on your website.

Top Tips

  • Try to get your own name as a domain if you can.
  • WordPress owners should choose a portfolio or gallery-style theme to best showcase their work.
  • Link your website to your social media channels and promote your website to your followers.
  • Add a blog to your site and write posts about your art practice, inspiration or mood boards and the stories behind your work.

Not sure about the legalities of starting an eCommerce business in Australia? Read this post for a list of requirements.

Related: Don’t let imposter syndrome keep you from your passion

2. Instagram

According to Statista, 74% of online art buyers surveyed in 2020 bought paintings on social media.

Where To Sell Art Instagram
Instagram has become a popular hangout for collectors who are looking for new work.

Top on any list of where to sell art, Instagram has long been a favourite with artists wanting to build their profiles and showcase their work.

Instagram is a hangout for both buyers and gallery owners, who use it to discover new artists and to follow those they already know.

Combining the power of a marketplace — a website or app where many individuals can sell products — with social media, Instagram offers artists the chance to build a community around their work. Try following and tagging art-based hashtags on your post for the best chance of wide exposure.

Now with the evolution of Instagram Shopping, buyers can make purchases directly from posts without leaving the app. Making the buying process as simple and seamless as possible has been revolutionary for artists and makers.

Top Tips

  • Use hashtags on your posts to build your profile, broaden your reach and make it easy for your work to be found.
  • Follow, connect and engage with galleries, influencers and other artists who might share your work. You could even find an eMentor.
  • Add a link to your own website in your Instagram profile bio and invite your followers to click through to see more work.

Note: You’ll need a business Facebook to take advantage of Instagram Shopping.

3. Big Cartel

Big Cartel is a fully-hosted online shop builder especially for artists and creatives. Big Cartel makes it possible to have your own unique storefront up and running in a matter of minutes.

Where To Sell Art Big Cartel
Big Cartel is renowned for its simplicity and ease of use.

Rather than taking a commission or charging transaction fees, Big Cartel operates on a monthly subscription model that you can cancel at any time. You can try it out for free with the Gold membership, which allows you to upload a maximum of five products to sell.

Fees for paid subscriptions are based on the number of products you list. Big Cartel also gives you the option of using your own custom domain name.

What it might lack in complex features and range of store designs Big Cartel makes up for with excellent support and usability. You don’t need any website building skills to create your store, so it’s perfect for someone just starting out. There’s also an app that you can download to your iOS device to manage your store from anywhere.

Top tips

  • Start with the free Gold membership and then upgrade as you need to.
  • Take high-quality photographs of your work to help make your art stand out and appeal to buyers.
  • Offer free local pickup as an added incentive for buyers in your area.

Those who have their own websites that aren’t set up for sales can add a shop link that connects with their Big Cartel online store.

4. Bluethumb

An Aussie startup that began with just 50 artists, Bluethumb has had a phenomenal rise. It’s free to join and is one of the best places online for emerging and established Australian artists to get their work shown.

Bluethumb charges a 30% commission, plus GST on sales (excluding shipping).

 

This marketplace takes care of all secure transaction processing, shipping and returns. The site also offers curated collections, hand-picked by the Bluethumb team, as well as a Featured Artist section.

Top tips

  • Engage buyers with an interesting, personalised bio. Talk about why you’re an artist, what inspires you and what mediums you love to work with.
  • Spread the word that you’re selling your work on Bluethumb and gain followers. They’ll be notified every time you upload new work.
  • Raise your profile by submitting an entry to the annual Bluethumb Art Prize competition, which celebrates the talent and diversity of Australian artists.

There are many other places to sell art online. A few more you could check out:

Look around at the options until you find one — or a combination — that suits you.

Where to sell art, in a nutshell

Where To Sell Art Artist in Studio
The internet is an important place to sell paintings, sculpture or any other type of art.
Photo: Madilyan Flickr via Compfight cc

Selling art online in Australia has never been easier. Combine the power of social media to build your profile and community of followers with the technological capabilities of eCommerce platforms, online shop builders and marketplaces.

Whether you choose to sell via your own site, through Instagram, a global marketplace — or all three — the possibilities to make a sustainable living from your art are viable.

Image by: Eddy Klaus on Unsplash