Selling art online and reaching new markets: 5 tips for artists

The internet offers the visual art market great potential for growth and change. Currently, online sales make up just 1.6% of total global sales, but this is set to change. In the past couple of years millions of dollars have been invested in online sales platforms. In 2013 Artspace received $8.5m (£5.2m) of investment, Paddle8 received $6m (£3.6m) of investment – backers included Damien Hirst and Jay Jopling – andAmazon Art was launched.

A change in how art is sold has historically played an important role in the expansion of the art market. The salons helped expand the art market in the 19th century, the commercial galleries in the 20th century and now the internet has the potential to help expand the art market in the 21st.

With an expanding art market, we’re not just seeing changes to how art is sold, but also changes to what art is bought, why it is bought and by whom. Online sales platforms are providing some very exciting answersto these questions. The ability of online art platforms to empower the public as tastemaker is an example of one such change, one which has many positive outcomes: for the public, who will be able to refine their judgements of art; for artists, who desire a level playing field; and for culture, which will become far more representative of all society, not just the curator classes.

The internet is a great opportunity for emerging artists and buyers to enter the visual art market and shape its development. Social media, art sales platforms and individual websites – they all offer something different. Here are five top tips to help artists get started in the new and rapidly expanding online visual art market.

Don’t confuse networking platforms with sales platforms

Online sales platforms are designed to generate new sales from new clients, whereas individual artist websites and social media platforms are essential networking tools, designed to help manage existing clients. Social media is rarely considered an outlet for the purchase of art, and the websites of individual artists are becoming increasingly inconspicuous on the web.

Keep working with the traditional offline art market

Never undercut established gallery market prices online and don’t use the internet to offload inferior work. Online activities are not an alternative sales tool, but an additional sales tool to complement and support enterprises offline.

Be proactive and spread your options

Join a variety of different online sales platforms. They offer great convenience and choice to art buyers, much like art fairs, but they all operate slightly differently and so appeal to different art buyers for different reasons.

Saatchi Online takes the idea of a gallery online, Axisweb provides a fantastic industry networking tool, and Visual Art Trader – a site that I founded – is an online art network that appeals to local audiences. There are plenty to choose from, so shop around.

Online sales will never replace face to face sales

According to a report by ArtTactic and Hiscox, The Online Art Trade 2013, of those not buying art online, 79% said it was because they couldn’t inspect the artwork before purchase. Continue to exhibit artworks in as many offline spaces as possible, including your studio.

Keep information detailed and up to date

There are no sales teams online to answer buyers’ questions. Buyers must rely on the up-to-date and accurate information provided by the artist. In the ArtTactic and Hiscox report, 92% of art buyers said that the quality of the artwork image and the information presented on the website were the most important factors when buying art online.

Chris Grant-Peterkin is founding director of Visual Art Trader – follow him on Twitter @VisualArtTrader

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Cascade (in Electric Blues)

Commissioned in 2011 by the then principle, Mr Alex Alexandre, this site-specific work of contemporary art textiles measuring approximately 300 cm by 150 cm was designed as a talking point for the main dining room of Higham Hall College, Bassenthwaite, Cumbria.  Higham Hall is an independent adult education trust that offers a wide-ranging program of creative courses housed in an 19th century neo-gothic mansion, and a much loved and inspirational venue known to me over many years as a tutor.

The design brief was open-ended, with two practical requirements; that the piece absorbed sound, and that it was to be hung on the centrally-located stone -faced wall which divided the serving area from the main dining room (providing a workspace measuring approximately 1800mm by 3600mm).

To set the scene, there follows a brief description of the dining room.  Looking outside there are dramatic views of the northern fells and Skiddaw, while inside, the high ceilings and gothic windows house an eclectic mix of existing art works, tapestries, wooden furniture and mirrors, the latter running below a colourful large-scale abstract landscape painting reflecting the stone wall.

My aim was to create a contemporary, vibrant and colourful piece combining traditional working methods with modern technologies, and one that worked visually within this challenging space.

Taking my cue from the painting and tapestries, a colour story began to emerge: this picked up on areas of blues, to balance the reddish colours that dominated the room.  For example, dark inky blues, purplish blues, bright ultramarine blues, green-blues dominated, with tiny amounts of magenta and crimson added.

Thinking about the diverse nature of courses on offer at Higham, from music and dance to the arts and the great outdoors, I wanted Cascade to stimulate discussion and be open to a whole range of interpretations.

Compositionally the piece called for strong vertical lines. This in turn suggested visual musical scores and notation, and hinted at a piece speaking of visual and tactile soundscapes.  Drawing whilst listening to music produced rhythmic patterns and textures with a strong linear format, which in turn referenced growth patterns in the natural world and the Fibonacci number system as a compositional aid.

Once the concept was established, dye tests and techniques were sampled and the logistics of creating a large-scale piece were considered. The long, cascading lengths were individually constructed, each unit being made from a core of thick sisal string, hand-wrapped with dyed viscose ribbons, and bound with dyed gimps.  The loops and swirls protruding from the central core were organised in threes, fives or eighths.  Focal points and surprises were introduced in magenta and crimson, contrasting with the overall electric blue colour story.

The final piece is a double-layered construction, the outermost layer comprises twenty-five cascading lengths each hung separately, so that they could be grouped in different configurations.  A digitally-printed canvas in vertical stripes of varying proportions based on the Fibonnacci number system formed the underlying layer.  A sound-absorbing layer sandwiched between the printed cloth and the stone wall solved the practical issues of deadening the sound of the dining room.

Ruth Lee 2013


John mainly paints coastal scenes, river scenes and landscapes.

He has been painting for about 30 years now and what began innocently enough as an interesting if challenging hobby has in recent years somehow got out of hand. John cannot complain; he simply loves to paint!

Whenever possible John paints “en plein air” and sets up his easel in front of the scene he wants to paint, although for larger pieces he of course has to work in the studio.


Dave Evans Work on show at

I was born in Nottingham at the customary early age and currently live in Devon. In between I’ve acquired a BA(hons) in Fine Art (the image on the left is of me from my degree show, I won’t tell you how long ago that was!) and an MA in the History of Modern Art and Design. I’ve been a film-maker, an illustrator, model-maker, festival organiser, community radio reporter, clerical assistant and a civil servant. Now I’m back to being a full time artist.

Nicola Colbran Freeman’s Stunning Artwork For Sale ….

Inspired by light, nature and my travels.

I paint in a variety of mediums.  Oil being my favourite, however I also work in watercolour and pastel. My subjects are varied as I constantly need a challenge and am alwyas seeking new and inspiring images to capture.  My work includes portraits inspired by many years working as an international make-up artist.  Animals and pets which have always surrounded me, and the human body.  I love plienair, sea, sky and landscape with its ever changing light.

My studio/gallery is at my home on the Kent/Sussex border in an area of outstanding natural beauty and it is here that I do much of my painting and commissions.

I was born in London, went to Rochester School of Art after leaving school, then persued a career in Fashion and after a short time proceeded to work as a freelance make-up artist.  I spent many years travelling the world and was lucky to visit many stunning places which still inspire me.

To paint is such a great joy and I always look forward to my next project.


b Gallery Artists – Are you aware of your Data Protection Rights ?

It has come to our attention that some of our artists images have been placed on a new site

Anyone displaying your artwork without your permission is contravening your data protection rights. If you have not given your permission we would advise you contact the site asking where they copied your images from and request they remove them.

We feel it is our duty to inform you of any untoward activity regarding your artwork and will continue to alert you of any questionable or wrongful conduct.

It is your right to choose where your artwork is exhibited and by whom.

If you need further advice or clarification on data protection please do not hesitate to contact us.

Assuring you of our best intentions at all times.

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Caroline Ian –


I live in Cambridge with my husband and two grown up sons. I studied graphic design and photography and later completed a diploma in journalism. However, painting has always been part of my life and now I write and paint full time in my studio, a little 100-year old summerhouse at the bottom of our garden.

My favourite medium is oil as it allows for manipulation and change. This medium compliments perfectly what I try to achieve when I use glazes and texture.

My work is a synthesis of my own personal feelings; inspired by the random, yet harmonious chemistry of nature. It is my visual memory of the world around us. I start a new painting with an emotion, which provides me with a vivid sense of direction.

I often become engrossed and lose all track of time during the build-up of my skies and find the process extremely therapeutic. In 2013 I launched a dynamic collection of vivid landscapes focusing on trees! They evolve and change seasons during the process! I will continue to develop this collection along with a new series of large abstract painting in 2014.


Update of Sirenes work …..

I want to give you an update of the great development Sirenes has gone through since her first exhibition at a small gallery in Oslo, Norway in august 2011. Sirenes experienced her international breakthrough as an artist in 2013 with exhibitions in Italy, Spain, Canada, United States and in Norway. Sirenes was included in several great art books and magazines and recieved several art awards. In July the whole family travelled to New York to be present at her first exhibition at Agora Gallery – it was an unforgettable moment in life.
Sirenes is both humble and grateful after recieving a wonderful art review of her artwork related to the exhibition in New York, by Wilson Wong:  
“A Sublime Colorist Enamored of Light”
Wilson Wong writes: “Sirenes conveys an even more elusive subject by virtue of her mastery of chromatic dynamics as vibrant and yet gentle as the music of Ravel” and “an atmospheric miasma conjured with a finesse that calls to mind the 19th century British painter J.M.V Turner”. He continues with: “Sirenes appears to combine a gestural lyricism that can be compared favorably to the early Abstract Expressionist works of Philip Guston with a chromatic complexity that would do the Color Field master Jules Olitski proud. Her ability to combine these elements so successfully suggests that one might think of her as an “Abstract Impressionist”.”Wilson ends his review with: “it is the underlying abstract armature of formal balance informing her compositions that invariably enhances and empowers all of Sirenes’ paintings.”
Sirenes is now represented by galleries in Italia and United States, and she is already participating in the first exhibition in 2014 “Expo Bologna – started Jan  4th, the next scheduled exhibitions are in Florence in February and in Rome during Easter, and there is more to come. 
You can follow Sirenes art life on facebook!/SirensMalerier and her artwork is available at her online art gallery –

b Gallery Important Statement.

I have been alerted by bgallery members that they have received promotional emails from artistsinfo direct to their inbox. I have read with surprise an ‘interview’ and can confirm that there are a lot of untruths and make believe in it, and a lot of ‘borrowed’ statements too! I think it is appalling and shows the shallowness and lack of common decency from this new art directory who has used bgallery and its very good name along with its artists in an unsubstantial marketing campaign. The interview is terribly flawed throughout and comes across as quite ridiculous, however it is now in the hands of my legal team as I do not believe this kind of practice should be tolerated..