eBay as a Launching Pad
After at least three years of selling on eBay, and as their fame and fan bases grew, both Ryan and TMNK began to get offers for shows. TMNK got an offer from one gallery in Milan and one in Norway. Both of those shows sold out, and now he’s making work for another one. Selling on eBay and on the street on a regular basis helped him to launch his career. He doesn’t have a big gallery representing him, but he has enough shows now that he no longer needs eBay the way he did. He has gone from what may sound like a modest beginning to driving a Jaguar and living in a half-million dollar home, and he has an assistant in his studio. Abbey Ryan has also pulled her work off eBay, or is at least putting things up for auction much less regularly, as galleries have begun to contact her.
So there you have it: two examples of artists who went from self-promoting on eBay to having galleries selling their work. This is something you can do, too—starting right now!
Your online sales can also extend to other items, such as print-on-demand books, prints, and DVDs. If you are trying to sell video work or prints, this may be a good option for you. With prints—by which I mean high-quality printouts of photographic images of artwork—you have a lot of choices. You can make prints of paintings, drawings, and even sculpture, because the prints are being made from a high-quality digital image. You do not have to make work just for prints; you can photograph anything, as long as it looks good.
That first image that is taken with a camera is crucial, because it must be perfect. That means you shouldn’t do it yourself unless you are a professional photographer with a light kit and umbrellas. The reason for that is when an image is reproduced, not only must it be in crisp focus, but also the colors have to be right, and it has to be perfectly square in the frame or cropped in Photoshop so that the image is squared. I know you have been using your iPhone or camera to repro- duce your art, and that’s ok as well, but if you experiment with hiring a real photographer who reproduces artwork, it will make a huge difference in how your work is perceived online.
To learn more about Brainard Carey and his services for artists, or to take a class from him, click here. To join one of his free weekly webinars, click here. To download the workbook mentioned in this series, click here.