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20 Best Ways To Sell Art Online And Make Money In 2023

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Selling art online has become increasingly popular for artists looking to make a living doing what they love. With the internet providing a platform to reach potential buyers across the globe, it opens up new opportunities that weren‘t available before.

This guide will provide you with 20 of the best ways to sell your art online and actually make money doing it in 2023.

1. Sell Art on Instagram

Instagram is one of the best platforms for artists to showcase and sell their work. With over 2 billion monthly active users, it provides a massive potential audience.

To sell art on Instagram:

  • Optimize your profile to feature your best work
  • Use relevant hashtags so people can discover you
  • Post consistently high-quality images
  • Engage with your audience in comments and stories
  • Link to your online shop in your bio
  • Collaborate with relevant influencers
  • Use paid partnerships and advertising

The key is driving traffic to your online shop through Instagram without being overly promotional. Provide value to your audience and consistent aesthetics.

2. Set Up An Online Shop

An online shop allows you to sell your art directly to buyers without a middleman. There are many user-friendly platforms available to create your own art shop:

Shopify – Robust ecommerce platform to build and customize an online store.

Etsy – Marketplace focused on handmade and vintage goods. Low fees and large buyer audience.

Wix – Free website builder with built-in online store features.

Squarespace – Beautiful templates to create a professional online art store.

No matter which platform you choose, make sure to have high-quality images, detailed descriptions, and clear purchasing options for your artwork.

3. Sell Art on Print-on-Demand Sites

Print-on-demand (POD) websites allow you to upload your artwork so it can be printed on products as orders roll in. This saves you from having to pay for inventory upfront or deal with shipping physical products yourself.

Some popular print-on-demand platforms include:

  • Redbubble – Sell artwork on t-shirts, stickers, iPhone cases, and more
  • Society6 – Home decor, apparel and accessories featuring your designs
  • Fine Art America – Focused on prints, canvases, and paper products

The benefits of print-on-demand are huge. You design the artwork and the rest is handled for you, all while keeping 50-85% profits on anything sold.

4. Exhibit Your Art in Online Galleries

Online art galleries provide exposure by allowing collectors to discover and purchase your work from anywhere in the world.

They usually take a commission of 20-50% per piece sold but handle all fulfillment and provide you their online presence.

Some online gallery options to check out:

Do research to find ones fitting your art style and price range. Make sure to provide plenty of high-quality images and informative details on each piece.

5. Sell Digital Downloads of Your Art

Digital downloads are artwork files that customers can purchase and download directly without any physical product being shipped.

They provide passive income potential after the initial design work is done. Some examples of digital art you can sell online:

  • Illustrations
  • Photography
  • Painting tutorials
  • Coloring pages
  • Printable sticker sheets
  • Vector graphics and icons

Set up your own digital shop using platforms like Gumroad, Etsy or Shopify. Pricing digital downloads affordably, usually under $10, allows for impulse purchases and the potential for multiple sales per customer.

6. Offer Custom Commissions

Commissions provide income by creating custom artwork specifically for a buyer. This allows you to engage directly with clients to bring their unique projects to life through your artistic talents.

Ways you can offer art commissions:

  • Portrait paintings
  • Pet drawings
  • Home decor murals
  • Wedding artwork
  • Album cover illustrations
  • Family caricatures

Set guidelines on what you will and won’t create along with pricing minimums. Schedule out projects properly so you don’t get overloaded.

7. Sell Art Tutorials Online

Beyond selling the finished works, you can also generate income by teaching your artistic skills and techniques. Online learning platforms make it possible to sell art tutorials directly to students across the globe.

Popular tutorial platforms include:

  • Skillshare – Upload pre-recorded classes or teach live.
  • CreativeLive – Known for high-quality video courses and workshops.
  • Udemy – Build your own in-depth online art courses.

Come prepared with an engaging teaching style, high-quality recording equipment, and valuable skills to share. Provide students with resources, homework assignments, and active feedback.

8. Crowdfund Your Next Art Project

Crowdfunding allows people to pitch ideas for creative projects so that others can contribute financially toward making them happen.

Running an art crowdfunding campaign provides startup funding and a pre-built audience excited to engage.

Some top art crowdfunding platforms:

  • Kickstarter – The most well-known option with huge reach.
  • Indiegogo – Flexible funding options and international audience.
  • GoFundMe – Best for fundraising for personal causes.

Come up with fun backer perks, detailed project plans, and an engaging video introduction. Marketing your campaign creatively leads to more visibility and funding potential.

9. Sell Your Art at Local Markets, Fairs, and Festivals

Local in-person events provide an opportunity to sell your artwork directly to customers. They allow interested buyers to view and purchase your original pieces or prints while getting to know you as an artist.

Ways to take part:

  • Apply to have a booth at arts/craft fairs and festivals
  • Check with local mom & pop shops to exhibit inside
  • Set up a booth at flea markets and trade shows
  • Host a local pop-up art sale

This works best if you enjoy actively networking and selling your artwork in-person. Having business cards, artist statements, packaging, and display items help convey professionalism.

10. Partner with Local Businesses, Brands, and Venues

There are likely many local establishments interested in showcasing artwork. Approaching ones whose vibe aligns with your work style can lead to sales opportunities, exposure, or passive income.

Venue partnership ideas:

  • Cafes/restaurants to exhibit on walls
  • Hotels to feature art in rooms
  • Stores to sell products with your designs
  • Event spaces to display during conferences
  • Interior designers or architects for clients
  • Sponsor local fundraisers or 5k‘s

Drop off customized portfolios showcasing your art. Be persistent yet polite with follow-up. Offer reasonable pricing and terms.

11. License Your Art

Art licensing provides ongoing royalty payments whenever your artwork gets utilized on third party products. You keep the copyright ownership while businesses handle the manufacturing and sales.

Some examples:

  • Greeting card designs
  • Fabric patterns
  • Stickers/decals
  • Phone cases
  • Puzzles/games
  • Collectible figurines
  • Coloring books

Research art licensing agents or approach companies directly. Ensure licensing agreements are formalized before allowing use of your designs.

12. Sell Merchandise Featuring Your Art

Designing products featuring your artwork is a way to create an additional income stream beyond selling the raw artwork alone.

Merchandise ideas:

  • Apparel – t-shirts, hats, hoodies
  • Home goods – pillows, mugs, shower curtains
  • Accessories – phone cases, tote bags, pins
  • Stationery – stickers, notebooks, greeting cards

You can self-fulfill orders or use print-on-demand dropshipping to save on inventory costs. Setting up an online merch shop is easy with platforms like Shopify.

13. Become an Affiliate Marketer

If directly selling art doesn’t appeal to you, affiliate marketing allows you to earn commissions promoting other artists’ products and services.

Ways to incorporate affiliate marketing as an artist:

  • Share art supply deals with your audience
  • Review classes or tutorials and provide signup links
  • Suggest digital products related to your niche
  • Promote an upcoming art fair/festival
  • Recommend your favorite Etsy shops

You don’t need to create any products yourself. Simply drive relevant traffic using your influencer status.

14. Get Paid for Speaking Gigs

Public speaking engagements provide income from sharing your story and expertise surrounding the art world.

Speaking opportunities might include:

  • Art conventions/trade shows
  • Creative business conferences
  • University guest lectures
  • Museum or gallery exhibitions
  • Local community art events
  • Podcast interviews

Have a website, press kit, portfolio, and video samples ready. Reach out to event organizers with unique presentation ideas tailored to each audience.

15. Enter Your Work Into Art Competitions

Art competitions provide artists with opportunities to showcase their talents for prizes and public exposure. The most prestigious ones offer career-changing opportunities and critical acclaim.

Some competitions to consider entering:

  • BP Portrait Award
  • Football Art Prize
  • British Wildlife Photography Awards
  • Ricky Gervais Prize
  • World Illustration Awards

Be strategic in choosing reputable competitions aligned with your niche. Stick within your comfort zone before attempting advanced contests with intense criteria.

16. Exhibit at Art Fairs and Expos

Large scale art fairs and expos give direct access to huge pools of buyers and gallery owners otherwise out reach. They provide face-to-face interactions to form new relationships and collaboration opportunities.

Top art fairs across the globe:

  • Art Basel Miami
  • Frieze Art Fair London
  • Masterpiece Art Fair London
  • Art Paris Art Fair
  • Armory Show New York
  • Art Cologne

Apply well in advance to secure a booth allowing you to show your artwork on an international scale. Transporting and insuring pieces can get costly so partnering up helps with expenses. Come prepared knowing pieces that collectors may inquire about during the fair.

17. Get Press Features as an Artist

Earning press features helps establish authority and trust while expanding your artistic reach immensely. Reporters and editors are constantly seeking experts to quote and stories to cover.

Types of media to connect with:

  • Art/design publications
  • Local culture blogs
  • Regional newspapers and magazines
  • Industry trade journals
  • Popular podcasts
  • Influencer YouTube channels

Put together a media kit showcasing your background, featured work, artist bio, and press images. Reach out politely with story angles tailored to each outlet.

18. Rent Out Studio Space

Do you have unused space available with great lighting perfect studio potential? Renting it out to other artists provides a steady stream of income in between your own projects.

Ways to offer affordable rentals:

  • Partition larger areas
  • Offer hourly slots
  • Include basic tools/furniture
  • Price lower for longer leases
  • Offer student discounts

Ensure there are proper amenities and resources available nearby. Keep common areas and supplies stocked. Market vacancies through local universities and art communities.

19. Teach In-Person Art Classes

Leverage your artistic talents by teaching techniques to students of all ages in-person. This provides an alternate income stream while giving back to help shape future artists.

Class format options include:

  • After school programs
  • Homeschool co-ops
  • Adult education nights
  • Weekend workshops
  • Day camps during school breaks
  • Residency programs

Rent studio space or connect with schools and community centers. Splitting profits with host venues makes this a turnkey business startup.

20. Offer Art Consulting Services

Some buyers feel overwhelmed navigating the complex world contemporary art. Your artistic eye and passion for curation make you perfectly suited to offer consulting services.

Help clients with:

  • Sourcing investment-quality emerging pieces
  • Decorating residential or commercial spaces
  • Planning museum-worthy collections
  • Researching and evaluating artists
  • Documenting and cataloging existing collections

Set competitive rates given the expertise required. Be ready to provide trustworthy guidance helping collectors make strategic fine art purchases.

Beyond putting these tactics into place yourself, you can gain motivation and knowledge by following top art influencers.

Here are 8 must-follow artists dominating the Instagram game:

1. Takashi Murakami (@takashipom)

Japanese artist Takashi Murakami has perfected the blend of fine art with commercialization across mediums. His pieces have sold for over $15 million and he has collaborated with brands like Louis Vuitton.

Why Follow – Brings modern pop art to life. Collabs with celebrities.

2. Damien Hirst (@damienhirst )

British legend Damien Hirst creates iconic contemporary installations questioning mortality and science. His current climate change focused Butterfly series pieces run $750,000+.

Why Follow – Unique perspective. Big personality documenting creative process.

3. Daniel Arsham (@danielarsham)

Multidisciplinary contemporary artist Daniel Arsham specializes in manipulations of architecturally inspired sculptures and believable fictional archaeological relics.

Why Follow – Innovative use of shape, space and form. Museum/brand partnerships.

4. Alexa Meade (@alexameadeart)

Alexa Meade produces complex meta paintings creating the illusion of three dimensions on the two-dimensional canvas surface. Her work challenges relationship between painting and photography.

Why Follow – Mind-bending techniques. Behind-the-scenes creative action.

5. Tugrul Karacan (@tkaracan)

Turkish born American illustrator and visual development artist Tugrul Karacan has worked on animated films like Minions and Secret Life of Pets. Known for colorful geometric landscapes.

Why Follow – Modern digital illustration process. Industry connections.

6. Aileen Quintana (@haiiileen)

Aileen Quintana is a new media sculptor and installation artist able to visualize soundwaves and frequencies by assigning colors and textures. Check out her audio responsive sculptures!

Why Follow – Innovative audio sculptures. DIY electronics tips.

7. Shantell Martin (@shantell_martin)

Shantell Martin uses an uninhibited stream-of-consciousness drawing approach exploring lines and their ability to form relationships with one another. She‘s collaborated with major brands like YouTube, Google and Vitra.

Why Follow – One continuous line drawings. Travel adventures.

8. Dan Lam (@sopopomo)

Painter and muralist Dan Lam creates distinctive wild characters combined with dripping color fields. She actively shares works in progress along with peeks inside her studio.

Why Follow – Bright creatures. Relatable artist’s lifestyle.

Selling art online removes many limitations that traditional galleries and brick-and-mortar shops faced. Artists are empowered connect directly with buyers and curate their own spaces.

This guide provided 20 tested ways for artists to sell artwork online along with top influencers leading by example.

Determining which avenues align best with your bandwidth, business goals and artistic style accelerates the path to profitability. Don’t be afraid to experiment across multiple channels to discover your perfect formula.

Stay tuned for more guides helping artists sell more art while avoiding burnout. Feel free to reach out with any requests for topics to be covered related specifically to artists – I’m here to help!

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