Selling Art Online: 9 Artists Share Their Stories

This is a compilation of stories, tips and advice from artists who have made money selling their art online.

Artist Jim Stevens

“I became a professional artist later in life and also began with the disadvantage of being legally blind from combat wounds suffered while in the Army. But despite the apparent drawbacks, I quickly became known for my work in scrimshaw and unique portrait paintings on mixed-media canvases. I won many local art competitions including several Best of Show awards but I wanted to reach a wider audience of collectors, and given my late start as an artist, I wanted to reach those collectors in as short a time as possible.

“To that end and with limited Internet skills, I built a very basic website to present my art and accept commissions. Once up, I started telling all my existing collectors and friends about my website. Via the magic of word of mouth, and better Internet skills than mine, those people emailed their friends and so on until I began drawing a small but international audience – and my first Internet sales.

“My first Internet sale was also my first international sale to a collector in Trieste, Italy.

“I continued to enter art shows, expanding my entries to other cities, listing awards won on my website, taking on a few commissions and selling a few works of art. And as my works became noticed, the media also began taking notice. Over the next few years my art and my story of being a legally blind artist appeared in over 50 television and media publications.

“The media interest brought my work to the attention of gallery owners in Seattle, Denver and Rhode Island and my work has been galleried in those cities along with temporary showings in other cities around the country.

“To someone starting out, I would say do not discount the value of entering juried art shows and then using that history to invite media attention to what you are doing. Also, have a story to tell about yourself that ties into your art. Your story is just as important as your art when it comes to why the media decide to feature you and your work.

“Also, your website does not need to be super fancy. It just needs to work well to feature your art and allow a person to inquire about a piece or buy it directly from the page it’s on. My first website was a bare-bones affair, but it was easy to navigate and the images of each work of art were the best I could put up. I also had an email link on each page to inquire about a piece, the price for each piece and a button for them to click if they wanted to buy it right away.

“Today, I pay someone else to manage my website and schdule so I can concentrate on creating art and completing commissions for collectors.”

–Jim Stevens, The Scrimshaw Studio and Art of Jim Stevens

Read the other 8 stories – PERMALINK:


May 17, 2020

Karen Green