Whether you’re just starting out in your career or you are a seasoned pro with a solid reputation and numerous exhibits under your belt, offering digital reproductions of your art for sale is an excellent way to reach a larger audience.
Prints are more affordable and accessible than original artwork, so you can tap into a much greater marketplace, which allows you to make more of a profit on your creative labor. When handled properly, selling your art this way won’t degrade the value of your fine art. In fact, it’s not only great income, but a great marketing tool to distinguish you as an artist of note. Many artists have been discovered by galleries and fine art patrons precisely by offering art for sale as collectible prints. Heather Day, Zac Elletson and David Cheifetz are some examples, along with Natasha Wescoat, who also offers her business savvy to help others jumpstart their art careers.
For the fine artist, making limited edition prints, numbered, signed and dated for authenticity—and marketing these works on popular, credible websites—is a rewarding venue for building sales and exposing your work to the market. But you need a safe, secure platform to do this, and do it well.
Here are seven top websites to view and consider as opportunities for selling prints:
This site holds true to its “It’s Art for Everyone” slogan for accessibility—and is highly recommended in design and home décor publications as a great resource for affordable, fantastic pieces.
20×200 is dedicated to meticulous care and attention; every piece of art for sale comes with an artist-signed and numbered certificate of authenticity.
How to Place Your Art for Sale on 20×200
You need to craft a pitch and submit images of your work, or a link to your website for viewing images. If they’re interested, curators will then take steps to collaborate with you to produce limited-edition artwork exclusively for 20×200. With your input and suggestions, they handle the presentation of your work on the site, and then take care of printing and order fulfillment. This way, you can focus on creating your art. Another bonus: 20×200 has a dynamic web and social media presence, so your work will receive greater exposure (and more sales!).
Mammoth & Co. supports the arts community with an artist-run, non-traditional approach to showcasing and selling art. This Canadian gallery operates in a renovated 80-year-old barn on the edge of the Pacific Ocean outside Victoria, B.C. Founded in 2010 by two good friends, Mammoth & Co. now represents 100 artists from around the world, and has shipped art to 25 different countries. The site is very fresh and provocative to look through, articulating diverse aesthetic styles by emerging and established artists.
How to Place Your Art for Sale on Mammoth & Co.
Submit a pitch with five to 10 low-res images and a link to your online portfolio for consideration. Curators will review your submission and contact you to proceed if you’ve made the cut. Mammoth & Co. takes care of all the printing, shipping, and customer relations with a special features and discounts program. They also produce a great blog with artist profiles, and related news and events.
Who says fine art has to be framed and hung on a wall? Canvas prints, iPhone cases, wallpaper, rugs and more, Society6 brings décor inspiration to the forefront with whimsical and thought-provoking works of art. Opportunity knocks here for emerging and established artists to bring art to everyday objects and interior design.
How to Place Your Art for Sale on Society6
You post a high-quality image of your art, and decide on products from Society6, pricing and sizes you’d like to sell. Then you start getting active as a part of the Society6 community, following and promoting other artists, commenting on art that you like, and joining a Facebook group or two for Society6 artists.
Another promotional feature is the artist curator program, where you receive a unique creator link to share with your family, friends and followers. When they make a purchase of any piece by any artist on the site, you receive a cut of the profits.
Society6 takes care of the production and customer shipping. The site also has an extensive online retail partner network, so every time you post your Society6 artwork for sale, it is automatically eligible to be sold online by any of the Society6 retail partners through their online stores. You continue to control the rights to the art, but have even greater opportunity for exposure and sales.
Minted connects consumers with a community of independent artists, and promotes design originals and prints, along with a range of other items, including home décor accents, such as pillows, curtains and table lines, stationery, and custom wedding cards and invitations.
How to Place Your Art for Sale on Minted
Designers submit their work, and the Minted community of independent artists and designers (located in 48 states and 43 countries) votes to tell curators what to sell. Very democratic but, if your work doesn’t resonate with the community, there’s no other route to get your art onto the site.
Through crowdsourcing, the community rates the entries and analytics evaluate votes. Minted then produces and sells the winning designs, paying the designer a commission on every sale. Taking it a step further, winning artists and designers also have stores on Minted. They can launch any of their creations into their stores, while Minted handles the manufacturing, fulfillment, and customer service side of the businesses.
Tappan Collective is a gorgeous L.A.-based online gallery that also offers its services to curate bricks-and-mortar spaces and exhibitions. The Collective is a platform for discovery, where emerging visual artists can meet new and experienced collectors.
How to Place Your Art for Sale on Tappan Collective
Submit a pitch and images of your work to pique the site curators’ interest. Open to new talent, they work with artists of a variety of mediums to select work to be showcased, and provide collectors with information about the artists and their work. The Collective takes care of printing and order fulfillment, offering a high level of service and custom requests. They’ve got social media covered, of course, and the Journal blog visits artists in their studios to capture their personal environments and inspirations. Tappan Collective provides ample opportunity for great exposure and letting the world know about your process as an artist.
6. Deviant Art
A huge and evolving online art gallery and community, Deviant Art embraces technology so you can reap the benefits. This is an edgy platform for “undiscovered” and more established artists to promote and sell their work as prints and art gifts like calendars, mugs and greeting cards—and be part of an active online community. There are daily drawing challenges, site user discussions, and comments and banter about the art available.
Headquartered in L.A., Deviant Art was founded in 2000 and now has more than 38 million registered members (called deviants) who upload about 150,000 original works of art every day to their individual stores on the site. You’ll find everything from sculpture and painting to pixel art, digital art, films and anime.
How to Place Your Art for Sale on Deviant Art
You can register as a member free of charge, and then upload the image of your original art to your individual store and go from there. While you have the choice to handle your own production and order fulfillment, Deviant Art offers these services for you. Other members can leave comments on your stores pages, much like a blog format, so there’s an opportunity for connecting and discussion.
Now a global marketplace for creative and handmade goods, Etsy remains the site for selling art and crafts. Given its scale and depth, the challenge on Etsy is making your art show up in user search and then stand out from the vast crowd.
How to Place Your Art for Sale on Etsy
To join Etsy you create your own store, so you’ll need to learn the tricks to getting found in search (like optimizing tag spaces with good keywords and phrases that buyers are likely to search for) and also have excellent images and plenty of product to promote shopper clicks.
Running your own Etsy store also requires a substantial commitment of your time and funds to handle all the printing, packaging and shipping so this is more about running your own store than placing your art. If this excites you, Etsy is a great place to explore.
Whether you’re a fine artist struggling to find a gallery or a thriving artist who wants to make their work more accessible to those shopping on a budget (art is for everyone, right?) there are great options to explore.
These seven sites provide you with very real opportunities to transcend traditional gallery restrictions and reach a large customer base. Enhancing your artistic offering with effective marketing, social media and, if applicable, next level customer service can help you really build your own business.
About the Author: Karen Hawthorne worked for six years as a digital editor for the National Post, contributing articles on business, food, culture and travel for affiliated newspapers across Canada. She now writes from her home office in Toronto as a freelancer, and takes breaks to bounce with her son on the backyard trampoline. Connect with her on LinkedIn.