I’ve been selling small paintings and limited edition prints online since January, mostly on Etsy, the Brooklyn based phenomenon for ‘handmade’ goods that launched back in 2005. 1000 Markets is another online retailer selling handcrafted artisan products of all kinds, including original paintings and hand-pulled prints. Sites like these seem to appear almost daily.
I’ve been pleasantly surprised that paintings still sell in a tiny-sized economy. After exhibiting in galleries and museums for decades without much financial gain, it’s a bit of a shocker. As you might imagine, I hope the future will include getting to know my post office workers by their first names. Technology, meet artist.
I’ve discovered that some of the Etsy and 1kM artists have MFA’s, are shown in brick and mortar galleries and yet they’re not too proud (or embarrassed) to hawk their work online. The early Abstract Expressionists paid their rents in much the same way, exhibiting at the 1931 Washington Square Outdoor Art Exhibit. Sharon Butler writes about that exhibit and the current version in this week’s Brooklyn Rail.
‘Paintings sold for between $5.00 and $250.00 (sculptures for slightly more), and in a good year, the show could yield the artists collectively up to $35,000.’
The one big difference is that one can’t see depth of field or texture in online works. But people buy clothing, (think cashmere) shoes and all kinds of other luxury goods online that have texture and a ‘feel’ to them. Why not art?
Here are some Etsy artists from ‘treasuries’ that I’ve curated over the past 8 months.
Deborah Graves Pipes, ‘Kansas, Cut Hay Field’, Acrylic on paper 26″x34″.
Charlene Hoder, Chaos, 6″ by 9″, handcut painting
Bryan Magnon, Childhood, mixed media on masonite, 19 1/8 ” x by 47 1/4″.
Studio550, ‘Yellow and Black’, Acrylic on canvas 30″x24″.
Lori Austill, ‘Spring’, Encaustic on wood, 36″x36″.
Sarah Giannobile, Original Ink Drawing, Ink on paper, 10 3/4″x12 1/4″.