Online art

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″.

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4 Responses to Online art

  1. Thanks for introducing me to some new contemporary artists on Etsy, and for the wonderful encouragement of “low-tech” (paint and canvas), meets “high-tech” Internet for the art world these days!


  2. chickory says:

    i followed you here from the etsy forum on art on etsy. i like your choices of what you have posted here, and i also agree that having a gallery representing you is necessarily better than selling directly through the internet.

    my dealer represents 80 artists. the 50% commission means the price point is high excluding many buyers. i wont sign a contract because i reserve the right to sell my own work. does it make sense to give an exclusive to a space that makes money through 80 sources while i reduce mine to 1?

    when the 50% commission made sense was when you had a solo show. how is that commission justified in a group setting? i dont think it is. if the dealer isnt busy calling people up promoting sales for me then i am paying a commission for the privilege of hanging on a wall with the cache of being in a gallery.

    i do both.

    i am working on my own online shop as an addition to my illustration portfolio. soon i will probably migrate off of Etsy. it has a definite look and type of item it prefers – and that is fine. i just have found that where i once made a sale about every week it has dropped to almost nothing. and that was because of the front page format and the time machine being taken off the front as well as the SEO changes. it is a very big site -and the fact that so many resellers of manufactured goods have been caught on there and then back again under a new name gives one pause.

    well, thanks for this post and i wish you continued success on whatever sites you use.

  3. chickory says:

    sorry i meant to type:

    and i also agree that having a gallery representing you is NOT necessarily better than selling directly through the internet.

  4. Kathleen says:

    Nice selection of artwork. I have thought about expanding to include 1000 Markets and Artfire, but I haven’t done it yet. I also show in a gallery, but mine does not require and exclusive agreement and the consignment fee is only 30%.

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