I discovered a new online art site that is elegantly sophisticated in its interface and look. Cleaner and more spare than most of the sites I’ve seen devoted to art or for that matter, any retail, Sahadeva Hammari helped to design it and has also founded several others; CollabFinder.com, Rumplo.com and Boy Girl Talk– which kind of sounds like a David Sedaris story if he were straight. I joined Print Society in early December and was pleasantly surprised to find my work featured on their front page and as an editors’ pick today.
Having come from the dotcom boom that wired San Francisco in the late ’90’s to the bust in 2001 – and specifically ZDTV/TechTV, a hybrid interactive TV network built from the ground up through an online community, that went through multiple iterations – I’m thrilled that there is such a resurgence of genuine innovation for all kinds of online retail, which of course includes the art world, no matter how resistant folks (critics, gallerists, anyone but the artists) are to the idea.
I’ve heard people say that ‘serious’ art won’t be bought online, but rather than waste time on being insulted, I’ll take my chances on producing small pieces that are easily shipped to European, Australian and other distant collectors.
Dusk at Strybing, a painting I created in my garage in the Sunset. Circa 2000, San Francisco and still one of my favorites. Selling as a print on Printsociety.com (links to Etsy).
And the big boys have found Etsy. The New York Times ran an article on December 16th, that Etsy admin themselves didn’t yet have posted on the site when I threw the link into their community forums yesterday. To show how little regard there is for mainstream media, I had 5 people respond to my post.
An excerpt from the article:
These days, the fantasy of building a career on Etsy, an eBay of sorts of the do-it-yourself movement, is not just the stuff of dreams. Even before the recession, the site, which was founded in Brooklyn in 2005, was riding the “crafting” boom to prominence. When the job market collapsed, many hobbyists who already were selling jewelry or glassware as a sideline suddenly needed a real income.
While most people would find it impossible to meet a mortgage payment selling $8 crocheted mug cozies, some top-sellers on Etsy have moved beyond the stage of earning pocket money and are building careers — in some cases, earning six-figure incomes.
But even the successes add a note of “seller beware.” To build a profitable business on the site, they say — well, it’s a business. You need to build a brand identity, which often means courting design blogs or the news media. You need to manage distribution, which might mean standing in post office lines with a baby on your hip and a garbage bag filled with 30 self-packed boxes to ship. And as with any start-up, you need to maintain the morale of the labor force, which can be particularly challenging when you are the labor force, and the workday runs from “Good Morning America” to “Late Night With Jimmy Fallon.”
Personally I’m not sure why anyone running a small artisan business would have time to bother with ‘Good Morning America’ or ‘Late Night’, but this may be one reason why the article itself was ignored on Etsy.