A closer look at Duke Pearson’s role in creating the “Blue Note sound.”
A closer look at Duke Pearson’s role in creating the “Blue Note sound.”
by Carolyn Edlund
Artists have lots of different options to sell their work online. They may choose to sell through a third-party platform, such as online gallery, marketplace, or auction site. Or, they may sell directly from their own website. Many artists do both.
The value of having your own art website is that you alone are in control. You can’t be closed down by the “landlord” who owns a third-party platform. There won’t be links on the page that draw visitors away to look at someone else’s art. And, you can publish a completely custom website with all the bells and whistles, or use a DIY template from providers (find them in our directory of places to sell online.) The choice is yours.
Regardless of how or where you build your art website, you will want it to function well and produce sales. In order to do so, your site must show your art to its best advantage, connect with your audience, earn their trust, and move them towards making a purchase. Here’s your checklist of essentials:
As a visual artist, you know the importance of representing your art beautifully. But it’s surprising how many artists actually use poorly taken photographs of their work online. They may not have the budget for professional photography, or they lack the skills to do it themselves, but settling for mediocre images is a mistake. Shots that are overexposed, blurry or have inappropriate backgrounds look terrible, and they reflect badly on you as the artist. When shoppers have no way to see your work except through photos, make sure they see the best you have to offer.
Photographs that can be used on an art website include product shots, detail photos, in situ photos, and even work in progress shots. Each one gives vital information that enhances the shopping experience and gives the viewer a clear idea of what your art is all about, and why they might want to become a collector.
Providing information to shoppers is fundamental to the sales process. If your work is for sale, list a price for each available item. Give the title, medium and technique, dimensions of the art and more. Share your inspiration, and why you created it.
Let your visitors know you are a complete professional. A CV, your artist statement and list of exhibitions on your About page helps to establish credibility and authority, and fosters trust. You must also understand how your art and your story resonates with collectors. Make that connection by speaking directly to them in your written content. Yes, your website is about you and it’s about your art, but it is also very much about the site visitor and what they care about.
You may want to include selling points on your website. These reasons to buy, also called “features and benefits” are sales basics. Is your work handmade in America? Does it make the perfect gift? You may list emotional benefits of living with fine art, or share how becoming an art collector is something to celebrate.
Your site must also address practical matters. How is your artwork shipped? What are the costs and turnaround time? Do you take returns? Do you accept commissions? All of these answers and more are very important to anyone considering a purchase. If you don’t tell your customers what they need to know, they simply won’t buy. An FAQ page is the place for this information.
And, make it easy to get in touch with you by listing your email and phone number on your Contact page (or even in the header of your site.) Most artists would be happy to take a call from a serious prospective customer.
To convert prospects into collectors, it’s best to make shopping and checkout a simple, seamless experience. The navigation bar on your site should be intuitive and easy to use. Product level pages should have images and descriptions that draw in the viewer, and give complete visual information. If you offer choices, such as different sizes of giclees or framing options, keep them finite and don’t overwhelm the customer. If your shopping cart needs an upgrade, visit any major ecommerce website for ideas on the checkout process and how you can improve it on your own art website.
Most people aren’t going to make a purchase they first time they see your work; that’s just a reality of sales. It takes time to cultivate collectors, which means you must stay in touch them on a regular basis. Use a subscriber opt-in form on your website to gather the names of visitors who are interested and want to learn more. Then, send monthly email campaigns that consistently share your story, show your artwork, and drive the reader back to your website for additional visits. Over time, you will close sales from shoppers who come to know and remember your work. When they are ready to buy, your site will be a go-to destination for their artwork purchase.
Successfully selling art online is the culmination of a lot of hard work and attention to detail. Understanding the elements that customers need in order to make buying decisions is key to building a site that offers an enhanced shopping experience and more sales.
Artist website credit: www.HeatherDavis.com
After my release from the Massachusetts House of Corrections in January of 2006, my life changed.
I no longer had to draw on the back of intake forms or random white pieces of paper. I no longer had to look at block walls and barred windows while sketching pencil portraits. My drawings were no longer bartered for Ramen noodles, bagged tuna or coffee.
During the years following 2006, I knew I wanted to be an artist. I began sketching as much as possible, although my work was more like chicken scratch. Most of my work at the time was tonal or crosshatch pencil drawings. I dabbled with pen and ink, watercolor and acrylics for a little while, but I found my love in graphite.
My drawings are created with thousands of pencil lines that I make with a mechanical pencil, working freehand, without the use of a ruler. I work on sheets of cotton white paper on a large drafting table in my studio based in Nashua, New Hampshire. Each of my art works need between 30 hours to 250 hours to complete from sketch to finish.
In 2011, I created my first full drawing scene, “The Manhattan Rush,” which I completed using a technique I call linellism (graphite pencil straight lines). This drawing shows a chaotic, yet organized, group of people in their environment going about their busy day in New York City.
The emotion I experienced when I finished this work was something I had never experienced before. When I completed this drawing I knew that I wanted to be a figurative artist, although I had created various nature and object drawings, too.
I couldn’t stop examining the people that I had created in my drawings. I could feel their emotions and motivations, and literally began telling stories to my wife about each individual in the art as if I knew them personally.
In 2014, I began showing my work at local art exhibits, fairs and anywhere else I could display my work. The viewers at the exhibits were amazed by the work I was creating and they wanted more. I began drawing more.
I eventually created a website and began showing my work in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and New York in an effort to become known outside of my studio.
Today, I continue to create figurative drawings showing the hustle and bustle of city streets and will be working on my first series in 2020. My goal as a figurative artist is to tell a story, to create characters that my viewers can relate to and understand like I do. I want to make a movie—with pencil lines!
There are four primary buyer social styles. You can learn to improve your art sales and your people skills. Learning how to sell your art is necessary and mostly an acquired skill for artists who want the greatest success for their career. Incorporating sales training and ethical techniques to sell products effectively and efficiently is not unique to […]
If you didn’t get a chance to purchase one of the Crucible curved card scrapers, you can make your own with a dry grinder and an existing card scraper. It takes about 30 minutes.
Download and print out the following template. It’s a hand-drawn version of Chris Williams’s scraper, which is where our design started.
Cut it out and affix it to your card scraper with the help of spray adhesive. Or make a cardboard template and trace its shape on your scraper with a permanent marker.
At your grinder, set the tool rest to 0° – parallel to the floor. Dress the wheel of your grinder (we use an #80-grit wheel, but a #60 or #100 will also do) so it has a slight convex shape. This convexity in the wheel makes the scraper easier to shape.
Get a bucket of water and put it by the grinder.
(Hey wait, where are the step photos? I’m in a hotel room that’s 400 miles from my shop. You are going to have to use your imagination.)
Place the scraper on the tool rest and start grinding the excess metal away. Don’t work on one part of the scraper for more than a few seconds. Keep moving around the perimeter. After 10 or 15 seconds, try to pinch the scraper with a finger and thumb. If….
… you can pinch the scraper with no pain, continue to grind.
… your fingers reflexively jump away, cool the scraper in your water bucket.
… you smell bacon, also cool the scraper in the water bucket.
Once you have ground down to your line, you will have become pretty good at grinding flat shapes – congrats. Now you need to remove the grinder marks from the edges.
Use a block of wood to hold the scraper at 90° on a coarse diamond stone and stone the edges. Remove all the scratches from the grinder. Then move up to a #1,000-grit waterstone (or soft Arkansas) and then up to a polishing stone. Then you can proceed with normal scraper-sharpening procedures.
This is exactly how I made all of our prototypes. I promise that you will become emotionally involved with your scraper after putting all the work into it, and you might not ever want to buy one of ours.
So be it.
— Christopher Schwarz