After I have achieved a certain measure of commercial success, young artists started to ask me how to stop being a starving artist, quit Starbacks or Barnes and Noble, and break into the world where one can actually make a decent living selling ones art.
At the risk of increasing the competition, I am gonna break it all down. What I am about to describe has worked for me, who came to the US as an immigrant barely speaking English, and will work for any talented novice who is willing to work hard not only on perfecting, but also on promoting, his or her art.
As I mentioned elsewhere, galleries are not a way to get you ahead of the game, unfortunately. Think about it, if even a hundred people show for an opening, its smashing success publicity wise, but how many sales would that generate? Art gallery owners can afford to wait indefinitely until something of their stock actually sells, can you?
Thankfully, now there is a way to get your artistic message out there, skipping the middlemen almost entirely. If you are on Deviantart.com, its a good start, but additional exposure is absolutely necessary. Here is a list of highly recommended websites that you absolute must have your artwork on, from my private stash:www.artbyus.com,ebay.com, esty.com,fineartamerica.com
In addition, I recommend setting up your own e-commerce website www.homestead.com. You can get one for about $50 a month from the Homestead company.
Now some prospective buyers may be initially reluctant to make a commitment to purchase online a painting they do not actually see. You can assuage their doubts with a friendly no questions asked return policy. In addition, display enlarged details of your painting to give the buyer a better idea of the whole.
A painting may take an awful amount of time to produce, yet an unknown artist may not yet demand a price that would make it worthwhile. What to do? Go giclee, which is too say make a limited production run of high quality prints, usually about 25. Once you have the equipment, they are inexpensive to produce and together would make up a fee that would fair for an original painting.
To make a giclee, first you would need a camera. Nowadays I use $40 000 Hasleblut camera, but for a beginner a $650 Canon, giving about 8-10 mega pics resolution, will do. This camera will allow you to make giclee prints up to 30 by 40 in size.
The most important thing in making a print quality photo is lighting. While I use a very expensive light equipment now, when I started I made do with sunlight. Another thing to remember is to use glossy canvass for your prints, not the cheaper regular kind. Believe me, the difference is huge.
For a printer I recommend Epson, and you may purchase a used one for under $2000. Do not be penny wise and dollar stupid and buy only Epson ink cartridges.
I would not have good luck but for misfortune. Not being satisfied with the quality of giclee produced on my initial bargain basement equipment set, I discovered a unique method to improve the print by taking the brush and paint to it.
Our method of giclee production is so unique that I wander if its a giclee that we are actually making.In the beginning, a print is made on a special high quality canvas. However, where the job of our competitors ends, our just begins.
This print is then painted over with oil paint using the same colors as the original using an art brush and a pallet knife giving the artwork a painting like texture. After the paint has dried up, the backside of the print is painted in a similar manner. Then protective epoxy coating is applied. In the end, an Afremov giclee is barely distigushable from the original and will last just as long.
We do not make more then 25 giclee from the original and none of them is comepletely a like, each is unique.
An Afremov giclee is not simply a print, but a work of art in its own right, which has its own collectors value, and each comes with an authenticity certificate.
Hence a multimillion dollar online operation can be started with an under $3000 initial budget. I know it can be done because I have done it. I wish all those who would try to follow my steps the best of luck. I anything I wrote is not clear enough or if you have additional questions, do not hesitate to ask