Now are these my best work? I don’t know, I have my own favorites but these are the photographs and art images that my collectors have chosen to purchase as prints, framed art, phone cases, tote bags, throw pillows, metal prints, greeting cards etc.
I might pick different images to show at a gallery or put in a book….
…but as far as selling via my online gallery with Fine Art America and Pixels, these are the images the buyers have liked enough to spend money on.
Some of the images in my recently sold gallery have only sold once so far, other sell over and over. Some of my top sellers include the following images:
Now I’ll be the first one to tell you that selling artwork in a crowded marketplace is not easy. Sellers out number buyers by thousands to one. The odds are against you that you will be able to break through the pack, get noticed and find buyers for your work.
It took me about three years of uploading quality, intriguing, unique, niche focused artwork and marketing it on a consistent basis before I started to see steady sales. A few more years of building up my portfolio and brand to the point that I could say I make a living off of my photography and art.
Most people give up before they see any benefits. They end up blaming the system for their lack of success. But the true is that they didn’t put in the time and effort required to succeed in a market with more suppliers than buyers. You have to create stunning work and get people to see it among the millions of other people who are trying to do the same. Dreams are nice but actually hard work is what is required to make dreams come true.
Fine Art America is privately held company that provides a market place for artists to sell their images. Artists offer their images for sale, provide the mark up and Fine Art America and its sister site Pixels handles the sales transactions , printing and fulfillment.
Fine Art America started out as a popular artists forum in the early Internet days and then morphed into a marketplace over time. Its small company, mostly the brain child of computer engineer, Sean Broihier and a small support staff, but they manage to be the small business engine for thousands of artists and photographers.
There is currently two “flavors” of the Fine Art America POD marketplace. One is the original Fine Art America that promotes fine art prints and original artwork. The prints are handled by Graphik Dimensions Ltd. of High Point NC who has been serving the artist community for over 50 years with printing and framing.
With these guys as the principal framing and print shop, FAA offers the most framing, printing and mounting options of any online POD outfit. You can choose from thousands of framing options including metal, acrylic and new wood prints.
Pixels on the other hand is more of the gift shop to FAA’s gallery or museum experience. In the Pixels store you will find an expanded collection of gift items like t-shirts, mugs and throw pillows.
Sean Broihier the owner of Fine Art America seems to have done a round of press back in 2012. More recently he’s kept more tight lipped about the business maybe because of all the competition that has entered the POD market place over the last few years.
Here is some of the press on Fine Art America and Pixels from past articles. Note that the sales figures certainly have increased from the 2012 numbers.
Doing $5 Million A Year With Three Employees: FineArtAmerica CEO Sean Broihier (Part 1)
Sramana: What is the business model behind FineArtAmerica?
Sean Broihier: The business model is to create a marketplace of buyers and sellers. We allow artist and photographers to upload their images to our site. We then offer them for sale as framed prints, stretched canvases, acrylic prints, greeting cards, and so on. We have a print-on-demand business model. Independent artists and photographers all over the world can open an account on our site and upload their images, and our software will determine what sizes and products we can sell based on the size of the image. The artist or photographer gets to name exactly how much they want to charge for each product or size of the print that is made available.
When a buyer comes along, he or she can pick the print and size. We allow buyers to choose additional features such as colored mats and frames. They can customize the entire picture via our website and place the order. FineArtAmerica takes care of the entire transaction for the artist. We print, frame, package, ship, collect payment, and send the profits to the artist.
How Fine Art America Built Its Business by Bootstrapping
So how does Broihier do it? Here are his five tips on how to bootstrap a business:
Be lean. He started out by keeping the overhead low — working alone on nights and weekends. He generated a $500 profit his first month in business. In 2010, he hired his first employee, and in 2011 he added another — both of whom work remotely.
Generate buzz. Fine Art America didn’t advertise until late 2010. Instead, it took advantage of word-of-mouth through its artists via email, Facebook, Twitter and more. Customers, it turns out, are your best lead generators.
Outsource. Fine Art America builds great online software and outsources everything else. ADP handles payroll. Amazon manages its web servers. WebmasterChecks.com pays the artists. A company out of North Carolina handles its printing, framing, matting, packaging and shipping.
Don’t follow the leaders. Small firms often compete against well-funded corporations with millions of investment capital that can afford to throw money at bad ideas. Don’t copycat all of their decisions.
Resist taking on investors. Once you accept investment capital, you’re no longer the boss and you’re on a path to sell your business or go public. Unless you’re struggling with cash flow or preparing for an exit, accepting outside money makes no sense.
A few recent sales from the portfolio of Edward M. Fielding via Fine Art America. Photographer and visual artist Edward Fielding’s portfolio on Fine Art America has nearly 5,000 photograph, artwork and images to choose from for cards, prints, framed art, canvas prints, metal prints, even prints on wood and products such as tote bags and throw pillows. Print sizes can be ordered from small greeting card size all the way up to giant 60 x 40 inch prints.
Vintage Kodak camera print ad as a Christmas card.
Edward Fielding sold a 16.000″ x 24.000″ print of Vintage Electric Meter to a buyer from Tipton, IN.
Edward Fielding sold a greeting card of Rustic Cabin On The Pond to a buyer from Pepper Pike, OH.
Edward Fielding sold a 12.000″ x 8.000″ print of Warrens Lobster House Neon Sign Kittery Maine to a buyer from San Gabriel, CA.
Edward Fielding sold a greeting card of Vintage Motel Sign Square to a buyer from Ewing, NJ.
Edward Fielding sold a 10.625″ x 16.000″ print of Dartmouth Hanover Green In Autumn to a buyer from New York, NY.
Edward Fielding sold a 11″ x 14″ print of Star Wars Stormtrooper Helmet Graphic Drawing to a buyer from Washington, DC.
Edward Fielding sold a greeting card of the Quotable Westie Poster to a buyer from Billings, MT.
Edward Fielding’s portfolio on Fine Art America at – http://edward-fielding.pixels.com/ has something for everyone from cute dogs to New England barns. From steam trains to vintage radios. From landscapes to still lives. You might have seen some of these images gracing the covers of best sellers at the book store as many of them have been licensed to publishers and magazines.
Fine Art America and Pixels.com offers artists a number of tools to help them reach the public at large and offer their work for sale. The site allows the artist to display artwork and allows the buyer to purchase and configure the images on to a host of products including wall art and products such as tote bags, cell phone cases, throw pillows and t-shirts.
The wall art is available in thousands of configurations including canvas prints, metal prints, acrylic prints and a hundreds of custom framing and matting options as well as rolled in a tube for local framing.
The Shopping Car Widgets look like this on this blog:
Fine Art America Prints – When I decided to offer my photography and artwork to the general public as reproductions or prints I looked around at various vendors and settled on Fine Art America. I’ve ordered prints to display at gallery shows and to display in my own home.
My Experiences with Fine Art America Prints
I’ve ordered framed and matted prints. Prints rolled in a tube on rag paper as well as large metal prints. The quality has always been excellent and if there ever is problem, the 30 day money back guarantee is outstanding. Fine Art America will replace any problems.
With Fine Art America I can offer prints of any size including non-standard sizes. If you wish to have these matted and framed locally to save on shipping you can do this, although the matting and framing can get expensive and the options through Fine Art America are very reasonable for a custom framing job.
Standard Sized Prints On Fine Art America
In the past you could often only find non-standard print sizes on Fine Art America. Recently Fine Art America has added an option of choosing a standard size print from any of the images. 8×10, 11×14 etc. You can even get a vertical print from an horizontal print or visa versa. If you want to crop the image differently than the artist offers, you can now do this.
Very Large Prints from Fine Art America
I’ve sold a number of very, very large prints on Fine Art America. These two image in particular have been ordered at the maximum size of 40 x 60 inches. That is a huge print!
For some reason the largest prints purchase from my portfolio of fine art photography and artwork always seem to involve guns.
Metal Prints from Fine Art America
If you want a large, modern print, one of the least expensive prints you can get are the metal prints. With a traditional framed and matted print you are paying for a lot of custom work, a lot of labor. Metal prints are a simpler production, basically printed, trimmed and then a hanging part is added to the back. Less labor intensive so you save money.
The metal prints from Fine Art America are very competitively priced especially since everything needed to hand the prints is included. Some other places add on hanging accessories to the price. With Fine Art America its included. Metal prints offer a clean modern look with the artwork floating on the wall.
Shipping metal prints is also less expensive because they don’t weigh as much as a framed image. Any very large print going through the mail will be expensive to ship but you save on weight and metal prints are unlikely to be damaged in shipping.
Fine Art America Prints Quality
I’ve sold over 1,500 pieces of artwork through Fine Art America and have only had an handful of returns for some reason or another (people changed their minds or didn’t like it for some reason or another). That’s less than 1 percent of returns and the buyers got their money back. I think that says a lot about the printer that Fine Art America uses.
With over 8,500 sales of my artwork through online art marketplaces, I’ve learned a few thing about selling artwork directly from artist to buyer. Offering artwork for sale online has never been easier. But competing with millions of other artists from around the world trying to sell their own artwork, the challenges of actually selling your work is extremely difficult.
Here are a few tips of what not to do:
Don’t upload and wait for sales to pour in.
Don’t think a small number of artwork will be noticed.
Don’t create for a limited audience (like yourself).
Don’t assume the website will be showing your work.
Don’t lose touch with your audience.
Don’t upload and wait for sales to pour in
Unless you have an established name and following, you can’t expect to just upload your artwork and head for the beach. Art buyers are not just sitting their waiting at the end of a hose with a bucket waiting for your work to pour out.
Don’t think a small number of artwork will be noticed.
Every hour thousands of new images are uploaded to stock sites, online art site, Amazon, Ebay, Etsy and social network sites. The Internet is a numbers game. To be noticed you have to have good work and a lot of it. Don’t think you’ll be noticed in a sea of great artwork with a few drops. The Internet is long tail – lots and lots of niche products that appeal to few but the sales add up. If you only cover a certain niche with your work, be sure that its large enough to substain the sales that you desire.
The theory of the Long Tail is that our culture and economy is increasingly shifting away from a focus on a relatively small number of “hits” (mainstream products and markets) at the head of the demand curve and toward a huge number of niches in the tail.
Don’t create for a limited audience
Art for art’s sakes is noble and all but limited in the ability to sell it. This type of artwork is usually sold to the investor market and is backed by auction results. If your art has a very limited market then you might want to stick to the traditional galleries and sell originals. Much better to find that one buyer out there who appreciates your work and pays big bucks for it then try to sell something on a mass scale to people who don’t get it. If your work has a mass appeal and you can see it selling multiple times, then by all means, sell it online.
Don’t assume the website will actually show your work
The only guarantee that an art web site will actually show your work to visitors is if you start making sales. Work that doesn’t get anointed as something special by the staff or sells will be hidden way down in the bottom of search. Every art sales web sites has their own way of controlling this so the visitors see the very best and the most sellable work. If you are lucky, you’ll move up in search when you sell or be highlighted in their store or collections. Or maybe even make it into one of their promotional emails or ads. But the only way to insure that your work is being seen is to market it yourself. Take control of your own marketing and don’t worry about what the site is doing.
Don’t lose touch with your audience
The unsuccessful artist will upload, wait, fail to sell and then move on to something else. The successful artist will engage with the community at large by consistently uploading new work and announcing it via social media. They will blog about their process. They will send out press releases. They will attend shows. They will show their work in shows. Stay active, stay in the game.
I went on vacation to Prince Edward Island last week and sold more art on my website then ever. The previous two months were very slow with the political conventions and Olympics grabbing everyone’s attention but golly gee, I should go on vacation more often.
I’m really happy to see some of my more experimental artwork sell. Abstracts and some playful experimentation. These usually take place in the dead of winter when the son is off at school, the wife is off at work and the snow has covered up all of the yard work. The wood stove is filled and I have a chance to just play around with images.
The other thing that was neat, and keeps me going is the were some really large print sales as well as some beautiful framing choices made by the buyers. I appreciate every sale I make but I certainly enjoy seeing the framing choices buyers make.
This abstract image of New York City fire escapes was created with multiple layers and abstracted into the lines created by the ladders. Unfortunately these scenes of pre-war NYC are under constant threat of “progress” these days. This is how a recent collector purchased this image. A 16 x 16 inch image with a nice deep white mat and smart looking white frame. Very modern yet classic at the same time.
This cute pug dog image was purchased as a 14.000″ x 8.250″ canvas print with a frame surround of Last Call is going to to a buyer from Cutler Bay, FL. Seems a bit on the small size but maybe the buyer has limited wall space or its a gift.
This 42.875″ x 60.000″ print of Gunman T-shirt to a buyer from Skanes Fagerhult, Skane – Sweden is probably the largest canvas I’ve ever sold. Funny thing is that I intended it to be a t-shirt design but it will certainly have a lot of impact as a huge wall canvas. The design is based on one of my photographs.
I won’t show the final result because its a canvas and looks pretty much the same as the above. Oh how I’d love to see it displayed! Maybe if the buyer is out there somewhere they will send me a photograph of it in place. Unfortunately we don’t get any contact information when selling through a print on demand site.
Also this month I sold a huge metal print of this image of a beach in Maui, Hawaii. Our family trip to Hawaii from a few years ago certainly tugs at me especially in the middle of a New England winter. This was a 48.000″ x 17.875″ metal print of Where I Want To Be going to a buyer from San Francisco, CA.
Recent sales on pixels include framed fine art prints as well as metal prints, shower curtains and even a t-shirt. Each order of artwork going to various states in the United States as well as International sales.