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  1. #21
    billschwab's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheFlyingCamera View Post
    The reason many galleries don't want to handle artists who sell on ebay is that it will undercut their selling prices. It may be a good way to get seen by some galleries, but once you have significant gallery representation, you may well be asked by more than one of them to stop ebay sales because A: every ebay sale means one less print they can sell, B: one less commission they can earn, and C: because it is an auction, it can go for less than they are selling your work for. If you can not only sell work without paying them a commission, but your side sales will undermine their pricing, why would they represent you?
    Scott, As one who sells their work regularly via many venues and has done so for some time, I can tell you this is not entirely true anymore. The world is a far bigger place than any one gallery can cover. I am selling prints via the Web to places my galleries haven't begun to try to market my work. Plain and simple, the way you and many think of galleries and gallery representation is rapidly changing. Some are getting with the program, others are already being left in the dust. The book is still being written on this subject and it looks better for the individual artist than is does for galleries I am afraid.

    Bill

  2. #22

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    The same can be said for many that are working a full time job for a company. Just because a doctor has 20 years of experience does that mean he should deserve to earn a living doing what he does for his profession? I hear, understand and respect what you are saying, but there is no reason why an artist cannot make a living selling his or her work just as a doctor or a lawyer, we just choose different paths.

    Selling your art is no difference than working a 9-5 job and in many cases is harder and more demanding. I know for a fact that I or anyone for that matter will not make a living off eBay or any single venue, that wasn't my point. My point was that selling prints cheap creates a false market and drives prices down.

    As far as deserve goes, does anyone deserve to have a job or make a wage that can support a family or themselves? The answer is no if you look at it form the artist standpoint. Unfortunately, to many being an artist is looked down upon and many do not take the artist serious as it is considered a hobby or for the lazy, which is completely untrue. Again it goes back to as you said educating the public.

    Personally I treat selling art like a business and have spread myself over many different markets. I do not rely on just one market in general to sell my artwork to earn from it. This year though the trend has been lower sales. I do however spend quite a bit each month on marketing material, sending to galleries and collectors on a regular basis to keep my name in front of them all the time, but to be honest in the many years I have been in the art field, it is the only field where return on your investment is quite low. I will continue to do it because I love it. I am not in this to give prints away but to earn a living. When you work hard every day at something, no matter what field you are in, you do expect to earn a living doing what ever it is you do.

    I never understood why many think that artist don’t deserve to get paid for the work they do. I personally feel they do deserve to get paid if they are professional and are good at what they do, especially if they are dedicated just like with any other profession. I see no problem, paying anyone what they are worth. The only the question is, can I afford the prices they have set for themselves?

    Now is a whole other issue.
    Last edited by kjsphoto; 12-23-2006 at 08:17 PM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: Cant type

  3. #23

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    It is very difficult to make a living purely by selling prints. However it does get easier the more your name and work are known. I think that many people still find it surprising that photographic prints sell for more than $100, and are shocked that they can sell in the thousands of dollars ( and more). However it's gotten easy for people to buy your work online, never having seen anything more than a jpeg if they can Google your name and see that you are an established artist. For others selling prints on ebay not having that recognition makes it a far harder sale.

    The venue where art is sold has a huge effect on the perceived value of the work and maybe that is one area where having your work sold on ebay could hurt sales. But it all depends on the reputation of the artist and the quality of the work. Personally I would be hesitant to buy even an Ansel Adams or Weston print on Ebay unless I knew that the seller was a well regarded collector or gallery. So much that affects the perception of a print's value is also based on the provenance of the print. This does not apply to lower priced prints, but once people are forking over significant amounts of money, they want the assurance of a brick and mortar gallery.

    I think eBay can work for an established artist selling a second line of their work, inkjet prints at a modest price instead of selling their traditional prints at a far higher price. The risk of buying an inkjet print, of an image they like for $50 or $100 bucks, by an established artist who sells silver prints for many for times that price, is a small risk. It might be a good business model for a photographer.

    Posters of my work routinely appear on eBay which is something that I do not appreciate because they tend to advertise them as "art prints" or "art photographs" and I am always concerned that it may confuse people or somehow devalue my silver prints. I have no idea how well the posters sell online, but they have been selling them there for years. I only hope they bought them from a licensed reseller and did not print them off original posters themselves.

  4. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by billschwab View Post
    Scott, As one who sells their work regularly via many venues and has done so for some time, I can tell you this is not entirely true anymore. The world is a far bigger place than any one gallery can cover. I am selling prints via the Web to places my galleries haven't begun to try to market my work. Plain and simple, the way you and many think of galleries and gallery representation is rapidly changing. Some are getting with the program, others are already being left in the dust. The book is still being written on this subject and it looks better for the individual artist than is does for galleries I am afraid.

    Bill
    Bill - I'm not saying that the market is not changing. I'm just stating that this is a risk of selling your work on ebay. I think it would also depend on the pricing you set, and if you are selling via Buy It Now or are auctioning your work, if it is limited edition or if it is open editioned. It will be very interesting to revisit this issue in 10 years and see if the art market has caught up, or if it has changed for everyone.

  5. #25

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    Selling cheap was mentioned. I think that historically the majority of artists have undervalued and underpriced their work. I think that most people get into art for the love of art, for the loving of doing it. They would do it anyway if they were wealthy, but ultimatley decide to sell their work in order to live but also in order to perpetuate their art. Most hobbyist artists, who are not reliant on their art feeding them grossly undervalue their work.
    I've seen many threads here where people talk about selling their work at prices that cause them to lose money. Where is the logic in that?
    Last edited by Early Riser; 12-23-2006 at 08:48 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  6. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheFlyingCamera View Post
    Bill - I'm not saying that the market is not changing. I'm just stating that this is a risk of selling your work on ebay. I think it would also depend on the pricing you set, and if you are selling via Buy It Now or are auctioning your work, if it is limited edition or if it is open editioned. It will be very interesting to revisit this issue in 10 years and see if the art market has caught up, or if it has changed for everyone.
    A huge part of the art market today are sales generated by art consultants and interior designers. For people of substantial means, and those people often have several homes, hiring an interior designer to fill the walls is pretty common. For office buildings, first class hotels (the kinds that use real art, not posters) art consultants are hired to purchase the needed art. This is a very large part of the day to day art market and is the bread and butter of many galleries. It is more efficient for an art consultant to go to a gallery representing 30 artists and make a presentation of 30 artists to the client, than for them to contact 30 individual artists. So galleries still have a unique function, they have variety. But it is a fiercely competitive business.

  7. #27
    billschwab's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Early Riser View Post
    Posters of my work routinely appear on eBay which is something that I do not appreciate because they tend to advertise them as "art prints" or "art photographs"...
    It's all in the branding Brian and it is not as if you aren't getting your % out of each and every one of those that appear out there. You never should have licensed images to those poster companies if this bothers you. Personally I am happy these get out there in my case. I license very few images and the ones I do seem to sell well. More than that, they have done a better job of spreading my name than perhaps any other. I am happy for each and every exposure of my work. As for "confusing" collectors... true collectors of original work will not be confused and will not buy them. People who buy posters will. That is a dollar from someone who never would have seen your work if not for IKEA and those inexpensive repros.

    Bill

  8. #28
    billschwab's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Early Riser View Post
    A huge part of the art market today are sales generated by art consultants and interior designers.
    Brian is very correct here. Many of my sales have been in large multiples for just such use. However, where consultants used to go to my galleries for this, I find an increasing number come directly to me because the information world we live in allows this. In such cases, I do not undercut my galleries. I charge the same price leaving the client no incentive to come to me for cheaper pricing. If one of my galleries is where they were introduced to my work, it is a different story. I am finding more and more that the gallery as a means of presenting your work to the world is far less important in this new world.

    Bill

  9. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by billschwab View Post
    It's all in the branding Brian and it is not as if you aren't getting your % out of each and every one of those that appear out there. You never should have licensed images to those poster companies if this bothers you. Personally I am happy these get out there in my case. I license very few images and the ones I do seem to sell well. More than that, they have done a better job of spreading my name than perhaps any other. I am happy for each and every exposure of my work. As for "confusing" collectors... true collectors of original work will not be confused and will not buy them. People who buy posters will. That is a dollar from someone who never would have seen your work if not for IKEA and those inexpensive repros.

    Bill
    Bill, the poster publishers aren't selling them online, however almost anyone can become a customer of a poster publisher, buy posters and then sell them online. Someone even has matted and framed "Prescott Trees" inscribed the word "Worship" on the mat and sells them as religious art. I wonder if they know that it's actually a photo of a cemetary?

    I'm used to licensing work, as you know stock sales of photography is bread and butter for advertising photographers, and as timing would have it I sold poster rights just this week for 6 more images. But still it pains me to see poorly reproduced versions of my work in huge numbers, and selling so cheap! I always feel a need to apologise for the print repro.

  10. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by kjsphoto View Post
    This is exactly why eBay or any venue will not work when photographers basically pay someone to take their prints off their hands or in other words give their prints away.

    I cant even make a print for $13 unless of course it is digital, then maybe if I took the shot in my front yard but not having to travel anywhere, up-load the image to the computer, Photoshop using no more than 5 minutes of my time as time is also money and then print it on ink on a inkjet printer with one shot only. I couldn’t matt it or mount either in order to make any profit from the print.

    You need to realize that as long this selling low mentality and photographers continue to give away their work, no one and I mean no one will take them serious as they are only hurting themselves and the photographic community in the process.

    Sorry for being brash, but this mentality is the problem with the market place today.

    And I don’t want to hear the crap that Brook spews out that Weston sold print for $20 and so therefore $20 is good for everyone. That was in the 20-30 and $20 back then would equate to over $100 today so that whole $20 is a bunch of crap.

    Instead of paying eBay to sell prints at $10, 15 or $20 just put them on a photo site and tell people here are my prints, just pay shipping and I will give them to you.

    This just irritates he and I am not trying to vent but a lot of us make a living from selling prints and this type of things really hurts the marketplace.

    Done ranting.

    I do however applaud your effort to try earn a little extra from what you love, but don’t give it away, your time is worth more than $13 especially when you add in all the time to find the image and print it. At $13 you are looking at less than $1 hour for your time.

    I realize it is a free world and you can do whatever you please I just wish people would realize that cheap prints is hurting the market as a whole.

    Good luck and keep plugging away. I do however seriously congratulate you on your sales.
    I started the print at $12.99 in hopes of attracting higher bids, like most items on ebay. when Im selling camera equipment I don't start it at the price I want, I usually set it at less than a quarter of what I am going for. I tried the same method for prints and it didn't work. If I try again, I will post for higher amounts but again like I said, who would pay $100 for a print from an unknown on ebay? Ebay is for bargains, I think he'd have better luck if he tried locally. Theres a small chance of someone buying it but that means tons of listing fees in relisting it in hopes of someone seeing it once and awhile.

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