Selling work that has only been viewed by the buyer online is a hard sell. So much of the fineness of a print is lost on the screen. I think that the work for sale has to either be priced at a price low enough where the buyer feels that there's little to risk, or the work has to be sold by an established artist who can be googled to check their "credibility".
You have to put yourself in the place of the buyer. Whose work, or what work would you feel comfortable buying based solely on a jpeg? How much are you willing to risk in terms of a purchase price? Would you google the photographer and see if he/she is established?
I think that it would be a far easier internet sale if the buyer has seen the print in real life somewhere and is merely shopping for it online, or if the buyer has contacted a long established brick and mortar gallery that has an online store and a respected reputation to back it.
There's another aspect to buying art that you can't have on the internet and that's the buying experience itself. For many people going to a gallery, maybe with your spouse or someone significant to you, be given the ritual of a gallery presentation. The white gloves go on, the gallery director or associate talking in reverent tones about the significance of the work, the grouping of pieces together and seeing how they can work off each other as a grouping, the visualizing of the work hanging in your home and seeing under the changing light of the day.... there's a romance to buying art. I recall a purchase by a couple for their 25 th anniversary, they came to the gallery, he bought one for her, she bought one for him, they already had the spot picked out and wanted input from me about what would be a good grouping. I was honored that for something as special as their 25th they chose my work. But for them, buying the pieces together was as much a part of their gift experience as the work itself.
Also much art is sold during the opening of the show, which gives potential buyers the chance to meet the artist and talk about the work in general or a certain piece in particular, to hear the funny story about how the photo was done or the personal attachment that the artist has for that piece, it tends to humanize the work even more. From my personal experience, when I talk to someone about a piece of mine at an opening, they very often buy it. It's not some impersonal piece of paper with silver on it, it now has a life. Buying online is just not the same thing.
For the corporate or interior design sales though art is merely a commodity to some extent, it's a furnishing, however those buyers still want to see it for real, they want a presentation from an art consultant. And a smart art consultant is not going to the trouble of making a presentation with only one artist's work. They have a vastly increased chance of sales if they bring a variety of artists' work, and it's easiest for them to get that from a gallery.
Last edited by Early Riser; 12-27-2006 at 08:45 AM. Click to view previous post history.