Where to sell art online

LaunchCategory
22 min read
Emma Fletcher

If you’re an emerging artist wondering where to sell art online, we have good news. There’s never been an easier time to make a sustainable living as an artist. Thanks to the advent of eCommerce, social media and online marketplaces, you can now reach a global audience for your artwork with just the click of a button.

The 2023 Australian art auction market largely defied inflation, high interest rates and global conflict, with sales totalling $140 million. 

Art buyers, like consumers of many other goods, have been driven online. But what does that actually mean for the local artist in Australia? How do you start and where do you go?

Luckily for you, we’ve done the groundwork. Here is a roundup of 10 of the best places to sell art online in Australia.

10 places to sell art online

Paintings, prints, drawings and photographs topped the list of online art purchases in 2020. Here's where to sell them.

1. Society6

Society6 home page

Our first suggestion for where to sell art is a marketplace where artists can make money by selling their art printed on home decor, bed and bath, apparel, tech accessories, furniture and lifestyle goods. 

Once an artist uploads their original artwork, Society6 then prints it on over 90+ products ranging from fabric and t-shirts to mugs, shower curtains and coffee tables.  

The platform offers three membership options:  

  • Lite - FREE to upload 10 designs and receive 10% of the net sale 
  • Basic - AU$7.50/month to upload 100 images and set your own prices 
  • Pro - AU$19.53/month to upload 10,000 designs and set your own prices 

Product pricing is calculated based on a base price (set by Society6) plus a markup. Artists receive a portion of the earnings with every product purchased.  

Top Tips  

  • When creating your profile, consider your own story and what you hope to accomplish with your artwork. A captivating profile is more likely to entice buyers. 
  • To sell your art through Society6, you will need an active PayPal account. You can easily set one up if you don’t have one.  
  • Follow Society6 weekly business and creative education posts for more tips on selling your art online. 
  • Aside from its online marketplace, Society6 allows artists to participate in wholesale and trade programs.  

2. Your own website

Template example GoDaddy Online Store
Answer two questions and GoDaddy Online Store provides a theme for you to customize.

Selling art online is all about visibility. One of the best ways to build visibility online is by creating your own eCommerce website. GoDaddy makes it easy for anyone to build a fully functional eStore, including inventory management, SSL encryption, and built-in payment and shipping.

  • You retain complete control as the artist
  • No one takes a commission
  • You can showcase as much work as you like

Even if you opt to sell your work via an online marketplace, there is still huge value in having a central home for your work. You can feature a small selection on a marketplace and direct visitors to your website to see your entire collection.

Quickly link your eBay account to your GoDaddy Online Store, so you never need to worry about selling the same piece twice.

The first step is to register a domain name (learn how to choose one here). Be sure to check out .art if the .com or .au you want aren't available. Type your name in the box to see if your domain is available

Once that’s done, the easiest and quickest way to get a website up is by using a site builder. Just customize a pre-built theme your own text and photos.

Prefer the options that WordPress offers? All you need is GoDaddy's WordPress e-commerce builder and some tech proficiency (or a programmer friend) to set it up properly. Whatever option you choose, be sure it includes an SSL certificate to process payments securely on your website.

Top Tips

  • Try to get your own name as a domain if you can. Check now
  • WordPress owners should choose a portfolio or gallery-style theme to best showcase their work.
  • Link your website to your social media channels and promote your website to your followers.
  • Add a blog to your site and write posts about your art practice, inspiration or mood boards and the stories behind your work.

Not sure about the legalities of starting an eCommerce business in Australia? Read this post for a list of requirements.

Related: Don't let imposter syndrome keep you from your passion

3. TurningArt

Committed to making connections between artists and communities, TurningArt enables artists to earn money through print sales, print rentals, original sales and rentals, digital artwork programs and commissions.  

Artists get paid each time their work is chosen by a client and installed in their space.  

Turning Art keeps 40% of the sale of any original artwork.  

Turning Art promises that no matter where an artist is on their journey, their team is there to help. They also offer one-on-one consultations, allowing artists to connect with an in-house art advisor for advice. 

TurningArt promotes artists’ work and also uses them in the collections they curate for businesses, healthcare institutions, private residences, and commercial properties.  

Top Tips 

  • Take advantage of TurningArt’s complimentary consultation service to discuss your artwork and goals with an art advisor.  
  • Renting your original or print artwork can be another way to make a profit. 
  • Turning Arts curation services allow participating artist’s work to be shared with a national network of clients and displayed in various commercial and residential properties.  

4. Instagram

According to Statista, 74% of online art buyers surveyed in 2020 bought paintings on social media.

Where To Sell Art Instagram
Instagram has become a popular hangout for collectors who are looking for new work.

Top on any list of where to sell art, Instagram has long been a favourite with artists wanting to build their profiles and showcase their work.

Instagram is a hangout for both buyers and gallery owners, who use it to discover new artists and to follow those they already know.

Combining the power of a marketplace — a website or app where many individuals can sell products — with social media, Instagram offers artists the chance to build a community around their work. Try following and tagging art-based hashtags on your post for the best chance of wide exposure. Now with the evolution of Instagram Shopping, buyers can make purchases directly from posts without leaving the app. Making the buying process as simple and seamless as possible has been revolutionary for artists and makers.

Top Tips

  • Use hashtags on your posts to build your profile, broaden your reach and make it easy for your work to be found.
  • Follow, connect and engage with galleries, influencers and other artists who might share your work. You could even find an eMentor.
  • Add a link to your own website in your Instagram profile bio and invite your followers to click through to see more work.

Note: You'll need a business Facebook to take advantage of Instagram Shopping.

5. StateoftheArt 

StateoftheART Australia is an online art business created with the intention of developing, showcasing and promoting both emerging and established Australian artists. Once your application is accepted, StateoftheART exhibits and promotes artwork at no charge.  

The commission is used for PR campaigns, SEO (search engine optimisation) and promotional efforts such as print and online advertising. All shipping charges are covered by StateoftheART.  

A selective marketplace that prides itself on its display of high-quality work spanning across various disciplines and mediums, StateoftheART is a reputable, quality online space worth applying for.  

Top Tips 

  • Make sure with any sales you log in and mark as sold on your account.
  • Look at tips and ideas on how to write your artist statement for your application. It is an important piece of communication and conceptualises your art to the selection panel. 
  • High quality photos or scans of your work, both for your application and once selected, can make all the difference. 

Related: 11 portfolio examples to inspire you

6. Art Lovers Australia

Art Lovers Australia website on mobile

With a motto “we want art at the forefront of culture,” this online store aims to help artists kickstart their careers. Not only do they showcase emerging artists through their galleries and online platform, Art Lovers Australia also offers practical advice and support.

With 100K website visits on average each month, if you are looking to get your artwork noticed, this online space is a great place to start. The application process appears fairly simple; provide the required details and submit a few of your artworks for review. 

With any artwork sold, a 30% commission plus GST is subtracted from the sale price.   Art Lovers Australia do require each individual to manage and keep their own shop up to date.

Top Tips 

  • Keeping your profile and information up to date and relevant helps to keep collectors interested. 
  • Check out their art prize category and contact them to find out how to go in the running.
  • With the space for an in-depth bio, engage buyers with a glimpse into your background, journey, achievements, inspirations and what mediums you use. The more detail you provide, the more potential buyers can relate to your work. 

7. Saatchi Art 

Unlike the others listed, this platform is based in Los Angeles, CA. Although not unique to Australia, Saatchi Art’s goal is to make it simple and easy for artists to sell their work to a global community. Approval and account setup can happen within as little as 24 hours, enabling you to sell your art in no time.

However, be sure to check any conversion fees and look into shipping.

They say they cover shipping, and all you need to take care of is the packaging, but there is no information on how this works locally.  As with most online platforms that sell paintings, a commission is taken, in this case you receive 65% of any profits made. 

Top Tips 

  • Saatchi has some great information and tips on uploading images, arranging your artwork in your account, adding descriptions, hero images and more. It is well worth checking out.
  • Keep your portfolio up to date. It is also encouraged to keep pieces marked as sold up on the site as collectors like to see both what has sold and what is available.
  • Don’t forget to add the minimum five keywords. Saatchi encourages twelve when uploading new artwork as they help match buyers to artists.

8. Gallery247

Gallery247 allows artists to enter artworks into participating art shows and also set up their own art show and online portfolio. It is designed to reduce the cost and risks often associated with entering shows. It also provides automatic registration of all works into the National Registry of Australian Art and Artists.  

A membership-based platform, Gallery247 offers artists the choice of three membership tiers and associated benefits.

Top Tips  

  • Art shows can be another way to increase your exposure, develop your standing/ achievements as an artist and sell your work.
  • Consider an art show as a way to showcase and sell your latest collection.
  • Entering art shows allows you to gain valuable feedback on your work. 

9. Big Cartel

Big Cartel is a fully-hosted online shop builder especially for artists and creatives. Big Cartel makes it possible to have your own unique storefront up and running in a matter of minutes.

Where To Sell Art Big Cartel
Big Cartel is renowned for its simplicity and ease of use.

Rather than taking a commission or charging transaction fees, Big Cartel operates on a monthly subscription model that you can cancel at any time. You can try it out for free with the Gold membership, which allows you to upload a maximum of five products to sell.

Fees for paid subscriptions are based on the number of products you list. Big Cartel also gives you the option of using your own custom domain name.

What it might lack in complex features and range of store designs Big Cartel makes up for with excellent support and usability. You don’t need any website building skills to create your store, so it’s perfect for someone just starting out. There’s also an app that you can download to your iOS device to manage your store from anywhere.

Top tips

  • Start with the free Gold membership and then upgrade as you need to.
  • Take high-quality photographs of your work to help make your art stand out and appeal to buyers.
  • Offer free local pickup as an added incentive for buyers in your area.

Those who have their own websites that aren’t set up for sales can add a shop link that connects with their Big Cartel online store.

10. Bluethumb

An Aussie startup that began with just 50 artists, Bluethumb has had a phenomenal rise. It’s free to join and is one of the best places online for emerging and established Australian artists to get their work shown.

Bluethumb charges a 30% commission, plus GST on sales (excluding shipping).

This marketplace takes care of all secure transaction processing, shipping and returns. The site also offers curated collections, hand-picked by the Bluethumb team, as well as a Featured Artist section.

Top tips

  • Engage buyers with an interesting, personalised bio. Talk about why you’re an artist, what inspires you and what mediums you love to work with.
  • Spread the word that you’re selling your work on Bluethumb and gain followers. They’ll be notified every time you upload new work.
  • Raise your profile by submitting an entry to the annual Bluethumb Art Prize competition, which celebrates the talent and diversity of Australian artists.

There are many other places to sell art online, including Art Pharmacy. Look around at the options until you find one — or a combination — that suits you.

Tips when selling art online 

No guide on where to sell art online would be complete without a list of tips on how to increase your chances of a sale: 

Pricing 

In terms of pricing your work, look to other similar artists for comparison as a start.

It is wise to look at art that has sold, as opposed to not sold for comparison.

Also consider other factors such as artwork size, medium and the achievements of the artist behind the work. 

A good rule to remember is to price your art like a retailer, at twice the cost of materials. Consider your time, labour and cost of materials. Consistency is also important, along with offering various price points to attract a wider collector audience.  

Tell a story 

A piece of art tells a story and so should your artist statement, bio and description for each artwork you upload. Buyers want to feel connected to a piece of art, and the artist as well. You don’t need to weave an elaborate fantasy, but sharing your achievements and journey to date allows buyers to understand the person behind the art.   Writing descriptions for each artwork you display helps to captivate buyers’ attention and allows them to understand the intention behind the piece. 

Put your work out there

To sell artworks you also need to think like a business and have a plan in mind. What are you willing to invest, what are your goals, what will the brand look like and how do you want others to see it are key questions to ask yourself.  

Remember traditional ideas of where to sell art — such as a gallery shopfront — would normally take a 50% commission to cover the marketing, exposure and management of you and your brand. If you are serious about selling online then you need to invest money and time into:

  • Marketing
  • Client relations
  • Sales management
  • Freight and invoicing

Be mindful of SEO 

SEO can make a difference in how successful you are in attracting buyers and making sales. Finding and using specific keywords to improve your Google ranking and appear in the search results can help to bring art buyers to your website and other online platforms. Think relevance and using the right words so search engines can find your work.

For example, if you are a landscape artist, be sure to use this term and other similar terms in your online content (bios, blog posts, descriptions, etc). The more relevant your content, the more likely you are to get to the top of Googles search results. 

SEO can help connect your work with those searching for what you have to sell. Similar to SEO, hashtags are important to consider on your Instagram, Pinterest and other social posts. The more you can direct an audience, the better chance you have at increasing traffic.  

Related: A simple guide to finding your keywords

Sell yourself to sell your work

An important piece of an online art business is also selling the brand and person behind the art.

You cannot expect to sell work online without also engaging online.

In reality, online business requires you to be engaged in social media such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and Pinterest.  To avoid the overwhelm, keep it simple and choose two social platforms that feel the best fit for you and your intended customer base. Also make sure they have e-commerce capabilities or allow you to point potential customers to your website or other online platform that sells your art.  

Use these platforms to allow people to:

  • Get to know you as the artist
  • Understand your process, your inspiration
  • Be alerted when new pieces are finished

The more you can grow your audience, the more exposure you have. It is also important to engage with your followers. If someone likes, comments or shares your work, don’t let it go unnoticed. Say thanks! Related: The absolute beginner’s guide to social media marketing

Quality counts 

When selling art online, it’s important to make sure your work is professionally presented. One of the first steps should be getting high-resolution scanned images or photos of your artwork taken. Cie-elle offers artists a great service for producing quality scans.  

Branding and packaging 

Don’t forget the end destination. Before even looking at where to sell art online, you need to consider:

  • What packaging you are going to use
  • The cost of the materials
  • Shipping (some online galleries cover this)
  • Insurance

Cost everything out from the get-go and have your branding ready to go.

Put yourself in the buyer’s shoes and think about how you would like to receive your prized purchase.

Unwrapping their new artwork should be a memorable experience. Being prepared will save you unnecessary costs and stress in the long run. 

Should I merchandise my art? 

This is a big question for many artists. Merchandising your art: 

  • Can be a great way to make more money from your artwork 
  • Allows you to have different price options to suit a broader range of customers 

Not everyone has the budget to afford an original artwork, or the space to display one. Adorning products such as t-shirts, bags, posters and coffee mugs with your art can be a good way to get your work in the hands of a broader customer base. 

Merchandising increases the visibility of your work.  

One of the most important things regarding artwork merchandising is ensuring the photos of your work are high quality. Make sure the photos you take are clear, without warping and showcase the true colours of your artwork. It can be a good idea to enlist the help of a professional photographer or scanning service. 

Places such as Kmart, Harvey Norman, Officeworks, Big W and Vista Print have a range of items on which they can print your images.  

Whilst they are more cost-effective, they won’t have the same quality as what is referred to in the industry as a ‘giclee print.’ A giclee print is an art gallery quality print designed not to fade and printed on quality board or archival paper.  

Companies such as PosterFactory, Fitzgerald Photo Imaging and The Finishing Touch Gallery print high-quality giclee prints. But they do come with a price.  

Society6, as previously mentioned, is another place for artists to sell their work and they will print your artwork on over 90 distinct products.  

If you are considering merchandising your art, determine how much you want to spend, the quality of products you wish to offer and the customer base you are targeting.  

Where to sell art, in a nutshell

Where To Sell Art Artist in Studio
The internet is an important place to sell paintings, sculpture or any other type of art.
Photo: Madilyan Flickr via Compfight cc

Selling art online in Australia has never been easier. Combine the power of social media to build your profile and community of followers with the technological capabilities of eCommerce platforms, online shop builders and marketplaces. Remember, what you pay for in commission goes toward the marketing these platforms do. With large databases of active art lovers, third party platforms can be a beneficial and reasonably affordable way to sell your art.  

As there are pros and cons to all the different online avenues, it is about weighing up the costs and time involved and what suits your artwork best.  Whether you choose to sell via your own site, through Instagram, a global marketplace — or all three — the possibilities to make a sustainable living from your art are viable.

Kylie de Boer and Adam Turner contributed to this article.

Where to sell art online FAQs 

Still have questions? The answers may be here. 

Where is the best place to sell art? 

The best places to sell art in Australia are reputable galleries, art fairs and online platforms such as Art Lovers Australia and Saatchi Art. 

How can I sell my artwork? 

To sell your artwork, you can approach galleries for representation, participate in art fairs, create an online portfolio on art-selling websites, or promote your work through social media and networking. 

What is the most profitable way to sell art? 

The most profitable way to sell art is to build a strong brand, create a consistent body of work, and engage with collectors and art enthusiasts through various channels to increase the awareness and demand for your art. Successful artists will need to have their own websites that they control. 

How to sell 2nd hand art? 

Selling second-hand art found at thrift stores, antique shops, estate sales or online platforms like Facebook Marketplace can be done through auction houses, online marketplaces, or consignment with galleries.  

In some cases, selling second-hard art requires the seller to identify whether the work is a reproduction or an original. This affects the sales price, as original works by named artists sell for more than reproductions by those same artists. 

This is not the same as selling art on the secondary art market, where work by artists who have a reputation in the art industry are resold. Dealers in the secondary market have little contact with the artists themselves and don't intend on selling the work at a lower price. The goal of the secondary art market is to gain a profit through reselling.  

How do you start successfully selling art? 

Successfully selling art involves creating a unique artistic voice, building a strong portfolio, networking with art professionals, and actively promoting your work through various channels. 

Where can I sell art online? 

Online platforms such as Art Lovers Australia, Saatchi Art and Big Cartel are popular choices for selling art online in Australia. See their listings above for details on each. 

How can artists make money online? 

Artists can make money online by: 

  • Selling original artworks, prints or merchandise 
  • Offering art classes or workshops 
  • Licensing their art for products 
  • Engaging with patrons through crowdfunding platforms 

Do you need a license to sell your art? 

In Australia, you do not necessarily need a license to sell your art, but it is advisable to understand the legal aspects of art sales, copyright, and taxation. Learn more here

Who is the best platform for selling digital art online? 

Platforms like Sedition Art and KnownOrigin are popular for selling digital art online. 

Where can I find potential buyers for my original artwork? 

Potential buyers for original artwork can be found through art galleries, art fairs, online art platforms, social media and networking with art collectors and enthusiasts. 

What are some effective strategies for selling art at local events? 

Practical strategies for selling art at local events include displaying a diverse range of artwork at a range of price points, engaging with visitors, offering special promotions or discounts, and collecting contact information for follow-up sales. 

Where are the most effective online marketplaces for selling original artwork? 

Effective online marketplaces for selling original artwork include Art Lovers Australia, Art Gallery, Saatchi Art and TurningArt. 

Where can I sell my original paintings for the best price? 

When selling original paintings, consider factors such as the quality of your work, your reputation as an artist, the demand for your art, and pricing strategies based on market trends and comparable sales. Don’t be afraid to ask galleries to appraise the worth of your work. 

What are the top online galleries for selling artwork? 

Top online galleries for selling artwork include Saatchi Art, Art Gallery, Art Lovers Australia and TurningArt.  

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