Buying art online can be intimidating. Is the work quality? will I like the work I have commissioned? If I buy from options on their site will I like it as much in person as I did in the photos?
How will I know the work is quality?
As an artist I have always loved the idea of being able to sell my work online ( I have good, high quality work so it should sell…..) but as a customer/art lover I have always struggled with the idea of wondering if it was a good idea to buy abstract art online (or any art) – but abstract since that is what I most love to paint…. I have always shown my work in galleries, sold from galleries and purchased work based on what I see in person – never online which is why, until now I have not tried to sell my work online. Recently, I have spent some more time online looking at work and wondering how I would go about buying if that is what I chose to do. The answer I came up with for buying art online is that it very much depends on the purpose of buying the art, where the art was going and why.
When the art you are buying is for a public space where it is important the colors work, or theme rather than if you are in love with the art or not— usually for public display it is important to keep subject matter nondescript so it is generic and not offensive to anyone. This is why abstracts and floral paintings are good in public spaces. In this case, and especially if budget is a factor you can go more generic and get work that is a print or not “fine art” original painting. I attached some images of work that can be purchased inexpensively for such occasions.
For my home…..
For art in our homes is a very different story. In our homes we should love what is there or it is easy to get sick of looking at it even if the colors and/or shape is right. In this case, to buy abstract art online, I would do a little research to find out if the art is quality – maybe locate the artist and ask them some questions. Find out what galleries they are in and ask the gallery questions about the artist. I have had customers commission me to do work for them through a gallery. I like working that way even though the gallery takes their percentage because it is nice to have them as a protection for both the client and artist……. If they do commission work and you like the rest of what they do then you can begin the process of having a painting done just for you.
I am sure each artist has their own process for creating art for a customer but this is what I do….
I charge by the square inch because it makes it clear to the customer what they should expect to pay – also lets them choose a size based on what they want to pay. I have narrowed my “in stock” sizes to standard sizes, but for an additional fee I will create custom sizes all the way up to mural sizes which I do in studio then install in the customer’s home. For example – if they want a 30×40 piece that works out to 1200 square inches. As of now I charge 1.25 per square inch (this may increase in the future, but for now that is the price for a basic painting) – that equals $1500 for a 30×40 mixed media abstract painting on canvas. Once the size has been established I work on a few drawings for my client. I find out colors and get examples of my other work they are drawn to and use that information to create some possible pieces for them to decide on. I do a small drawing on paper and color in my basic color scheme with colored pencil or watercolor. Once the client has chosen the image I invoice them with the full amount and 50% non-refundable deposit is required. I get the drawing on the canvas and begin. Several times throughout the painting process I will photograph the art and email it to my customer so they are part of the progress – that also allows them to make changes if they do not like anything about my color or pattern choices before the painting is complete. Once it is completed and approved by the customer they pay the remaining 50% due. At that time if there are changes it is harder to adjust the painting after it is 100% complete, so depending on what the change is there may be additonal fees ( another reason I involve my client, so they have chances to make changes before it is finished, avoiding extra expense).I then take the work to the local packing/shipping and my customer deals directly with them for packing and shipping options. I really try to involve my clients in the process of creating the work from the very start as much as I can so they get to know me, how I work and really get to fall in love with their painting because they get to be as much a part of my process as possible without being there while I am painting…
Loving your art and why?
I remember many years ago I bought a print done by a certain artist. I loved it! Really was a special part of my art collection not only for sentimental reasons because of when I got it but I just loved the loose way she painted and the freedom in her work…. Then a few years later I was at a trade show and she was there. I was excited to meet her because I loved my print so much and because my own work had some similar characteristics to hers and I did not often see paintings similar to mine in the way hers was similar. It was a complete and utter let down to meet her. She was snooty and rude and had the attitude of “how dare you talk to me, I am too busy for you”… If she actually felt that way or not, I will never know, but I was offended. Offended that she treated me as “less than” and I instantly liked my print less. Within 5 years that print was collecting dust under my bed. A person’s heart goes into the art they create, as a painter I know this…. so I never saw her work the same way and it was such a disappointment.
I encourage my customers to ask questions and I want to be as helpful as I can be whether they buy my already done paintings or commission me to do something specifically for them. It is kindness, honesty and being vulnerable enough to let my clients see “who I am” that ultimately will help them connect to the work or not. Yes, liking the work is important but I have fallen more in love with work because I like the person or less if I find them to have a personality that is not friendly….
So, if you are considering whether to purchase work online remember that you can usually decide quality from photos but if not do not hesitate to contact galleries or the artist….. It is your money being spent and the artist should understand that and be willing to work with you so you feel comfortable with the purchase. They should be willing to send photos or work with you in any way you need.
Most of the work photographed in this article is mine. The ones that aren’t will have a purchase link attached so you can find them and other images that might work for you. My work does not have links attached as they are all sold but I welcome inquiries about commissions. I have recently sold my entire series of abstract work to our local hospital for their new cancer center ……so they cleaned me out of an entire body of work ( which is, I have to say, the best reason ever to be lacking work to sell) but if you like my work then I would be happy to help you create a custom piece for your space!
feel free to contact me at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org or simply comment on this article and I will be happy to help you!
this painting is a self-portrait – all of my work is personal, but this painting is titled “out of ashes” – representing that a beautiful, colorful life can come out of the ashes of a much less than desirable start……..