Buying art has never been more accessible than it is right now. There are so many online galleries, shops, and exhibitions that it is as simple as a touch of a screen or a click of a mouse.
Nevertheless, are you aware of who gets the money you spend? We thought that you, as the consumer, should at least be made aware of some facts.
Online sales excluding direct deposits involve fees of some sort. Paypal takes a small percentage of sales, as do many other payment facilities. Depending on how much you spend, at least 2-5% is not going to the artist. Although not much of an expense, it is definitely something to consider.
If you buy online from a physical gallery, the total purchase amount will usually include a 30-50% commission. This amount goes to the gallery to cover the cost of overheads, such as rent, utilities and wages. The artist receives the remainder of the sale.
Online galleries, such as Art Lovers Australia and Bluethumb, take a 30% commission on sales, and although they advertise free shipping, the artist is responsible for this expense. So it is free for the buyer but an added cost for the artist. They pay for not only the shipping but also the packaging costs to ensure the artworks arrive safely. If packaging for overseas, this can be extremely expensive. With the artist only receiving 70% of the sales minus the cost of shipping and packaging, this can easily be 50-60% of the sale, depending on the price of the artwork.
With the more prominent online galleries making up a large portion of art sales, they are, in effect, controlling the market. Most of the time, artists increase the price of their artworks to cover the cost of commissions and shipping. The galleries don’t mind artists selling art in multiple places, but they expect the same price across platforms. So even if you go direct to the artist, you are still paying the same amount. However, the difference being that the artist will get almost all the sale amount, minus shipping and possible payment fees.
Even with such commissions and other expenses, many artists prefer to sell works in these galleries for many reasons. These reasons include the fact that they may not be financially able to have their own website or lack the knowledge and complexities of setting up a website, social media and online marketing. Another common reason is that they just want to focus on being creative without worrying about all the fuss of selling. Additionally, the more prominent galleries have connections to consumer groups and have a considerable following.
Perhaps, as an art buyer, you would rather deal with the gallery than the artist directly. It is a well-known fact that some artists are a little eccentric and unusual, but we are all just people expressing our creativity. Artists appreciate nothing more than to know someone else is interested in their artwork.
As an organisation that supports artists, we thought it was our responsibility to present the facts and let you decide where your money goes. But, of course, it is your money, and it is up to you to decide, but now that you are familiar with how the market works, you can buy artwork knowing you are more informed.
If you are interested in looking at our art shop, please do so, and keep in mind that 95% of all our sales go directly to the artist.
If you are looking for an artist for a commissioned artwork, please visit our artist directory to find the category you prefer. Then, find the artist that appeals to you and contact them directly.
Please share this blog, so your family and friends can also buy artwork from an informed position.
We have a great range of artworks in our online exhibition - Shadows at Play