Is an Online Art Gallery a good place to exhibit?
The Rise of the Internet Art gallery
The advent of the Internet has changed much of the world and not least in the explosion and access artist now have to promote themselves. While every artist can set up their own cheap website, this is the real world inequivalent of putting a note in the window of your local shop. Not very effective at selling anything.
Online art galleries work just like real world art galleries do.
An online gallery brings together art in one place and promotes it's service to the world. When you pay an online art gallery either with a subscription or a commission you are paying them for the work they do to sell your art. You could do work yourself, study web design and find out how to get your gallery seen. Then work everyday to build that art gallery and promote it, but your an artist not a office worker, so it makes sense to pay a dedicated art gallery to do this for you. They have the experience and know how to get your work seen and allow you the time to be creative.
The Subscription Based Art Gallery
Real world galleries as well as on-line art galleries sometimes charge artists what they call hanging fees. These fees are charged to cover the running costs of the gallery and your work is displayed in their exhibition. Sometimes a small commission (see below) is also taken on sales. This model can make for very large online galleries, they take little risk and cover their cost with your fees. This allowes them to promote the gallery. Fees vary from site to site, and judgement should be used when paying. The questions you need to ask are, how well will my art be seen. Can you find the site with terms like "unique paintings", "buy paintings online" or "original paintings for sale"? how many other artists are there to compete with? Will you get any sales and cover the fee?
The Commission Based Art Gallery
This is a popular model in the best real world galleries. As art gallery valuable wall space is at a premium, so choosing the best work to display makes absolute sense. This model however is fairly rare on the net and only a few sites operate like this. The reason is obvious, wall space is not restricted on the net and an artist could sell theiur work elsewhere and avoid paying any commission.
Percentage Rates Charged at Art Galleries
Rates on commission vary but range from 15% up to around 60%. The average is around 40% commission. Very low commission rates usually come with a hanging fees (see above) and the very high rates are charged by exclusive and well regarded art galleries that require complete comitment by the artist. The thing to remember as an artist is that you should make sure that the amount you get after the gallery takes a commission or charges you a fee is a fair price for your time and work. If you think of yourself as a manufacture selling work to a shop, a shop would buy your work and sell it for 100% - 150% more than they paid for it, this covers their running cost advertising and paying staff. So when you pay a commission to a gallery you are paying them for this same service, but must make sure you get enough yourself for the work involved.