I have received several links that decried that the gallery system online is coming to an end. Articles like this get out every so often. There are similar questions in most articles. They include:
Art galleries are dead since buyers can go online and buy directly from the artists
Galleries are greedy and treat the artists poorly
Physical art galleries are dead due to the increase in internet sales
Some of these things are true to an extent. There are fewer art galleries around then there were ten years ago. The economic crash in 2008 played a big part in this. Sales are also increasing on the internet. It is hard to get accurate documentation but according to online sales have increased over the past five years. Fifteen percent of their total sales are from the internet. Studios Program had a big role in this as well as the Catalogue which represents the artist. These are reasons why online sales are rising. Many think this is the end of the traditional gallery.
Many think that the traditional art gallery is dead. Some people in the industry may think so. The sales of artwork, music, and books are cheaper when purchased online than in the physical stores and galleries. Both the artists and the galleries will state that if a person sees and touches something in person, it has a higher value to them. Many buyers will disagree with this. Many buyers are more willing to purchase art online. They have become comfortable with the internet and shopping on it. They are even willing to spend more money on pieces of art.
If these purchased are made at trusted site such as Amazon this trend in online art purchases will continue. The average buyer is secure in their career and if often between 40 and 70 years old. They are adapting to online shopping even for high priced artwork. It seems the next generation will be even more comfortable buying art online.
What this means for galleries
Things may change for art galleries. Many closed for good when the recession of 2008 hit. These galleries were struggling before the recession, but many had to close. There are galleries located on Main Street in Scottsdale that closed. They were not making enough money, and online retailers were further hurting their business.
I think that galleries need to find their way to market their art online. No one has the perfect model for selling art online just yet. Web sites will need to have images of the art as well as information about the artists. They should also have some reviews. Sites that have a lot of media are going to be often used. E-commerce will be needed for any online art site.
All the art galleries in Vancouver are going to need to focus on the visitor experiences instead of selling. Buying art should be a unique experience. Many buyers are looking for a cultural experience as well as art. Galleries are going to need to provide the experience and shows if they want to get people in the doors.
Galleries are going to need to use the media to their advantage. Buyers want a multimedia experience. This includes interviews with the artists and other events. Not all of these experiences can be created online but many of them can. Media rich content becomes more accessible. Several programs are easy to use including DreamWeaver, Photoshop, and InDesign. Social media should be used as well as Youtube to attract visitors. These tools will pay off in the end.
Galleries need to change the way that they interact with the artists. As artists operate more independently with the user of the internet galleries, have to give them a full partnership in their art. Galleries need to improve their relationship with the artists. Artists need to realize that galleries are great places to market their work. The gallery is going to need to earn the business from the artists.
The Effect on Artists
Artists are at an industry crossroads. They have more opportunities to expose their work. It only takes a couple of minutes to post their work online. They can have a virtual gallery that can be seen by people all around the world. They can create a presence online. With all of the artists online it can be hard to become noticed and generate sales.
Well, known artists have been able to sell to collectors directly online. These artists have left the galleries and have cut the galleries out of their sales. They are still going to need a way for new collectors to find them.
Galleries are often used by artists in their mid-careers. Amazon is looking to work with well-established galleries and not artists that are just starting out their career. Someone needs to come up with a new system for exposure. If not art galleries are still the best way to gain an audience and generate sales. With fewer galleries, it is harder than ever to gain the attention of fans. Galleries are becoming more competitive, and artists have to show off their best work to get a spot for their art.
Artists are going to have to handle the sales on their art on their own. They will need to attend more art shows, and most of their sales will come from the internet. If they want their work hung in galleries that are going to need to increase their skills.
Some artists will find they are good at marketing and will not need the assistance of galleries. They can run their virtual gallery and in some cases their physical art gallery.
Most artists do not want to spend their time marketing and selling their work. They want to be creating art. Many are not interested in the business side, and all they know how to do is make art. For these artists having their work shown in galleries is something to look forward to. They will be able to gain exposure and will be able to sell their work.