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2 Ways To Make Money Selling Art Without Being Dead

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Visual artist can start an online art business to make money.

We've all heard the term "starving artist" and the image of a weird shabby looking person with bad hair pops into our mind. If your dream is to be an artist or run an art business one day, undoubtedly you'll get a lot of discouragement.



Not many people possess the know-how or extreme business savvy of how to become rich selling art. By traditional standards, artists aren't suppose to make real money until they're dead. That today is absurd and whoever still believes it probably  never heard of photoshop, graphic design, stock imagery, or online social art  communities. Gone are the days of the humble artist waiting to fetch a fortune for his hand-painted oil-on-canvas masterpiece after he dies. Also the idea that an art school degree won't do you much good in the business world is silly in itself.


You have  to turn an artistic passion into a profitable business through the mighty power of the internet, social media, and a reliable computer.


Online Art Communities and Virtual Exhibits As with other businesses that previously planted in a brick and mortar existence, art has transposed to the internet to form flourishing communities of different artists and art media. These communities started as common social networks and forums to allow artists to communicate creative ideas and critique each other's works, but have tools display digital works or sell them true ecommerce enabled features. One such community is deviantArt.  Thousands of artists upload works which are categorized by structure and medium. These include photographic works, digital art, traditional art, creative writing, Flash animations,  and 3d skin designs for desktop apps. You can display your works for sale or offer them free. Many artists opt to sell their works for a profit.


Stock Photography, Illustration, and Videos A high resolution digital camera, adaptive photographic high zoom lens, can be transformed from a hobby to a lucrative startup business. Photographers and illustrators have the option to create and upload their works online for mass distribution or sale under Creative Commons licenses giving the artists the right to choose how their works can be used. The demand for good stock photography, video, and illustrations is high. You have two choices when endeavoring to sell your creative works. Either sell them to multiple online businesses that specialize in stock imagery and video as royalty free or rights managed packages.  Royalty free works once purchased become the property of the end consumer and can be used, or manipulated over and over for commercial purposes. Rights managed works however remain the property of the original creator, requires the artist's permission to used in any commercial business, and must strictly follow the usage guidelines.


There's a multitude of online places that enable artists to sell arts and crafts without having their own website. Etsy is one of those sites. As a seller, set your own starting price for  handmade art,  crafts, and more.  The setup and account is free, but you're required to pay 20 cents to list items, and you're charged a 3.5% sales fee. Corbis Images and iStock Photo are two others. Why wait until you're dead before your artworks are worth anything? Get a flourishing art business started by selling your works online.


Blog posted from New York, NY, USA View larger map
My business goal is to offer simple to understand business advice and develop useful business tools for curious Erookie visitors.


  • Guest
    pixelpanda Monday, 16 May 2011

    I guess this is great news for starving artist everywhere. I wish I had some artistic talent to even know how to create something visually appealing that anyone would want to buy.

  • Guest
    karla-elizabeth Monday, 23 May 2011

    I serious wish I had even the slightest bit of artistic talent. My skills at drawing or sketching, sculpting or most things visually creative are lacking. But hey there's always abstract art I guess. Maybe I could make a business hobby out of that. Many people like Jackson Pollack turned weird looking sqiggley nothings in million dollar masterpieces. :-)

  • Guest
    SantoRican Wednesday, 25 May 2011

    Join the club Karla, I took a few art classes in college, but never put much effort into it. But that was in the early 90's before everything became big on the internet. I wish I had followed up with it more. My design and creative skills could use a little tweaking. I know a guy who makes killing selling custom design T-shirts online with gothic art designs he make on the computer. It's stuff like that I'd love to know how to do.

  • Zukile Valisa
    Zukile Valisa Wednesday, 12 December 2012

    Interesting for me being an artist whose always looking for new ways to reach art market.

  • Guest
    Sheldon Tuesday, 27 August 2013

    I don't know anyone who's ever gotten rich selling art online. but I've heard of many people who've made decent sums of money doing it. Without being deceased, you can do what many artist do by selling their artwork on various commercial sites and marketing it through social media channels like youtube, facebook, and a business homepage.

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Guest Friday, 27 May 2016