Creator Economy, Auctions How Do Artists Make Money?
Monetization of Art
As I am building an auction events platform for artists, I aim to help artists make money. So the question of how artists make money, in general, is front and center for this platform. While the big names in art, and I mean living artists, not the past masters, have their road paved to revenue. They put exhibitions in galleries. Auctions houses, big and small, catering to their creations. I am concerned about the smaller, less experienced, and partly professional artists in various stages of their artistic careers.
The Playing Field
Following through Reddit art channels, studying online art platforms, and following the art market professionals, one can discern several prominent venues for artists who are not top names. As my auction event platform is intended for physical forms of creation, such as paintings, sculptures, and jewelry, one has to sort online art platforms, as many of them cater just to digital forms of creation.
An artist can work for commissions, where a piece of art is ordered by a customer, with various specifications and degrees of artistic freedom.
An artist can produce merch based on their work. There are platforms where one can produce merch, from prints to mugs to T-shirts embedding the artist's creations. Yet this is a derivative of the artist producing exciting work.
Sell Through Online Art Platforms
Some online platforms let an artist sell creations with varying degrees of take-rate (commission), which can range from 30% to 50%. These figures are not an exhaustive survey, and one should consider shipping costs which bear on the net revenue figure.
Art fairs, which may be at a local and national level, and may be more or less selective, are a more direct means of revenue, with a substantially lower take rate.
Facebook groups for art in various countries let you offer art pieces for sale, with members offering prices for buying. So essentially, the price is determined through negotiation.
This leaves the artist in a position where a price needs to be set beforehand or negotiated in through message exchange.
This leads to our vision of providing a way for any artist to make money from his/her creations with better and fairer pricing through auctions.