Keys to Increasing Online Art Sales

by Carolyn Edlund

Want to sell more of your artwork online? Make sure you have these essentials covered.


Carolyn Edlund, founder of Artsy Shark, and Ashwin Muthiah of Easely

Carolyn Edlund, founder of Artsy Shark, and Ashwin Muthiah of Easely


This is the first in an occasional series of articles on conversations that I’ve had with my friend Ashwin Muthiah. We discussed some of the major mistakes artists commonly make when selling online. Ashwin made some excellent points about good presentation and communication that artists should know. If you want to increase online sales of your artwork, take note.

Carolyn:  I frequently talk with artists who would like to increase their online sales, or they may just be getting started. I find that one of the misperceptions they have is that all they need to do is upload their images online and that they are ready to sell. But that’s not true. Artists need to share quite a bit of information about their work – for example, through an artist statement that appears with their photos.

Ashwin:  Absolutely, I agree with your point that your artist statement must be informative. I’ve seen way too many artist statements that are just a few lines long and don’t answer essential questions like:

“Why do you make art?”

“How do you make it?”

“What’s your thought process?”

Customers want to get to know you before they buy your art. After all, art is an investment and people want to feel good about that, and excited about you as an artist. If your customers don’t get to meet you in person, a well-written artist statement is a chance to make a good first impression.  It’s the perfect complement to viewing your portfolio.


Example of an online art portfolio

Example of an online art portfolio


Carolyn:  What other suggestions do you typically give to artists who are creating their online presence? What do they need to know?

Ashwin: Give details about each piece. This is vitally important. Put yourself in the shoes of the customers who are considering your artwork. People are curious about the usual things: who, what, when, where, why. If someone is depicted in the work, who is it? What are you capturing? When did you make it? Where in your development as an artist were you when you made it – do you work in phases? Why did you make it? Answering these questions about every piece can be time-consuming, but I’d say it’s time very well spent.

Carolyn: You really can’t give enough information to shoppers. It helps to be concise, and also to understand what kind of information is meaningful to them. Ideally, you want to help them develop a comfort level where they are ready to purchase. It’s about the customer experience.

Ashwin: Exactly. And, to create that comfort level, you need to have a really professional presentation. Your website aesthetic is almost as important as the aesthetic of your work. You’re a visual artist, and your website design needs to reflect that. I’ve seen way too many talented artists’ work marred by poor website design, and that just chases people away.


Customers need a professional presentation and plenty of information to gain a comfort level.

Customers need a professional presentation and plenty of information to gain a comfort level.


Carolyn: I’ve noticed that many times when reviewing artist’s websites, and it definitely works against your marketing efforts. Part of the marketing equation is that you must develop the trust of the customer.

Ashwin: And to build that trust, you need to look like you are in business, and that you care about your presentation.

Carolyn: Some of the information that artists need to share is very basic, like costs, shipping and more. Could you talk a bit about that?

Ashwin: Yes, it’s true; logistics matter. As “un-fun” as it is to worry about shipping, packaging, framing, maintenance, insurance, damages, etc. it’s very important to potential buyers. They need to know exactly what the process is going to be like when buying art from you. An uninformed potential customer will almost never become an actual customer.

Carolyn: Thanks for this great input! I hope readers will take a look at their own online presence and spot those areas that need some revision.



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  1. Hi there; I just want to know if you guys also accept photography art, or just paintings?
    Also, is it free to become a member? thanks……..

  2. I loved this article. Thank you for such a honest and true reflection of how to be more productive in selling online. I feel as an artist we may get in our minds that because we know how we painted it, why we painted it and what it feels like that others should too but that is not the case. In fact it shows we need to be more forthright in our offering of information. If someone comes to my site and sees something they like but I do not provide enough information, how am I ever going to know they came or that they were interested? Do you find that videos of the artist’s creation are effective? What would buyers want to see?

    • Glad you enjoyed it! Buyers just want to get to know you, and there are many different ways to make that happen. I think videos would be extremely effective – it shows them the answers they’re looking for instead of telling them.

      • Thank you. Do they want to know about our personal life, what we like to do for fun (besides art), what we like to eat, where we like to travel? Or do the videos need to be strictly art related?

        • Well a bit of both, actually. They want to get to know you as an artist so they can make a knowledgeable purchase and feel confident in what they are buying. They want to get to know you as a person because it feels good to connect with someone and become their supporter. It’s somewhat analogous to the content you want to see from people you look up to. For example, I enjoy learning about Joan Mitchell’s professional career, but I also like to get an understanding of who she was. The former satisfies my intellectual curiosity, and the latter satisfies a desire for personal connection.

          • You rock Ashwin! This makes so much sense to me the way you put it. I had other people telling me otherwise but I agree with you 100%. People do want to know about me. I really appreciate you taking the time to talk with me.

          • Glad I could help, Derek! Would love for you to check out Easely ( to see if it’s something you’re interested in!

  3. Thanks Ashwin – I definitely will.

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