by Carolyn Edlund
Renting artwork to individuals or businesses is an opportunity available to artists. Have you ever considered it?
I recently spoke with Samantha Ward, who is the Artist Relations Manager at Easely about this interesting twist in the online marketplace.
AS: Your website offers this type of opportunity to artists and clients. How does the rental program work?
SW: We rent high-quality prints of artist’s work, and artists receive royalties on our rental prices. It’s a very passive income stream, which makes it easy to do. All we need are high-quality images of the artwork, which we then market, print, and ship.
Customers can buy these prints, or swap them out for free every year for a new piece. Artists also receive commission if a customer buys a print after renting it. The longer a customer rents, the more discounts are unlocked on the print. We can also help artists facilitate sales of the original pieces that customers are renting prints of, if the customer decides that they want to purchase the original.
AS: What are the major benefits of this to the new collector?
SW: Art rentals allow people who are not necessarily comfortable with the art world to get their toes in the water, so to speak. Rentals give an opportunity for people (especially young people) to get involved. After a while, they start to follow artists and familiarize themselves with their work. Then, when they are older and more comfortable with the art world, they may begin collecting original pieces from these artists.
Cost savings is one of the more obvious benefits of renting. People who can’t afford to buy, or who are too timid to commit to an original piece, can rent artwork at prices that they can afford. Perhaps later in their life when they are capable of investing in an original, they will be more likely to buy from the artists who they have discovered through renting.
AS: Why do you see businesses renting artwork?
SW: For larger businesses, we solve a cash flow problem for them. Often, they won’t have any art or they have art that has been sitting on their walls for decades because they don’t want to buy all new artwork upfront for an astounding price. With art rentals, businesses that would never consider even having art are willing to start filling their walls!
In addition, renting is environmentally friendly. Some industries, like hotels, go through remodels every 5-7 years or so, and will often have to trash all of the art that previously filled their spaces. With art rentals, businesses who have this problem can invest in higher-quality artwork instead of cheaper prints that they know will get thrown away. The art rentals that we offer at Easely opens doors to artists’ work that normally would not be an option for these businesses to use. Instead of the art finding itself in a dumpster somewhere, it can be passed along to another home or business that wants to rent it!
AS: Why do artists like the idea of renting?
SW: When an artist’s artwork is being rented to different clients who they normally would never have met, their notoriety grows considerably. We have connections with many different clients and industries who are interested in renting art (for the reasons mentioned above) but have no idea how to find artists. We act as a middleman between artist and industry.
Renting art is still a very new idea, but we have received overwhelming support from the businesses that we work with. This is a new trend, and one that we think will be growing quickly. Artists should absolutely get on board while we are one of the only companies providing this service!