The development of the Internet has opened up several different avenues since the early 2000’s – Present Day, with artists converging online more as entrepreneurs in a growing online art market, abandoning common misconceptions that galleries and art shows were the way forward in making headway in the sale of art.
With social media’s rise to prominence in this digital age, more and more artists are moving to the online platforms, specifically Instagram to conduct market sales rather than through traditionalist mediums of selling their work. This, matched with Bitcoin’s invasion of the $60 billion global art market drove many to social media to avoid implications involving the crypto-currency and for fairer ways to individualize their art sales.
In an interview with the BBC, artist Ashley Longshore, whose art has been heavily purchased and popularised throughout Hollywood had some very inspiring words on how technology helped her escape the traditional system for artists to promote their work.
“Art school teaches you that galleries are where you have to be – when you buy through a gallery, you’re investing 50% in the middle man, it screws up the pricing of art. I want artists to see themselves as entrepreneurs”
Online art sales are currently estimated to be at $3.75 billion, up 15% from 2015, with overall shares of the art market rising to 8.4%, up 7.4% from previous years according to a 2017 report by Hiscox.
However, this positive feedback in the online art market has led more traditional forms of art sales to see dramatic falls for the first time in the last 5 years. Global auction sales fell 19%, one of the largest falls in the market since 2012. Iain Barratt, owner of Catto Gallery in London insisted:
“Our artists are on Instagram, but they’re followed by other artists most of the time, not clients”
This transition from traditional forms of promotion and discovering new artists through social media outlets has led to difficulties for even well-established galleries and auction houses.
Auction House Christie, founded 250 years ago saw their online sales rise from $2,300 to $8,000 on average yearly through online markets, in comparison to their drops in auction sales as of 2017.
In 2017, one-third of Christie’s new buyers came from online; something that has hit the traditional markets extremely knowing that such a well-established auction house has been hit effectively by social media and online markets.
It clearly demonstrates that the rise of social media’s influence is leaving a market historically based on traditional and in-person meetings and business jargon is being replaced through the use of simplifying technologies and easily accessible.