Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Going, Going, Gone

As a daily painter (or maybe more like twice-a-week painter) I find if a painting doesn’t sell quickly using the strategy I have in place now, it more than likely will set up residency in my “archives”. (i.e. read basement storage)

The current strategy I have is using Etsy as my selling site for all my small paintings and using exposure sites like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Daily Paintworks and Daily Painters Originals to drive traffic to my Etsy shop.

Last year I had 20 or so paintings out of 165+ that didn’t sell, and to now move them out of the archives and turn them into cash presents a new opportunity.  This last weekend, I experimented with a fun site called Tophatter that I learned about while trolling through the Etsy business and team discussion boards.  It’s a virtual auction site complete with your own little icon - my icon has a purple dress and gray hair.

"Empty" 5 x 5 Oil on Gessobord
SOLD on Tophatter

Tophatter has themed auctions: Jewelry, Supplies, Antique and Vintage, Bath and Body, Art, etc.  They also have auctions that are labeled as bazaars (Early Bird and Night Owl).  Each day they post an Auction Schedule.  It appears Monday, Wednesday and Friday are the Art auctions at 11am (Pacific Time) and on Tuesday night there is an Original Art and Limited Edition auction.

You set up your profile, and start adding your items.  Each item is a “lot”.  You can schedule your lot for an auction in two ways: By scheduling or by adding to the stand-by category for a current auction.  When I listed my first painting for an auction, it was scheduled for a week out, which I thought was odd.  The second painting I sold was by adding it to the standby category for the Monday morning Art auction.  Someone has to bid on your item to bring it out of standby where everyone can bid on it.  Payment on both items came through Paypal and both buyers paid immediately. Here is a link to the Tophatter Blog, The Monocle and Moustache, which more fully explains the standby concept. (The bidding goes very fast, and I find the chat function annoying.)

I’ve sold two paintings, a 5 x 5 for $18 and a 5 x 5 for $11 - both over a year old - and have another painting scheduled for auction on May 18th. So as you might guess this is not for your high end art or larger art – at least not yet.  There are a lot of prints, ACEO/ACT art, along with some really bad art.  There was a piece that was just so poorly done, it looked like a drawing but the jury is still out on that.  The bidding started at $300.  I was riveted, I just had to see if this thing would sell or not - as you might guess no one bid.
"RedHead" 5 x 5 Oil on Gessobord
SOLD on Tophatter

The idea here is to find a price point you can live with, which will also cover your shipping and supplies, and move your practice and archived pieces out of storage.

Today’s Nitty-Gritty Nugget:

     What’s your strategy for turning “archived” paintings into income?

What’s Next?

1.        Take inventory on those paintings you would really love to get rid of.

2.        What is the price point at which you would cover your supplies and shipping?

3.       Set a price and then look for a market to sell them, either online, or in a brick and mortar shop.   It may not be the “image” of the cool, hip gallery that you ultimately would like, but if you would rather have the cash, you’ll find a place.  I know of several gallery owners that look for new talent online – in Ebay auctions, auction sites and other unlikely spots.

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