So this is really important to understand what you’re signing up for. They’re not exactly transparent.

When you sell on Saatchi, you are selling potentially to an international audience.

So that means if your art does sell, like in the case of one of my students, she actually wound up making $10 because she was liable for the taxes and tariffs and the international shipping fees.

Ann Rea

Artist & Mentor

Saatchi Art - Helping or Hurting Artists?

(Transcript)

Should artists sell their art on Saatchi Art?

00:04 Saatchi Art is basically Saatchi online art is it very crowded market space for artists to sell their art online? So that they can “help” emerging artists. Right. And that’s how they play it. That’s how they pitch it. They’re helping you. Well, um, they’re really helping themselves because again, they do not own the inventory. I mean it’s a really great deal, right? So You, you upload your images and they sell your art and they have had to make no investment at all in your business or in your inventory. Right. So again, there is no loss to them if your product that you own, not them is discounted. So they often put out these sale notices and they don’t necessarily make this very clear when you sign up and the problem is, again, you discount your art, you devalue your art. So they’re doing the same thing that other galleries are doing.

What happened to your student who tried to sell her art on Saatchi Art?

01:27 She actually was never told that her art was being discounted. She just got a general notice about sales happening from time to time. The problem is that they don’t just like pause and say, Oh hold on, can we, we’re going to be discounting your art. Is that okay with you? Is that cool? No, no, no. There’s none of that. So it’s burried in the terms and conditions and so it’s, again, a lot of the artists who are participating in this market space don’t really fully realize the repercussions of discounting their art and so they click on the terms and conditions and they sell their art and they think, okay, well no big deal. You know at least I sold some art. But the problem is if you want to make this a sustainable business and you want to make sustainable sales of your art, you can’t be doing things that undermine the value of your art, like discounting.

What did Saatchi Art tell your student?

02:24 So we have to understand is that Saatchi has just got so many artists. Right, it’s a free listing and so they’re, most of the most of the views that you’re going to get if you get any at all are going to be other artists, collectors are not really, you know that’s not their go to place. They’re much more likely to buy from you. The person they know, the person who had been referred to. Then they are to venture onto these spaces. Now obviously they do some sales, but I think what people don’t understand is that when you go to a place like Saatchi, it’s really, you’re competing based on price largely.

What did Saatchi Art tell your student?

When my student reached out to Saatchi and said, hey, I haven’t had any page views, the recommendation that they gave her was to pay them to enter an art contest. Now look, if you need affirmation of your artistic talent, an art contest is not the place to go because you’re really, some self appointed judge is going to take a quick glance and grant you or someone else the winner.

So what? What you really want to gain approval for, who you really want to gain approval from is your target market, your collectors. So contests are really predatory practice and if you think about it, they collect an unlimited number of entries and an unlimited number of entry fees. There is no one minding the store. They are held accountable to no one. So if they’ve got 200,000 artists on their list, for example, which I would venture to guess is probably higher, and a certain percentage of them enter the contest, right? What do they do? They just click and say, you’re the winner. You’re the winner. You’re the winner. Really, they’re the winner and everybody else is the loser because they’ve got all those entry fees. There’s no there. They’re just stay away from art contests. If you want to sell your art, if you’re just doing this as a hobby, be my guest. Go right ahead. But the artists who follow me typically want to sell their art and they want to do it in a way that’s sustainable part time or full time.

What else should artists know about Saatchi Art?

04:44 So this is really important to understand what you’re signing up for and they’re not exactly transparent. When you sell on Saatchi, you are selling, you know, potentially to an international audience. So that means if your art does sell, like in the case of one of my students, she actually wound up making $10 because she was liable for the taxes and tariffs and the international shipping fees. So you could wind up making very little money or actually owing money after you sell your art on Saatchi if it sells internationally. Again, that is not like clearly disclosed, but be careful and be aware of that because when you click on the terms and conditions you are agreeing to a contract. It’s a legally binding contract.

Do you know artists who have had success on Saatchi Art?

05:41 Well, I’ve been working with artists now for almost 15 years and I do not know of a single artist who has had any success selling on Saatchi Art or other platforms like Fine Art America. It’s really very unlikely. If you don’t own the platform, you don’t own your success. So my students and the artists I know who have had success, they have their own platform and meaning they have their own ecommerce site and they have their own customer lists and they get their own referrals. And you can’t have that in these overcrowded market spaces. The way that they sell it to artists is, well, we’re going to make this all easy for you, but no, you know, nothing worthwhile is easy. So sorry, there’s no, there’s no easy way. There’s no easy way to build any business no matter what it is. I mean, selling art or whatever businesses, it’s a business and it takes time and persistence and effort. It’s easy to believe there’s some fine print. Exactly.

6 Responses

  1. You are absolutely on the button with this article. Along with all the materials etc, is the time spent uploading, configuring and depressingly, waiting. It’s not the money that matters, it’s the exposure, or lack of it.

    1. I agree with some of what you say, but also disagree with others that you impart.
      Juried competitions, particularly the prestigious ones, do promote the winning artists and there work. The same reason masters from the past entered the Salon, where the appointed jurors/judges’ opinions do matter, like at the Oscars, or Emmys. No artists,no matter how great, can survive in a vacuum, and competition is a healthy way to expose and promote visual art for artists, believe it, or not.

      1. Of course no one can survive in a vacuum. But there is no prestigious in being played. The only jury that matters is an artist’s target market 😉

  2. They notified me about a collector wanting to take down the price for one of my paintings. My prices are slightly over the reimbursement for materials so I said “no”. They were very unhappy and schooled me on how to be more lenient in pricing my art. It was a loss of free money for them but it is me who had to put the work and resources into my work.

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