Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael, and Donatello are best known as the four greatest artists of the Renaissance. During the 14th century, they were able to make a good living because of the generosity of patrons who bought their art pieces and commissioned them to do more artwork such as family portraits, sculptures, and frescoes. These pieces were mostly commissioned to feed not love for art itself, but more to feed the ego and demonstrate the social status of the elites during that time period.
Some artists of that era who did not have patrons usually worked in cooperation with a guild. The guild would display their work in market places, hoping for some rich man or matron to notice and buy the painting or sculpture. If fortune smiles at them, they would also be hired to do other work.
Art and Technology in One Canvass
Today, the livelihood of visual artists is still anchored on their creativity, uniqueness, technique, and message of every output they make. The difference is that they have learned how to leverage technology to expand their artistic horizons and the business potential of their craft.
By relying on the database and health of an SQL server they are able to store information about every commissioned work they have done, as well those that were birthed simply out of inspiration. Tech-enabled artists also take to the time to archive high-resolution image files of their artwork. Others use the file stream method to upload very large-sized images. By digitizing artwork, they now get more space for storage while preparing a whole catalogue that can be part of the business process of replication, printing, and distribution.
In centuries gone by, art pieces were one of a kind. For example, Da Vince may have made studies of the Mona Lisa before he made the final one that now hangs on a wall inside the Louvre Museum in Paris. But for the most part, his masterpieces were one-offs, meaning they had no duplicates.
An artist these days can create a very expensive piece and license it for reprints that art dealers can sell for a more affordable price. The original can be paid for and hanged on a personal gallery of a billionaire art collector. Those of lesser means but similar tastes can get the printed copy of a digital file.
Moreover, unlike Da Vinci and his contemporaries, present-day artists need not rely on full-time patrons or guilds to make a living. Literally, the world is like their canvass. They can choose to create art for all people to see, and hopefully, buy. They can do this by having an online presence.
Building an Online Audience
Whether through social media or other platforms such as online events broadcasted on a website, the artist has to find a way to build an audience. This audience could be composed of art enthusiasts, dedicated followers of the artist himself, or other groups who are interested in this field.
Through video conferencing, the artist can also show his original artwork to a live audience. Like what famous painter Bob Ross did in his t.v. art tutorial program, The Joy of Painting, an artist can also do a live session and show the audience exactly how he makes his masterpiece from start to finish.
A 21st-century artist could also specialize in Renaissance style art and host an online discussion about it. Art historians could be invited to provide more information and context into specific art pieces made by a 14th-century maestro and the style used by the modern-day paint master. By art styles alone, a series can be easily lined up for audiences to watch and enjoy.
By sharing information, techniques, and samples to audiences for free, a community is built and their love for art is nurtured along the way.
In time, when a significant number of online following is created on a channel like Facebook or Youtube, the artist could learn how to monetize that channel. Ad placements on the channel could allow him or her to earn a sizeable amount. Product endorsements for art materials would also be possible if the artist already has a strong viewer base.
Selling Art Online
Eventually, avid art collectors and even ordinary lovers of paintings, sculptures, and other forms of art will take notice. When this happens, an opportunity for making a sale arises. With a good agent and advertiser, selling art online can become a very profitable business.
Online art galleries are also becoming popular these days. The quarantine that is still in effect in many parts of the country has opened art lovers to the option of virtual art shows. Hosting an event for a particular series will help develop an ‘online buzz’ for the artist. These online galleries do charge a commission for every piece sold. But considering the potential global reach of an online gallery, it would be well worth doing a virtual exhibit that can be seen by millions rather than a live one where only a handful are present.
While artists are to be extolled for creating visual delights that cannot be measured in terms of money, they do need to make a living. By combining artistry with technology, they can merge both worlds and find happiness in the brilliant pieces they make as well as in the money that they have truly earned through sheer talent.