Case Study: Art Students Ask, Which Online Art Gallery is Best for Sales?

Danielle Burch

Danielle Burch

Danielle Burch is a graduate completing her MFA degree at The School of Art, College of Imaging Arts & Sciences, Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, New York, USA. This current semester, Danielle is one of 9 graduate students in artist Alan Singer’s Business Practices For Fine Artists class.

Alan Singer recently asked–

“Hello Marie,

In your marketing materials research do you rate the effectiveness of some of the many sites that are proliferating like Fine Art America, and Art Pickle?  My students ask me all the time which ones are the best, and I look around and each time there are a dozen new ones.

In the past I have paid membership fees for some of these sites, but I don’t think any of them have resulted in sales.  Maybe name recognition but little business.

What do you find out when you look at them… Any advice?”

In response, to Which online galleries are best?, I replied that it would vary artist to artist, and I offered to do a case study to analyze some of the factors an artist might consider when deciding which online galleries to try. Alan’s student Danielle Burch volunteered to be the subject and I reviewed her artwork, bio/CV and website here. Also I’m assuming that the main goal of all the student artists in Alan Singer’s class is to get sales– although it’s nearly impossible to divorce the necessary visibility of art from sales of art.

Danilee Birsch

Danielle Burch


Danielle also identified a site, Art Pickle, as popular with students, writing that “Art Pickle is a website that allows artists to promote their art and open studio events along with links to galleries hosting or sponsoring their work.”

I agree, that where your artist friends are selling is an important factor to consider. When I viewed Danielle’s art, right away I thought of the site Deviant Art , which has long been a site for young artists actively engaged in cross-promotions with their friends and actively building a large following and achieving consistent sales. Being an active artist on the Deviant Art online gallery site is the key to success.

Danielle Burch

Danielle Burch


When I first viewed the images of the paintings Danielle Burch sent –above and below in this article–I thought they were Surrealism, perhaps with aspects of Pop Surrealism and Dystopian art, which are very specific genres or niche markets.

Although Danielle may not agree, and may be heading in a different direction with different interests, as stated in her Artists Statement,  she sees her work as a series dealing with “abstraction, realism and assemblage to convey aspects of hearing loss related to my life story,” and combining “abstraction and trompe l’oeil” in her paintings.

Since I see her work as primarily Surrealism, I’d suggest that for increased visibility she might get a free page featuring her work on the UK site Surrealism, and perhaps join a Surrealist group, such as the BeInArt Surreal Art Collective that publishes books of their art, and puts on curated group exhibitions while maintaining a strong online presence.

For sales, Danielle might add her portfolio to two large and diverse online galleries, one is Saatchi, which has featured a Saatchi Surrealism Collection. Saatchi is known for having an annual high volume of art sales in all price ranges and for putting on live exhibitions of online gallery artworks. In 2013, a BBC News article quoted Rebecca Wilson, Director of Saatchi Gallery as saying, ” We sell more art in a month that most brick-and-mortar galleries do in a year.” Saatchi has offices in New York City and Los Angeles, California and they put on live exhibits in both US cities.

The second large online gallery, Ugallery features the Surrealism genre here. Ugallery stated that, “almost 70% of artists have sold one painting through Ugallery, and one sale usually leads to more.”

Danielle Burch

Danielle Burch


While working toward her Master of Fine Arts degree at RIT, Danielle Burch has

served as a Graduate Teaching Assistant for Watercolors, Drawing II and Printmaking,

an Adjunct Professor and a Gallery Assistant at Gallery R. Throughout her first year,

Burch completed illustrations for a children’s book, and showed artwork in Rochester,

Oregon, Massachusetts, and North Carolina, where she held her first solo exhibition.

Danielle Burch

Danielle Burch

Artist Marketing Resources has been researching online galleries since early 2008 and shares an e-list 1,100+ Places to Sell Your Art on Selz with credit card or via PayPal option here and Artist Print Sales Sites and Resources here–both are also in our new Shopify Store here.

The *Pop Surrealism* Art Movement

According to Wikipedia—“Lowbrow, or lowbrow art, describes an underground visual art movement that arose in the Los Angeles, California, area in the late 1970s. Lowbrow is a widespread populist art movement with origins in the underground comix world, punk music, hot-rod street culture, and other subcultures. It is also often known by the name pop surrealism. Lowbrow art often has a sense of humor – sometimes the humor is gleeful, sometimes impish, and sometimes it is a sarcastic comment. Most lowbrow artworks are paintings, but there are also toys, digital art, and sculpture.”

LOW BROW AND POP SURREALISM in the Transmedia Artist Amazon Pro Store

There exists an entire niche of USA artists who are not directly associated with the roots of the LA pop surrealism movement yet still consider their art to be Pop Surrealism. Such niche artists are popping up all over the world. Here are a few examples of Pop Surrealist art available from artists on Amazon in the Transmedia Artist store:

Natalie Woodpecker, by Terry Luc

Limited edition Giclee print on paper from original painting by American artist Terry Luc: Natalie Woodpecker  in Transmedia Artist Amazon store

Big eyes are one of the recognizable features in human images created in the style of this art movement–here is an example from Italy:

Jane, by Aurora Massoldi

Jane is a Limited edition Giclee Print on Paper made from an original painting by Aurora of Italy. Prints are available in the Transmedia Amazon store:

This Russian artist’s digital art shows the prevalence of the Pop Surrealist art movement world-wide:

Kill Me in the Comments is a downloadable digital artwork by Grace Migel

A Digital Art Download  sent via email and on disc, Titled: Kill Me in the Comments by Grase Migel is available for purchase in the Transmedia Artist Amazon store:

New York: Photographic Artist Ventiko–Entering Her Version of Reality

Ventiko is the most extraordinary photographic artist I have even encountered! Her photos look like Renaissance oil paintings, and amazingly enough the elaborate sets for her photo shoots she constructs herself, often from mountains of newspapers, or hundreds of milk cartons. In this article about her processes, some of her lighting secrets are revealed as well. This full article was a published on the VASA blog:

New York: Photographic Artist Ventiko–Entering Her Version of Reality 

Ventiko’s photographic images remind one of paintings by master Renaissance artists like Michelangelo, Da Vinci and Raphael. Ventiko creates the sfumato and chiaroscuro-like painting effects in her photos by skillfully directing photo lights on her portrait subjects amid rich shadows.

Ventiko credits development of her photographic style with the influences of a Black and White photography course and an in-depth art history course, both completed during her first year at John Herron Art School, where she slept days and “obsessively worked on prints” each night in the computer lab or in the school darkroom.

The following year, Ventiko began working as an apprentice for her Maestro, photographer Tony Clevenger.  Ventiko describes her apprenticeship with Clevenger as “a lucky period in my life. Maestro taught me how to be an assistant, but more importantly he taught and encouraged me to become a photographer. Loading Polaroid backs,120 and 220 rolls, 4×5 sheet film, and running an E6 processor were daily occurrences. As was sweeping the floors. The greatest gift I was given was trust, because he taught me how to use the Dynalite strobe lighting system and a film Hasselblad camera and then gave me these tools to take home and experiment with.”

It was during this Dynalite strobe period that Ventiko began constructing sets for her portrait subjects to occupy, incorporating everyday found objects, clothing and drapery.

“After mastering the Dynas, Maestro taught me how to use Broncolors, and a year and a half ago I purchased some of my own. When I moved to New York, settling in the Bushwick section of Brooklyn, my images darkened–both visually and metaphorically.” 

One of Ventiko’s dark images, The Nightmare, which won an award on the art news site ArtSlant, can be viewed in a portfolio of her artwork on her website

“The Nightmare investigates relationships depicted in Christian art from the Gothic to Baroque epochs. It is not based specifically on any one work, dream or nightmare. I hope the image is beautiful so that the viewer is disarmed and open to the meaning of the work,” Ventiko stated.

Another of Ventiko’s images, Gyspy, depicts her muse, which Ventiko described meeting.  “My oldest friend Jaybird and I dressed up and went to see Armen Ra perform on his Theremin at the Gershwin Hotel. Fifteen minutes into the performance, from my peripheral, I saw light enter the back of the room and as the doors opened a figure in black ascended the stairs. One of the only seats open was on the second row from the front on the aisle next to me, where she took her seat–a tall brunette wearing a short black dress, black veil and black leather opera length gloves, oh my. So not to be rude, I didn’t acknowledge her presence. Fine, I was nervous. After Armen Ra finished his piece, he left the accompanying stereo playing and walked out of the room. After the silence became uncomfortably awkward, I turned to Gypsy and said “hmmm…is that it? It’s a bit unfinished don’t you think?” To which she replied “Well, no, that is what makes it wonderful, leaving an element of curiosity. (Perhaps I ought to tell you that Gypsy lives her days in the body of a man and at night she comes out to inspire me.) We continued the conversation in the lobby. Thank heavens Jaybird was there to give me the courage to ask Gypsy if she would allow me to photograph her. She said she would and we exchanged information.”

Their meeting led to an outing to Jamaica, Queens, were Ventiko and Gypsy found a sparkly red taffeta ball gown for their upcoming shoot. “The red ball gown was the first article of clothing that we purchased together. Seeing Gypsy try the dress on moved me deeply, as she was wearing her daily costume of a man.”  Ventiko began to question “what is right, what is wrong, who says so, and why something is accepted as truth. For the first time in my life I related on a personal level with someone’s struggle with identity and the shame and guilt brought on by others, and that coincided with my self-acceptance and self-expression.”

Ventiko kept the gown on displayed in her studio. One day, leaving the studio, walking outside in her trash filled neighborhood, “some discarded newspaper took to the air via a gust of wind. That was my Eureka moment. It was then that everything made sense. I wanted to both clean up the trash in the streets, and create something beautiful and representational of my life.” Thus began Ventiko’s late 2008, mid 2009 newspaper project and the creation of the first newspaper costumes.

“The newspaper project started small. I was collecting newspapers from the neighborhood bodegas’ trash piles (The New York Post or The Daily News) and keeping only the black and white pages. To maximize the amount of black and white pages, I started collecting The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal from the city’s

bodegas late at night and schlepping them back on the train.  These newspapers represent the values of the Machine and by manipulating each page of black and white print I visually exercise my Civil Disobedience against the accepted societal norms. After I had accumulated copious amounts of newspaper, it then took me three days–twisting and manipulating the” norm” into something that is desirable– to create the paper skirt for the photograph A Display.”

In Ventiko’s loft, the newspapers she had collected became an organic sculpture that she lived with, and in, for 9 months. “During that time the newspaper set continued to reshape itself into a variety of forms–it was a dragon tail that became a centipede that took over the hallway, until finally cremated in a 20 ft trench in Montauk.”

Another photo set Ventiko built in her studio, came about when “a friend of mine tipped me off that a woman emptying a storage unit in Long Island was giving away props and costumes for one day only.  I rented a car and dashed out there and was rewarded with 4 parachutes, army netting, bags and two red velvet deco style chairs.”

Ventiko then located some free sand (hauling not included) and built a set in her studio using  two of the parachutes suspended from the ceiling along with the army netting, and created a ten by ten foot sand pit. “The set became a fixture of my life for several shoots during a three week period. When it was time to strike the set, my two cats were quite disappointed, as they hadn’t needed to use their litter box in quite some time. Perhaps you might be interested in the story of the octopus I got down the street for the photograph Julia? Let’s just say the result was a great holiday card and very nasty infection…for me.”

Ventiko is currently creating new work in two very different series. “In the fall of 2010 my mother began chemotherapy and eventually had a mastectomy to treat her breast cancer.  This awakened in me many emotions that had been suppressed. The photographic works I am currently creating are a continuation of themes and motifs introduced in Tenebrism– birth, death, rebirth, loss, suffering, pain, remorse, shame, humility, guilt, fear etc.  Recently I created Le Mort inspired by Le Mort de Marat by Jacques Louis David.”

In her second series, Ventiko creates wearable costumes out of recycled milk cartons from a nearby elementary school. ”The costumes have been used for both performances and photo shoots. Currently I have two full body dresses/robes, halos, collars and panties made from milk cartons and am constantly creating more. I must create something with my hands or I feel unfulfilled and restless,” Ventiko explained. “Each day I must do something related to photography.  That can be shooting, editing, research, visiting museums, galleries and art fairs, processing information gathered, or creating sets.” When a portrait subject steps into Ventiko’s studio, they enter her version of reality. This reality is most often accompanied by the classical music of Erik Satie, costumes, wigs and assuming a character. “The set, people, props, costumes, make up, and posing are created, chosen, decided upon, applied and directed by me. In the final stage, I create a work of art by using my camera, as if I were a painter, to capture the composition I have created from the vision in my mind. The final image is a portrait of the essence of the individual free of constraint.”