Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Absolute Arts

A Curve to the Left, 2006, Oil on Panel, 12x16

When I started to paint again, I knew that I should get a website. I bought my domain name, tracyhelgeson.com but had no idea about how to go about setting up a website. So I let that sit for awhile. Instead I decided to put my work up at Absolute Arts just so I would have a place on the web to send people to who were interested in seeing what my work looked like. It was easy to navigate, and I felt that most of the work there was of pretty good quality unlike some of the other art sites I had checked out.

I applied for a premiere portfolio, got it (though I suspect that anyone who can pay the fee can get one) and figured out how to upload images. It was really easy to manage even for a computer idiot like me and I was excited to see in my stats that my page got hundreds of hits each day. I could also tell which images were most (and least) viewed and a number of people, including my mother of course, and my aunt and uncle, and a few friends left notes in my message book.

With so many hits, I thought that surely I would sell some work, this was before I had some gallery exposure and so of course I was hoping to sell a few things, but that aspect was very disappointing. I received a lovely note from a woman in Nigeria who wanted six paintings, a dozen Panasonic cordless telephones, didn't care about the cost of shipping and wanted to pay with a cashier's check. Hmmm. Altogether, in two years I received three offers for paintings, all of them were substantially lower than the asking price (which really weren't that high to start with). I accepted two because they were for older pieces, but the last one was just too low and the buyer didn't accept my counter offer. I think there are many artists who sell a lot of work through Absolute Arts, but clearly I am not one of them. This experience helped show me that my work really should be seen in real life and that sales of my work would not be easy via the internet.

The positive things that happened as a result of my page on Absolute Arts was that two of my current galleries found me there. I don't know how, because there is a lot of art to wade through, but Glenn from Salt Meadow Gallery saw my work there and Thomas Deans in Atlanta found me there too. And it really was a great way to easily put up new work, so overall I am glad I did it. I should also add that the people who handle the sales were exceedingly nice and very professional. A big plus in my book.

However, things change and now that my membership is up for renewal, I have decided not to continue. It has gotten too difficult to keep track of what is there and frankly, between my .com site (which badly needs updating) and this blog I can't and don't want to keep up with it anymore. It seemed as if buyers always wanted a big discount and as my prices have gone up it seems more unlikely that I will ever sell anything there. And selling the work myself, even through AA, conflicts with the efforts of the galleries that now represent me.

For some reason the page is still up. They don't seem to be taking my silence to their renewal notices seriously, however I suppose it will close up soon. A good learning experience, one that I don't regret certainly, but one I am glad is over!


James Wolanin said...

Tracy, about a year ago, I had someone from Nigeria contact me about purchasing some paintings. It took me a few emails before I realized it was a scam. When the person asked that I get them two cell phones, I started to realize that this was not legit. I later did some research and found out that the Nigerian art scams are well documented. It's good to get this information out there to other artists. Be careful!

Johnnie Scoutten said...

Helpful information.

PS your paintings are luminous.

Tracy said...

Jim, yeah, you know I knew the very minute I read her email that it was a scam. It just all sounded so phony and so unlike the way that most people approach buying art. You have to be suspicious of anything from Nigeria, unfortunately.

There are a lot of websites that discuss these scams in detail. I'll post some links if anyone is interested.

My dear, sweet and totally gullible husband however, was checking out phone prices before I could convince him that it was a scam. Gotta keep an eye on him too!

Thanks, Johnnie. I love luminous!