Earlier this year we ran a campaign promoting gender equality. Now we've realised there's something else the art world never talks about. How are artists compensated? Is it possible to live from making art? Are artists paid fairly?
The latest research into artist income, conducted by a-n, the artist information company, shows that more than 72% of visual artists earn less than £10,000 / $13,000 per year from their art practice.
This is the reason for the launch of our Artist Income Project, the biggest ever open participation survey where independent artists all over the world can anonymously record their earnings.
The art market is changing
As all the major industry reports show, year on year the online art market continues to grow, whilst the market as a whole slows. According to the latest Hiscox report, in 2016 the online art market grew 15% percent to $3.75bn, making it an 8.4% share in the market as a whole. Comparatively, the art market as a whole grew just 1.7% in 2016 (Source: TEFAF).
But what does the online art market look like from the inside? A large proportion of it is dominated by the high end, by the so-called ‘bricks and clicks’ players finally embracing online.
However, that isn’t the whole picture. There is a new independent artist market emerging too, a market which gives independent artists a greater voice, and that voice will only be stronger if we speak together.
We’ve starting by taking the step of sharing our own sales, stock, artist and customer data to shine a light on the new ecosystem we’ve seen evolving over the last four years. It also included a survey of our 10,000 artists, with a sample size of 1,311 respondents. This is our first independent art marketplace report.
“Artfinder has been a revelation. Before joining I had sold a couple of prints on Etsy, but sales were generally dismally slow. I discovered Artfinder through other printmakers I was following on Twitter, who seemed to be making good sales through their Artfinder shops. Over a weekend I set up my profile and shop and then got my first sale a few days later. I was overjoyed but convinced it was probably a fluke. I would never have guessed that six months later I would be celebrating my 50th sale.”
“As an artist most of the time you just want to be in your studio making stuff. When you are ready to show the world what you’ve been up to, of course you want to feel like people are paying attention! Getting sales feels wonderful because it means I’ve managed not only to get the attention of somebody who appreciates what I’m doing, but it also gives me valuable feedback. This person has ‘voted’ for a piece of work I’ve made, telling me they connect with it, and in that sense the circle is complete.”
Hannah Forward, Brighton-based printmaker
Header image: Artfinder artist Kev Munday creates a 'Power to the artist' mural at Make Space artists studios in Waterloo