A few months ago I came across an online art gallery at TheUntappedSource.com and was very impressed with just about everything they were doing.
Like many of the other print-on-demand companies I’ve covered in the past, the Untapped Source has chosen to focus entirely on art reproductions and printing services—meaning there’s no original artwork for sale on their site.
So what sets them apart? Read on and find out.
Pricing and features
The Untapped Source is free to join, with no monthly fees. However, you must first apply and be accepted, so there’s no guarantee that every artist will get in.
Some folks may dislike the exclusive aspect of The Untapped Source, but personally I’m a fan. I think more online galleries should go in this direction, just to improve the quality of the artwork that they show.
Once you’ve been accepted you can add a bio, upload artwork, read exclusive tutorials, and buy your own prints at a discount. All of this is done through The Untapped Source’s “Artist Access Center” which is available only for members.
Any revenue from sales of your prints (minus the base cost of printing) is split 50/50 between you and the gallery. Artists are paid quarterly by PayPal or check.
Design and layout
In my opinion, the design is really the stand-out feature of TheUntappedSource.com. It’s very simple—basically lots and lots of images on neutral white and gray background—but it’s amazing all the same.
Let me just mention a few little details that I absolutely love about the design:
First of all, when browsing their galleries, artwork is seamlessly added or subtracted from your screen as you resize your browser. Anyone with a large computer screen can see a lot more artwork than someone with a smaller screen, but no matter what size your screen is, the layout stays perfect. (And that’s not a simple trick!)
Another nice feature is the subtle “hover” effect that you get when you place your mouse over the thumbnail images.
Some places cram a lot more information into the same space—at The Untapped Source, they just show you the title of the work and the artist.
The individual artwork pages are extremely well-laid out too, with a charcoal gray background, subtle shading and other accents that make everything feel high-end without being distracting.
My one issue with the design of the site is that the homepage contains a list of categories you can search in. . . but once you click on a category, that list disappears. Yes, the rest of the site looks much cleaner without it, but for navigational purposes those categories would be very helpful to have around.
Finding and buying art
Finding art isn’t all that hard. . . if you don’t mind browsing. There’s no search bar on The Untapped Source so all navigation must be done by choosing a category or an artist.
The list of categories is rather extensive, and includes things such as “Natural World,” “Collage,” “Abstract” and more.
If you’d rather search by artist, you can browse them alphabetically, or drill down to look through just one of the three artist categories: “Photographers,” “Digital Artists” and “Traditional Artists.”
Digital art and photography make up the majority of the artwork on The Untapped Source, but there is a small selection of traditional artwork, from paintings, to mixed-media and illustration, etc.
And of course, if you find a piece you like, the shopping cart page are just as professional and easy-to-use as the rest of the site.
Despite not having a search function, The Untapped Source doesn’t disappoint when it comes to having a solid shopping experience.
Is it worth it?
Yes—if your art seems like it might fit, then by all means, apply. If you’re accepted, there’s really no downside. Your art will appear in a professional environment and you might even sell something.
Admittedly, TheUntappedSource.com doesn’t have a ton of traffic each month, but with less than 350 artists on the site, the ratio of visitors to artists probably isn’t that bad.
So if you’ve got a few minutes today, head on over to TheUntappedSource.com and check them out for yourself. I think you’ll like what you see.