Last month I noticed a brand new Arts and Crafts category on Craigslist, and at first I thought it might be a good opportunity for artists to sell their art.
Actually, about a year ago I wrote to Craigslist and requested this category. At the time, they said there simply wasn’t a need for it.
Now that I’ve seen it in use (and tried it out) I’m beginning to agree with them. Here are some reasons why it’s NOT a great place to sell your artwork.
1. Craigslisters are only looking for good deals.
People on Craigslist are there to avoid paying the premium amount for anything, and that definitely includes art.
You might be able to trade a painting for what it’s worth in, say, racquetball equipment, but that’s probably the closest you’ll get to making a good deal.
Expect to barter, haggle, and finagle your way to a sale.
2. Your artwork expires after 7-45 days.
Depending on where you live, your post will vanish after a certain amount of time. So only do you have to repost unsold artwork, but your listing will be pushed farther down each day as more people post their own “for sale” item.
I admit that it’s one of the fairer ways of posting classifieds online (everyone gets equal opportunity at the top) but it means that you really only have a couple of days where people can see your artwork without digging five pages in.
3. Craigslist allows any kind of “art” to be posted
I think this one hurts artists the most.
Even in its Arts & Crafts section, Craigslist is flooded with things that aren’t art, along with hundreds of art that’s simply not great. You’ll also find things like old movie posters, clocks, and random housewares. Some folks even post art materials in this category, too.
It’s too bad, really. Building a consistent base of local buyers is one of the best ways to make a living as an artist, and Craigslist really has the potential to help with that. But since it’s such a mixed-bag of results, I can’t imagine that many serious art buyers are looking at Craigslist for quality art.
To me, there just seems to be several better ways to sell art online. Browse around and read some of my other articles about selling your art on the internet and you’ll see what I mean.
However, if you’ve successfully used Craigslist to sell your art in the past, please let me know. I’d love to hear your methods, your medium, and how it all worked out.
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