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How I Started An Online Art Gallery (And You Can Too)

How I Started An Online Art Gallery (And You Can Too)

Everyone can run an art gallery and yes - you can do it too. 

Everyone can sell art online. 

The three things you require for this are passion, knowledge and consistency.

I am living proof of this and here is my story.

If you are reading this blog post, you’ve already got passion. I will share some knowledge and you will have to work on consistency 😁.

How to turn talent into career

The Idea Of An Art Gallery

I started with no connections in the blue chip art world, I did not and do not have any education in art either.

It all began in 2017 when I moved to Switzerland after marrying a handsome and talented man (I hope he reads this 😀)  who lives and works in Switzerland.

Moving to a foreign country without knowing any of it’s 4 official languages was a great challenge itself, but I decided to take it easy - my plan was to ski, learn German and just go with the flow.

A few months passed and I got bored of sports and reading, so started thinking about what is it I want and should do. I did not have illusions about finding a job without knowing the language - the competition for english speaking jobs at large global companies was just too high.

Just as you, I was passionate about art. I come from a family of artists so for me art is something I need to consume on a daily basis.

I started exploring the local art scene - visited amazing museums of contemporary art and saw so many galleries offering expensive contemporary artworks in tiny Zurich city, with a population of just over a half million.

This is it. This is what I need to do. There are so many opportunities for selling art here! The country is rich and people love art here. What can be better?

So I went through my artist contacts and started building inventory lists. I could only dream about the brick and mortar gallery, because real estate prices are sooooo high in Switzerland. Instead, I decided to work purely online and build an audience by organising pop-up exhibitions.

I decided to offer affordable large format limited edition prints on canvas. Large original paintings are very expensive, but prints could be stylish yet affordable option for home or office spaces.

I started this journey in 2017 by building a website with Wix and organising 4 exhibitions.

Did It Work?


I’ve spent two years building inventory, network, website, audience and organising pop-up shows. I invested my savings in all of these things as well as marketing campaigns, but made only a few sales and huge losses.

What I Did And Did Not Do

I learned German and found a job in education, but I did not quit my art business. 

Stable income saved me from stress and gave me freedom to experiment with various strategies which started bringing results.

I migrated my online gallery from Wix to Shopify and I am not organising pop-up exhibitions anymore.

Why? Because I learned from experience.

This Is What I've Learned

1. Originals vs Prints

Although I sold almost all of my prints, people who want to buy art would always prefer an original. All my prints were sold through a personal network and the majority of online buyers wanted unique art. However, there is a market for prints and I am discussing this in my eBook, but if you want to sell a lot of editions they have to be smaller in size and very affordable.

2. Building Trust Takes Time

Exhibitions are great for building a buzz, but they don’t sell, especially if your art costs about a thousand or more. People don’t buy art spontaneously, they need to get to know you and you need to build your name/brand. That is why I decided not to focus on organizing costly shows, but focus on online marketing instead.

3. People buy everything online

And yes, they do buy art online without even seeing it in person. You have to give them this opportunity with as little obstacles as possible, make it a few clicks before they change their mind.

I transformed my gallery by focusing on original artworks, migrating to Shopify platform and concentrating on online marketing instead of time consuming and costly pop-ups.

However, I do not regret the time I have spent on trying different things  - this was a fun experience which gave me valuable insights, I learned a lot and became a smarter Artpreneur.

Art Is A Necessity

Results And What’s Next

My online art gallery is counting the seventh year already and is generating consistent sales. I am still on the a learning journey and I love implementing new ideas in my art business. The best thing about it - it is all mine, and I can do whatever I want :)  

I still work in education which I am very passionate about. I believe that education and art make our world a better place and being a part of this process makes my daily business really fulfilling and meaningful.

Recently I had an idea to combine my two passions, education + art, and start educating artists about building a career and earning from their art.

This is how my eBook “Can Art Sell?” was born as well as my Youtube Channel where I share my experience and knowledge.

Are You Ready?

The Internet makes so much knowledge and tools available to us and we can learn a lot about turning our passion into income. Musicians already discovered they can make a living without large record companies, but visual artists are struggling to make this step. 

It is time to break the ice and make art available to the masses - art is not a privilege. It is a necessity!

If you are interested in finding out what else I have learned by running my online art gallery, you are welcome to:

This way you will stat up to date and will be alerted about new insights that I share.

If you are interested in trying Shopify as a potential platform for selling art online, you can do so for only $1 / month by clicking this link.

I hope this is helpful and we will be in touch!

Can art sell? an ebook for artists about selling art online.