It is quite simple — just one click and you are looking at contemporary art, displayed at an online gallery Art Goda.
Unlike other online art spaces, this one is not offering hundreds thousands of artworks. On the contrary — it is an art boutique.
Every collection is carefully curated and each artwork is selected by the owner. But does it work? Let’s find out by asking some questions.
Goda Smilingyte, founder of online boutique gallery ArtGoda.com.
Why did you decide to run an art gallery as an online boutique?
As someone who grew up in the artist’s family, I was always interested in art world and have observed how it functions and develops.
When art sales started moving online, I understood that it is a breakthrough and wanted to jump into this moving train.
However, although buying art online is becoming more common, it is still very difficult to choose an artwork if you are looking for an affordable one.
If someone wants to buy a painting created by a particular famous artist, let's say Jackson Pollock, it would not be difficult to identify what is available for sale online, because the collector is looking for a certain name.
However, if someone is just starting to collect art or is looking for quality art to decorate a home — one might be really overwhelmed with the amount of artworks available for sale online.
Just head to the art selling giants, Artsy or Saatchi, and try to find an abstract painting. You will be flooded with 40 thousand artworks at least.
And yes, there are filters, you can narrow down your search by size, price, style or colour, but narrowing down to a few thousands does not really help, does it?
The thing is — internet algorithms work with quantity, but collectors are looking for quality. That is why I decided to be different.
The initial idea was to promote the artists I know — my father, his friends and other talented people with whom I have a personal connection.
During a four year journey I have met new artists and keep getting a few e-mails every day from people who would like to sell their art on my gallery, but I learned with time, that it is not possible to be nice to everyone and that you must really focus if you want to achieve results. I would not be able to do it if I represented a lot of artists.
"City Lights", abstract painting by Gina Vor.
How did you built your audience?
I am based in Switzerland, so I started with a website in two languages and organised pop-up exhibitions.
I was dreaming about my own space for exhibitions, but with the rent costs, the figures on the business plan just did not make sense.
So I decided to run a mixed model — an online art gallery that organises pop- exhibitions as well.
It did not work.
First of all, I realised quickly that people, who are coming to exhibitions, are more interested in having good time and taking pictures than buying art.
Don’t get me wrong — it is still a great publicity for the gallery and artists, if publicity is the goal, but not a great choice if you want to make profit.
Even pop-up exhibitions require a lot of work and cost money, but when all returns come from online sales, what is the point of dedicating the resources?
That’s how I came to a decision to focus online only and, when Covid19 pandemic stroke, I realised was a very good and timely decision.
I might organise art events in the future, but not so often as I used to.
How did your art gallery won collector’s hearts?
Through art! People buy art, because they love it. I don’t think the gallery name matters that much nowadays, especially in the affordable art sector.
All people who have bought from me, did it because they loved a certain artwork. They did not know me or an artist personally, my gallery is not famous (yet), so their decision was based purely on the images they saw.
Yes, online marketing is important, but I am not chasing a huge following on social media and am not spamming collectors.
The best contact database is the one that consists of people who have bought from you already and mine is constantly growing.
People know what they want, are looking for art they want and when they find it — they buy it.
There is no point to try and convince them, but it is important to be visible and discoverable.
I do sell through my personal network, but most art sales are generated online.
What are the biggest challenges in selling art online?
It is the competition, of course. I am a very small player, comparing to the large, long established giants, who have whole teams working for them.
There are not so many competitors, but they are big. I am not just competing with other art platforms, I am competing with galleries and artists, who are also selling art online.
How do you overcome those challenges?
I must stay creative and focus on being discoverable - I think it is more important than being visible, because art lovers like to discover things.
It may sound strange, but my competitive advantage is that I don’t have tens of thousands of artworks on offer, so it is easier for art collectors to make a decision.
Besides, I would gladly own every artwork you see at my online gallery. In fact, I do own an artwork from every artist I represent.
My art gallery does not offer hundreds of new artworks every week. I wait until quality art is created and inform art lovers once a moth about new arrivals.
So if you are interested in contemporary art, I would recommend subscribing to Art Goda newsletter and you will be informed when beautiful new art arrives.
All buyers who contact me receive equal attention and service, it does not matter if you are buying a sculpture over 10 thousand euro or a small painting on paper for 100 euro.
I don’t care how people look, what they wear or what they own. I respect everyone who has a passion for art.
Besides focusing on quality contemporary art, I try to offer something for everyone, because I believe that people need more confidence in buying art.
There are too many myths about art galleries and a lot of potential art buyers don’t collect just because they think they are not educated or not rich enough.
Everyone can collect art and it is a very exiting and pleasant experience.
That is why my art gallery has something for everyone: original abstract paintings, more affordable limited edition prints, original yet affordable artworks on paper, bronze sculptures and even digital downloadable paintings.
There is something for a beginner and an experience collector, as well as for those who are decorating a home.
All artworks are selected subjectively, the collection is based on my own taste and I am very happy that so many people trust it.
What were the most remarkable sales at your art gallery?
In terms of value — my most expensive artwork sold online so far is over 10 thousand euro, but I must say, I am always super exited when I have to send art to a new destination.
My art buyers usually come from Europe" France, Germany, Belgium, Portugal, Italy, Netherlands, also USA, but geography is expanding.
I was over the moon when I shipped the first artwork to Hong Kong and the other one to Taiwan. This is the reason I love internet. It is so easy to make connections with art loving people all over the world.
What is the next big step your art gallery is going to take?
My goals are not just profit based. I would like to demystify the art world, because the myths surrounding it really harms the artists and makes it difficult to make a living from art.
I come from the artists family, so art is like air, food and water for me, but so many people have doubts and just don’t have confidence to buy art, regardless of a price.
Even though they have a budget, they would rather buy an unlimited edition print at a DIY store than a vibrant original painting from the artist who lives nearby.
Because of the media hype, people don’t trust their taste, although they are consuming different forms of art every day — listening to the music and watching films, but when it comes to buying a painting, we become paralysed.
That is why I started a YouTube channel where I share advice on buying and selling art.
Everything I do is dedicated to demystifying this process. People should be confident enough to enter any art gallery, ask any questions that pop into their heads and say what they really think about particular work of art.