Welcome to the 18th webinar featuring Karen, a talented artist who has carved her path to success within Etsy and online shopping. In this webinar, Karen shares her journey as an artist, shedding light on her experiences, strategies, and the art of flourishing in the digital marketplace. With over 25 years of experience, Karen’s insights are invaluable for emerging artists and creative entrepreneurs seeking to thrive in the online art world.
If you like reading more than watching, we’ve got you. Read on for the written version of this webinar. You can also jump to any topic you want from the list below.
“I’ve pretty much always been an artist,” Karen says with a sense of innate creativity, a trait common to many artists. However, her journey as a fine artist began after she diligently honed her craft by taking classes and learning from other artists. It was approximately 25 years ago when Karen decided to delve headfirst into the world of fine art. This turning point was marked by her active participation in workshops and her enrolment at the Corcoran School of Fine Art in Washington, D.C. Karen recalls how her artistic journey truly took off from that point onwards.
Her educational pursuits took her to UC Davis, where she eagerly enrolled in every art class available, building the foundation of her artistic skills. She elaborates on her later years when she was fortunate to study at the Corcoran School of Fine Art, an institution renowned for nurturing artists.
The Role of Artistic Community
One standout feature of Karen’s journey is her emphasis on the significance of the artistic community. She acknowledges that her creative development was significantly shaped by the artists she met along the way, often in the form of fellow students and workshop participants.
Karen reminisces about a pivotal moment in her journey when she stumbled upon a palette knife painting. This technique, initially untaught, captivated her attention when she observed a fellow student expertly wielding the palette knife. This encounter transformed her artistic trajectory and marked the power of learning from peers.
Education Beyond the Classroom
In addition to formal education, Karen underlines the importance of continuous learning. She actively sought opportunities to enhance her skills by attending workshops and collaborating with other artists. Her message to emerging artists is that real growth occurs through hands-on experience, daily painting, and interaction with other artists. The art community, she emphasizes, extends beyond the classroom and offers rich opportunities for learning and growth.
Transition to the Online Marketplace
Karen’s journey as an artist took a significant turn with the advent of the internet. She fondly recalls the early days of eBay when online art sales were a novel concept. As a prolific daily painter, Karen seized the opportunity to auction her paintings on eBay. This was the inception of her digital presence in the art world.
In time, Karen and a handful of other artists began auctioning their artwork daily on eBay. However, the landscape evolved, and the platform became inundated with various items and copied art. As eBay lost its luster, Karen and her peers noticed a migration to Etsy, a platform emerging as a hub for creative and handmade products. This transition marked a critical juncture in her career.
Etsy: The Home for Artisans
Etsy provided a fresh canvas for Karen to display her art. She reflects on Etsy’s early days, when the community was relatively small, comprising only a few hundred artists. The manageable scale allowed her work to stand out, especially when she listed her art regularly, aligning with the platform’s algorithms for greater visibility.
What Makes Etsy Unique
Etsy’s appeal as a platform for artists lies in its balance of accessibility and quality. Karen notes that while Etsy enjoys extensive brand recognition and advertises on television, it also presents challenges due to its large and varied product range. This means that artists need to be discerning when selling on Etsy, emphasizing the importance of excellent product descriptions and customer reviews.
Diversifying the Artistic Journey
While Karen’s art journey began with the sale of original paintings, she quickly realized the potential of offering reproductions. In the early days, she started by creating paper prints. However, she broadened her horizons when approached by us, Lumaprints, which she acknowledges as an essential contributor to her success. Canvas prints and other formats have now become a significant portion of her business, offering her the flexibility to focus on creativity and slow down in her artistic production.
Balancing Creativity and Business
Karen’s artistic journey reflects her adaptability and willingness to evolve. Her experience reveals how selling art online encompasses a balance between original works and reproductions. Reproductions, particularly in the form of prints, not only provide a steady stream of sales but also act as an entry point for art enthusiasts who appreciate her work but may not be ready to invest in originals.
The Artistic Community and Networking
Karen emphasizes the importance of joining art groups, networking with fellow artists, and engaging with local art communities. These connections have been instrumental in securing venues to showcase her art, such as art markets and coffee shops. She encourages emerging artists to actively participate in local art communities and collaborate with fellow creatives, as it can lead to a strong support system and various opportunities.
Seasonal Strategies for Success
As autumn approaches, the holiday season begins, bringing with it an influx of potential buyers looking for sentimental and meaningful gifts. Karen shares her insights into this seasonal trend, emphasizing the importance of planning and preparation. While she may sell Christmas-themed art early, she also highlights the significance of winter scenes and paintings as they cater to a broader audience. By creating seasonally relevant art, artists can meet the increasing demand during the holiday season.
Managing the Holiday Rush
Karen acknowledges that the holiday season, particularly November and December, plays a crucial role in an artist’s annual income. To manage the holiday rush, she advises artists to start stockpiling early, ensuring they have a substantial inventory of their seasonal artwork. Winter landscapes, holiday paintings, and other relevant pieces often experience heightened demand during this time. By having a surplus of seasonal artwork, artists can maximize their earnings during the holidays.
Maintaining Work-Life Balance
One challenge that many artists face is maintaining a work-life balance. Karen suggests that, as an artist, it is essential to find the right balance between creativity and the practicalities of managing an art business. She highlights the importance of being organized, keeping lists of ideas, taking photographs of inspiration, and scheduling time for artistic expression. Karen emphasizes that creating art is a personal journey, and artists should find their unique rhythm to manage their creative process.
Karen’s art journey is a testament to her dedication, adaptability, and love for her craft. Her transition to the digital marketplace, specifically Etsy, showcases the evolving landscape of online art sales. She encourages emerging artists to immerse themselves in local art communities, create art that resonates with seasonal trends, and embrace the potential of offering reproductions alongside original works.
Her enduring success as an artist and entrepreneur is a testament to her ability to balance creativity and business acumen, adapt to changing market dynamics, and maintain a deep connection with her audience.
If you’re interested in learning more about Karen Tarlton’s art and connecting with her, you can find her in the following places:
Watch this webinar through this link: https://youtu.be/DC5jYQaWDMA?si=cj2yqYnnRWca8xux.
All previous and upcoming webinar videos are available on our YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/@lumaprints