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Selling Work On Saatchi Art

Amsterdam based artist Daniel Mullen has sold over 30 paintings on Saatchi Art in under two years. We discussed his experience of selling work on Saatchi Art and practical tips for selling your own…

Daniel Mullen - Selling Work On Saatchi Art

How did you end up choosing Saatchi Art to sell your artwork?

In 2009 whilst studying at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam I went on a trip to London where one of the must see venues was the Saatchi Gallery in London.

I was blown away by Richard Wilson’s “20:50” installation in the basement. On returning to Amsterdam and having forgotten the name of the artist I checked out the Saatchi Gallery website.

Whilst browsing I came across Saatchi Online (Saatchi Art’s former incarnation) – it was split into two areas: one for art students, the other for practicing artists. At that time it wasn’t a platform to sell work but to get your work seen by a larger audience. I dutifully started building a profile and it was very easy to use. Through the years whenever I remembered about it I would upload some work and check out what other artists were up to.

Daniel Mullen - Resurrecting the Monumental

Daniel Mullen – Resurrecting the Monumental

2013. 200 x 200 x 4.6 cm. Oil painting on canvas.

It was only in 2013 that I took the leap to make my paintings available for sale on the platform. Since registering back in 2009 the website had gone through many changes. It was almost impossible to get exposure of your work on the website if none of it was for sale. This was due to how the internal search engine works, and of course the curators at Saatchi Art weren’t going to promote work that wasn’t available for sale.

So I started putting works up for sale – never expecting to sell but just because I wanted my work to show up in search results on the website. Honestly I thought the entire website might sell a few works a month if even that. I couldn’t imagine that people would buy art without ever seeing it in real life. Ohh how wrong I was…

Saatchi Art started promoting my work in 2013 and in the summer of 2014 I sold my first work on the platform. From that point on I started taking it more seriously and began doing some research into how Saatchi Art works and more broadly on how the online art market works.

Daniel Mullen - Subliminal

Daniel Mullen – Subliminal

2014. 100 x 85 x 4.5 cm. Oil painting on canvas.

I came across the Hiscox Report on how the art market is constructed, who has the biggest share and which part of the market is best suited for my work and price range. Here’s the PDF file of the 2014 report (page 8 is of particular interest) the 2015 Report appears less in-depth.

Saatchi Art seemed the best option for selling my work. By 2019 the estimated value of the online art market is a massive $6.3bn it just a matter of finding your part of that market, and getting your share :-)

Are you happy with Saatchi Art’s commission split with 70% paid to the artist?

I have found the service that Saatchi art provides in helping the artist through the process of preparing the work for shipping answering queries, and troubleshooting problems is great. They definitely earn the 30% commission. (Editor’s note, August 2020: Saatchi Art now take a 35% commission).

Daniel Mullen - Retro-Active

Daniel Mullen – Retro-Active

2015. 175 x 190 x 4.6 cm (69″ x 75″). Acrylic on canvas.

What’s the chain of events when someone buys your work on Saatchi Art?

Once a painting has been sold the artist gets an e-mail notifying them of the sale, they have to reply to the mail confirming a pickup date, and then the process of packing the work can begin, then along comes another e-mail with the shipping documents which you print out and give to the courier on the agree pick up date, and that’s it, your done.

What’s your process for photographing your paintings?

As buyers haven’t seen the work in real life it’s very important to photograph the work as best you can, with good lighting and preferably on a white background. This will help with adjusting the white balance in Photoshop and getting the best results which are as close as possible to the original work.

Daniel Mullen - Selling Work On Saatchi Art - Inter Expansion

Daniel Mullen – Inter Expansion

2015. 110 x 140 x 4.6 cm (43″ x 55″). Acrylic on canvas.

Have you considered using Saatchi Art’s printing service to sell open edition prints of your work?

There is an option to sell prints of the original works on Saatchi. Personally I have never made use of this option, I guess just selling the original online is as far as I am willing to go, commercially speaking.

Is there anything you think Saatchi Art could improve to make the selling experience easier/better?

What I find rather frustrating on Saatchi is that it’s not possible to rearrange you artworks within your artwork page, I always work on a series basis, but each series is also ongoing so every so often I add a new work to a series and to my art page but scrolling through my page can almost be a schizophrenic experience. I would really love to be able to organise it all so that as a shopping experience it would flow better and be more cohesive.

Daniel Mullen - Obelisk in Space

Daniel Mullen – Obelisk in Space

2015. 30 x 40 cm (11.8 x 15.7 in). Acrylic on canvas.

What tips would you give any artists looking to sell work on Saatchi Art?

Ive recommended Saatchi art to many of my colleagues, and also advised them on how to give yourself the biggest chance of getting noticed. What I have told them is this:

1. Complete as fully as possible the cv area, a short biography, and most importantly, a cut down version of your artist statement. Maybe five sentences that encapsulate your theme, interest, and vision.

2. Look through your portfolio and select only the strongest works.

3. Upload your work in chronological order starting with your oldest works

4. For maximum exposure upload no more than two works per week. As hard as it might be to believe, Saatchi art curators really do look at everything that gets uploaded. So if you upload twice a week they’ll see you work frequently over the space of a few months giving yourself the best chance to be featured in the New This Week Collection a featured collection that’s a great way for collectors to get familiar with your work.

Daniel Mullen Artist - Active Expansion

Daniel Mullen – Active Expansion

2015. 120 x 100 x 4.5 cm (47″ x 39″). Acrylic on canvas.

What’s you overall verdict of using Saatchi Art to sell your work?

Overall I’m very satisfied with the Saatchi art experience. Before I started selling on Saatchi I wasn’t dissatisfied with it, I just didn’t take it seriously, although I did follow the steps above. There are more than 40,000 artists on the platform so it is hard to get noticed, don’t have expectations about it, just upload you work and do it regularly and who knows…

Thanks again to Daniel for his insights on selling work on Saatchi Art.

View more of Daniel’s paintings on our Daniel Mullen feature or our 2015 interview where Daniel discusses his work and practice.

Follow Daniel’s work on his website, Instagram and Twitter.