Selling art on Instagram: a new way of trading art?

Instagram, like the most common social networks, allows its users to get in touch and interact with each other through likes and comments to the pictures posted by the community.
Thanks to the recently-implemented features of the app, selling art on Instagram is today possible, generating an internal market and making Instagram an all-round e-commerce platform.

Art at the time of the social

A considerable number of artists, who post on Instagram the pictures of their own artworks, have begun to maintain buying-selling relations with their followers, creating a real art market, which actually works like an art gallery.
This is the case of artists like Julia Powell and Dan Lam – whose profiles have respectively 75.700 and 199.000 followers – who made of selling art on Instagram their job.
Julia Powell dedicates to the social network about 15 minutes per day, publishing from one to three posts in which she shows her paintings to the community. The artist manages 90% of the requests to purchase her paintings through the app’s Direct Messages, whereas the remaining requests come from the three other galleries to which the artist weekly sells some of her paintings.

Instagram at the service of the artistic taste

This new trading method does not need the intermediation of art galleries, which, exposing the artists’ works in the traditional art world, usually earn about 50% of the total cost of the artwork. The sale of art on Instagram removes this step or translates it into the online purchase of the artwork by galleries and collectors, like Anita Zabludowicz, a famous instagrammer who claimed that she bought some artworks of her collection after having seen them on the social network.
Thanks to this new type of art market, the aficionados can acquire all types of artworks, starting with Ashley Longshore’s paintings, typically pop art, to end up with Dan Lam’s deeply contemporary and creative sculptures.

Beyoncé and Miley Cyrus: pioneers of the Instagram art trade

The sale of art on Instagram is made widely easier by celebrities, who make no secret of their interest on their favorite artworks. The artist Ashley Longshore’s artworks, for example, have spread also thanks to the collaboration with the actress Blake Lively for the creation of a naturalistic pillow collection, decorated with butterflies and flowers. The modernist and creative nature of Dan Lam’s artworks impressed the singer Miley Cyrus, who, after seeing the artist’s works on her Instagram account, commissioned her the creation of sculpture for her own private collection.
One of the most famous couples in the world, Beyoncé and Jay-Z, also contributes to the diffusion of this new type of online art market, posting on their Instagram account the artworks they intend to buy.


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A post shared by Beyoncé (@beyonce) on

Are social networks the art galleries of the future?

There is no doubt that Instagram facilitated the circulation of artworks belonging to independent artists who want to transmit their artistic vision and to share it directly with the art aficionados from all over the world. However, the sale of art on Instagram also implies the development of managerial abilities, without which it would be hard to get noticed in the artistic world on the web. By now, it would be questionable whether this new way to produce art can impose, by replacing the traditional one, creating new figures of artists-entrepreneurs, who, through the selling of their artworks, maintain relations with other art aficionados, without the galleries’ filters and barriers.


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Does she love it or hate it? Painting for sale, dog not. #artcritic #art #goldenretriever #painting

A post shared by Julia S. Powell Art (@juliaspowellart) on

But will a social network in which artworks are shrinked to a few inches be able to take the place of the centenary art market, or will the hardcore art aficionados be faithful to tradition? We will see.