This post is an update to the first post on this blog Trying Something New. That post outlined a plan designed to raise the profile of my art and to make my art as useful as possible to others. I wanted to build something that was a win/win for everyone. I would recommend reading the first post then using the link at the bottom to return to this one. It will make a whole lot more sense that way!
The title of this post is a huge understatement to say the least. Allowing high resolution photographs of my paintings via third party websites was the best thing I could have done. My images are currently being downloaded approximately four thousand times a day. As far as I can work out, around two thirds of those downloads are photographs of my paintings and one third are other photographs that I’ve shot. This level of exposure fulfills two of my aims straight off the bat. Firstly, it is getting my work in front of more people than I could have ever wished for, and secondly, I am providing the resource that I wanted to provide in return for all the free stuff that I have made use of over the years.
On the financial side of things I am certainly not getting rich off of this project but things are going pretty well. It is only around five months in and I am already more than covering the cost of my materials (and I use a lot of materials). The income comes in three forms, donations, sale of original works, and direct approaches from others who want exclusive work for print runs etc. The donations and sales are nice but it is the third stream, the commissioned work that is shaping up to be the main source of revenue.
A potential problem with my plan is that it is dependent upon my continued good fortune on the only two websites, Pexels and Unsplash, where my images can be downloaded from. A change of policy, increase in competition, or any number of other things could affect me all to easily. Setting up my own infrastructure to do this just wouldn’t work as it would be impossible to get the number of visitors required. I am currently looking into ways of increasing the number of baskets to put my eggs into, so to speak. It is worth noting though, that even if Pexels and Unsplash went belly up tomorrow, close to half a million of my images would be on people’s and corporation’s hard drives. websites and walls. Unlike social media with its half life measured in hours if not minutes, there will be a large residual benefit. Of course, I am not expecting these websites to suddenly cease to exist or to change things so drastically that I cannot use them anymore. If anything the opposite is the case as they have both proven to be excellent operations and appear to have genuine respect for the people who provide their content.
I’m pretty happy with the way things are going to put it mildly and hope that things are still going as well in five month’s time. Either way, I’ll report back here in due course. Thanks for reading and if you want high res versions of any of my paintings (there are dozens more than appear on this website) go to either of the websites mentioned above.