by Fiona Kogan
With more social media platforms than ever, teenage artists have opportunities to share their work with the world, and even earn money! While social media can be a great form of marketing, the primary way artists typically make a profit online is through websites designed expressly for the purpose of selling their art. Redbubble and Etsy, two of the bestselling websites for individual artists, allow artists to upload and sell their work. Sarah Peterson, an Etsy seller and writer for Unsettle found that “there were around 2.1 million active sellers on Etsy in 2019. For each business niche, there are hundreds of sellers competing with one another for each product.”(Unsettle, 2021)
While Etsy might not make a viable full-time job, it would work perfectly as a hobby or “side-hustle” for teens excited to put their art into the world. Michael Essek, a Redbubble artist himself, shared “Redbubble has a base price for each product – which is what it costs them to produce and print the product. Then there is your artist margin (what you make as a royalty per sale) – which is set at 20% by default – but you can change this. The base price + the artist margin = the final retail price paid by the customer.”(Redbubble, 2020) This means that while not all proceeds will go to the artist, it will still be profitable.
Richard Meehan, former Gallery 37 administrator and artist, believes that “The opportunities now to promote yourself and get your work out there are numerous. If you’re a working artist you need to have your work out there on the internet or be creating interest around it.”
Additionally, Alice Entremount, a high school artist and student at Jones College Prep, first started her store on Redbubble this past September. To newcomers, particularly teenagers, she recommends, “If you're focused on what others want to see instead of what you want to create, you'll get burnt out and art will feel like a chore, not a hobby. When you like what you're doing and you feel passionate about it, not only will you feel more freedom as an artist, but that passion will reflect in your work.”