Selling Your Art Online in 2024 with Alex Farkas of UGallery

[00:00:00] Made Remarkable Intro: Welcome back. 

And thanks for tuning into the made remarkable podcast, hosted by Kellee Wynne. In today's episode, Kellee is talking with the dynamic, Alex Farkas, the founder and gallery director of UGallery. To discuss the ever evolving world of selling art online in 2024. Alex is a passionate art lover and entrepreneur. Who found his calling in the art world at a young age? He shares insights into the changing trends of art sales. The impact of technology on art. And the importance of connecting with art. lovers. Join the conversation as Kellee and Alex delve into maintaining the value of traditional physical art and the significance of personal expression in the art world.

Check out the show notes and transcripts for more information about Alex exclusive promotional offers. offers. and any special links mentioned during the episode. Kellee loves connecting with listeners. 

So don't be shy. Reach out on social media and together let's build a community that celebrates the remarkable. If you want to be notified every time a new episode hits the airwaves, just hit that subscribe button on your favorite podcast platform. Thank you for joining us today. And always remember you are made remarkable destined to achieve the unimaginable. Now let's get to the good part. Introducing Kellee Winn and Alex Farkas.

[00:01:13] Kellee Wynne: Well, hello. Hello. I'm Kellee Wynn, artist, author, mentor, fiercely independent mother and wife, and the founder of a multiple six figure creative business. And I love my life, but I've been where you're at. I was slogging away at this art business thing for more than a decade. Once I finally connected with my true calling, unlock the magic of marketing and built a system that could scale, while I realize I can make an impact and make a substantial income, I'm finally running a business that I love and it makes all the.

Difference in the world. My biggest dream is to help you do the same. Let this podcast be the catalyst to your biggest success. You already have it in you because you are made remarkable.

Well, hello, Alex. We were just chatting a little bit and I'm excited to introduce you to my audience because I know they're going to love hearing from you and you've got some great advice and an amazing platform with UGallery. So welcome. 

[00:02:17] Alex Farkas: Thanks for having me on your show today. 

[00:02:19] Kellee Wynne: Yeah, so I'd love to just start because I don't know, like, your history of how you got into the business of running an online platform for selling art, but I do know that UGallery's been around since long before we've been on Instagram, even before we were on Facebook 2006.


[00:02:37] Alex Farkas: Absolutely. Yeah, we got started quite a long time ago. And, really goes back to my childhood. I grew up in this little tiny arts community in Northern Arizona. It's a little city called Jerome. It's 400 people up in the mountains. And it had been a boom copper town and then a ghost town. And then later in the sixties and seventies artists started moving up there.

And my mom was one of those people. So I grew up in a little community of people making art and learn the art business. She had. A little gallery space where she sold art and home furnishings. So I was kind of always in my blood. And then later I went to university of Arizona where I studied art history and some sculpture and entrepreneurship.

And there was this really cool program in the business school for entrepreneurship. They take a year where they help you come up with a business idea. You write a business plan, you learn how to pitch it. And then if they like what you do, they send you to some case competitions. And so. I was in art school seeing all these really talented young artists making their work, but having trouble making this transition from being student artists to professional artists.

So my partners and I came up with an idea in the entrepreneurship program to create an online gallery where we would help artists kind of launch their careers. And the school really liked the idea, they sent us to an international competition in Canada, which we won, and then kind of the premier entrepreneurship competition in the U.

S., we also won that one. So it was pretty serendipitous, they give you a cash prize for these things, and we decided when we graduated we should make this idea a reality. So that was 2006, we pulled all of our competition earnings and pretty much every cent in our bank accounts and we launched the company.

[00:04:21] Kellee Wynne: UGallery. I love that. It's kind of ahead of the curve really in the online space. 

[00:04:27] Alex Farkas: It was very early on. We were one of the first galleries. Definitely, we got a lot of questions in the early days about if anyone would actually buy artwork on the internet. And it was before a lot of things.

People weren't buying cars or steaks or just about any of this kind of odd category stuff on the internet. So we were, we were early, but then pretty quickly within the first couple of years, the industry kind of caught up and, you know, That was, that was good. We were early, but not too early, which can also be a problem if you're trying to enter a new market.

[00:05:01] Kellee Wynne: Yeah. So I love that you saw a need, especially growing up and say, I grew up in a small, well, not small, not as small as you, but a small community of artists as well. So that was my background and I saw they didn't really have a problem connecting and selling. But once I got out into the real world.

Quote unquote. I realized selling art was not an not really as easy as people make it. Even today, it's not quite as easy as people make it to be. However, it's so much easier than like eighties and nineties where you had to have gallery representation or you had to go to fairs or, or, or some sort of like, gathering of artists, maybe a co-op gallery or something.

But there wasn't really the opportunity that we have now. To sell so, the fact that you see, especially coming from an art community and your mother saying, hey, here's. Here's an opportunity. How has it changed since then? 

[00:05:57] Alex Farkas: Well, I mean, it is interesting what you say. I remember as a child, my mom would take me around to the little art fairs that she would go to and we'd load up her van and she sold pottery.

And so it was very interesting to see that shift from very physical, very local sales. And I think there's, I mean, so much has changed since we started, certainly in the early days. It was for us a lot about developing, both relationships, not just finding clients, but finding artists. So we went through that whole process of figuring out how to actually develop our gallery.

We chose from the very first days that we were going to be totally curated. So that meant we would pick all the artists that we showed, and we'd choose every artwork that we put on the site. And I think that was a great differentiator for us because As more and more businesses came into the space, most of them were kind of open marketplaces and that always kept the what I felt like the level of the artwork we represented very high, which made other artists interested in being part of us because they would come to the site and say, oh, I'd be happy to have my art presented alongside of these artists.

But really, I mean, I think the biggest shifts that we've seen, since we started, the evolution of, camera phones, it was so hard to get good pictures of artwork in the early days. Okay. And we would, we would struggle to get one good photo of a painting, and artists were having to go to, professional studios to get photos taken, and then iPhones came about, and now, It's so much easier to help people get good quality pictures of their work.

So I think that was probably the biggest change from the artist side. And then for us, we developed UGallery completely from scratch. We wrote all the code to build the first website. And over the years, the technologies have really caught up to being able to do a lot of this stuff as software as a service and really changed the quality of our website.

So those were really, I think, the main things that I've seen in this 18 years. 

[00:07:54] Kellee Wynne: Yeah, I have to point out because I laughed when you said that you'd go to small fairs as your mother sold pottery because that was my childhood too. My father sold pottery and we'd go to little small fairs and he'd do wholesale to bigger companies.

And it's like, I do remember being in that. Okay. As a kid, that's super fun. But as an adult, I never wanted to have to go and schlep all my stuff to a fair. I had friends who would say, Oh, my goodness, if I do a fair out of state, then I have to get a tax license and pay the tax in that state. So selling online just like eliminates all of that stress as far as, having, I mean, we still need to ship our work, but at least we don't have to pack up our van and and set up a tent and all of that kind of stuff.

[00:08:39] Alex Farkas: Absolutely. And we've even made the shipping process super streamlined when we started Ugallery. We had this what we thought was really clever relationship with UPS stores where we'd send an artist to a UPS store. We were in their system and then the UPS store would pack up the art, but it always ended up being a complete mystery about what would happen.

Some stores did a great job. Some stores loaded up the art in a box full of peanuts and it explode in the client's house. And then about 10 years ago, we got really wise and we created this beautiful packaging solution. We create custom built art boxes for artists. It's three layers of high density foam and a cardboard box.

The middle layer tears out in the shape of the art and, uh, we send the box to the artists. So when artwork sells, they get a notification, they'll get a box in a couple of days. Box arrives at their house with a prepaid shipping label. They just. Pack it up, couple pieces of tape, and then it goes to the client, and in fact, we get a lot of funny comments from our customers who say, I just, I love my painting, it's so perfect, but I think I actually like the box even more, because I think this is something that has been a challenge for a long time, figuring out how to kind of elegantly ship artwork, so.

[00:09:50] Kellee Wynne: I have to tell you, Alex, that you have sold me 100 percent because I literally have not listed my artwork for sale in, has it been two years? Oh my goodness, it's been a long time because I've been a very busy person, but I have a lot of artwork and it keeps stacking up and stacking up and I'm like, my biggest barrier.

To selling art is shipping it. And so I know that I don't have to manage my website. I don't have to manage my customers. I can just put my artwork on a beautifully curated site and know that when something sells, I pack it up and I ship it out in a beautiful box. I mean, that's dreamy. 

[00:10:30] Alex Farkas: Thank you.

That's our goal. I mean, really, we see ourselves as being the gallery agent for artists online, and part of that is just making sure that it's a good experience, that it's easy to focus on the art production, and we do ask artists to participate in giving us new work and giving us content about themselves, but we like to do all the other parts.

Because that's, that's what we're here for. 

[00:10:53] Kellee Wynne: Yeah. I mean, that makes sense. We're still partnership artists and whoever they work with. We still have work to do and getting our name out there and our work out there and visibility. It's a whole online system. And that's something that I work really hard to teach artists, you know, through my mentorship programs is how to do marketing.

Online, because really most of our work, like you said, I can buy a car. I can buy my meat or my dinners. I can buy almost anything off of the Internet. Now, unfortunately, there's even things we shouldn't be buying off the Internet, but like, it's everything is there. And so it's, it's, work that we're doing to promote ourselves.

It just transfers over. So I have a bunch of questions about. UGallery and how you work and really where you see things going, especially when we look at these transitions. I love the fact that you said having a smartphone really changes. How artists can not only take pictures for you, you know, to sell it online, but like, just to put it on our social media and, and there's a lot of other changes that have happened.

  1. I think that there's maybe I would say at least a boom of artists who want to be known and sold. Right? So, because social media shows you what's the tech, what the potential is, we no longer necessarily just sit in our little. cave and paint and have fun for the sake of having fun. We get these big audacious dreams of selling our work and being seen.

So I love that UGallery is curated, so how do you make decisions? What are you looking for? How much experience does the artist have? What proficiency level? What are you looking for when someone applies at UGallery? 

[00:12:37] Alex Farkas: Oh yeah, that's a really good question. So we have a few things that we kind of consider as main categories.

First is seeing if an artist has a cohesive body of work, something that's consistent and identifiable as their artwork. Typically that means it's someone who's been working for a little while at what they're doing. They've built up something that they could call their signature style or technique. And so that makes it much easier from a marketing standpoint.

You said you're all about teaching about marketing. We even look at ourselves pretty much first and foremost as marketers who happen to sell original artwork, because once we take that kind of lens, it makes it a lot easier to make all of our decisions. So we want to see, is this someone that we can develop a compelling story about?

Because that's really the start of it. Need to be able to create good, compelling content, and then also be able to reuse it over time a little bit too, because repetition is really important in marketing. So we'll look and see. If they have something that we can market as them and then also, does it fit with our body of work?

So, as you mentioned, we choose every artist that we show. So does it fit within the portfolio? We want to make sure that we bring on complimentary artists, but people who don't also have too much overlap as well. Sometimes you have artists that work in similar styles. So we always try and give reference to the people who we already represent.

And then we start to look at some really kind of simple, but important details. Does the price point fit with where we're at in our gallery? Because you can see there's always a place to sell your work, but it really depends on the gallery. Do they have the clientele to sell work for a couple hundred dollars, a couple thousand dollars, or tens of thousands of dollars that we pay attention to that.

And then finally, we just make sure that the work looks like it's presentation ready. One of our kind of tenants of our mission is that we're selling. Heirloom quality art to our clients. That means something that's produced in a way that it can be passed down to family members. And so we make sure that it was made with good quality materials.

The finishing looks good, but it's pretty much ready to come out of the box and hang on the wall unless a client chooses to frame it. So, those are really the starting points as we evaluate an artist. And then if it seems like all those things are a fit, we accept them into the gallery, and then we also have this really nice welcome call with them where we go over more of the questions that they might have and help them with, what we call our best practices, things that are going to make them most successful on UGallery.

[00:15:06] Kellee Wynne: Okay, so it's a very personal experience working with UGallery then, once you're accepted, you're part of a group. 

[00:15:15] Alex Farkas: Yeah, our goal is that we function much like a traditional gallery. I mean, especially the way I grew up in a, small town with artists and in my mom's gallery where she had personal relationships with all the artists to me.

That's really important. That shouldn't get lost. The Internet is this great vehicle where you can sell from artists in rural Iowa to clients in Paris or vice versa. But the fact is, is we still shouldn't lose this human connection. That's what's going to make us more successful. And I think it's also what makes us be, kind of a special destination for clients too, because they want to interact at that level as well.

It's really, there's different reasons people shop for art, but I think a lot of it is having some sort of human connection and being able to kind of talk to people and have a dialogue about the art that they're buying. 

[00:16:05] Kellee Wynne: Right. So it's not just the sea of endless. Like no faceless paintings. You know what I mean?

Like you're creating stories for each and every one of the artists. Like there's a, a real dynamic of, of buying into the whole picture rather than I just bought a picture. 

[00:16:23] Alex Farkas: Right. And in each and every piece too, we write a unique description for every artwork that goes on UGallery. Because one, it acts kind of as the sales associate to someone shopping for art.

If I was standing in the gallery, giving someone a sales pitch about this piece. I want that to be able to happen for them as they browse art online. And then it's also something when you buy art, you want to be able to talk about it with the people who come into your house or your office, wherever you're going to hang it.

So it's something that they can tell people about it as well. I think content really is a big deal for us. You know, we see ourselves as storytellers, so we need to give people the ability to tell their own stories as well. 

[00:17:02] Kellee Wynne: I love that. That's so cool. What do you, what styles are selling right now?

What's hot? What's not? I personally believe that any artist who makes art specifically to sell is probably missing the heart and soul of their artwork. However, it's still a curiosity always with me. It's like maybe the listener fits into this category and would be ideal. 

[00:17:26] Alex Farkas: Well, I think it's fascinating.

There are enduring art trends. Stuff that will sell year after year, and that never changes. Go into a museum, people love Impressionism as much today as they did a decade ago or a hundred years ago. Although I do acknowledge that those things have different meanings now than they did when they were made, but The fact is, is people are always going to buy landscapes and flowers and things like that.

But what I find more interesting is these trends that you see kind of year after year. Things do change. Art fairs are the greatest way to see what's going on. Because if you walk an art fair, you'll see, wow, here's a hundred galleries. And there's really, uh, very consistent, Friend of what you're seeing sometimes it's funny and oftentimes these things have passing phases, too I always joke when things are really good Like the economy is good.

The politics of the world are good people go for edgy art You see people are selling art with skulls and all kinds of kind of you know, bright colors When things are going less well, the art totally shifts and you start seeing bird's nests and pastoral scenes. And it's really funny, I think it's a little bit of how artists are feeling and what they're creating, but it's also what people are kind of consuming as well.

 I think when, when things are hard, people want art around them that kind of, assures them and cheers them up. And then when things are going really well, it's exciting times and, So I think as kind of a macro level looking at that, I've noted in our business, it's been really fascinating. We've seen real shifts in abstract art in the last 10 years.

Our abstract business was so booming in the 2010s, early 2010s. And then it slowed way down in the middle part of the decade. And then in the last couple of years, it's back so strong again. It's really fascinating to me to see that. But that said, I never tell people to paint to taste because that's just a losing proposition and you're never going to catch that one.

It's more important to make the art that you feel is, something important to you that's a personal expression. And then define the market for it, because really, until you have a real goal in mind, you're going to keep trying things, you're going to dabble, you're not going to get there.

But you can define what you want to make and then talk to the person who's going to buy it, because there's 8 billion people in the world, so someone is out there to buy your art. You just have to find that, that audience. 

[00:20:00] Kellee Wynne: I love it. That's one of the things I say all the time when someone feels overwhelmed, like it's so saturated.

Can I sell my art? Can I make a course? Can I host a workshop, you know, a traveling workshop or whatever? There's so many people already doing it. I'm like, well, there's 8 billion people in the world. So I'm pretty sure you just need a small handful of that to find your little piece of joy in the world.

[00:20:23] Alex Farkas: Yeah, in the early days of UGallery, we said, Oh, UGallery is this great vehicle to help people like ourselves by art. So we were just recently college graduates. We thought, yeah, you know, our friends will be able to have original art instead of posters on their walls. It's great.

And the reality was. Young people need to buy couches and appliances and pots and pans before they buy art. And what we discovered is it's actually people who are much farther along in life. Uh, the joke that I always hear in the art world is people buy art after their last kid finishes college and before they buy their first sports car.

And that's true. I mean, that, that plays with our clients. We have developed this avatar over time. We split. Speak to one specific person named Mary. And when we market, we're always talking to Mary because. We have this really clear vision of who she is. And she's this persona of the people who actually come and buy art from our business.

And that's been so clarifying in choosing how we talk to our client, where we talk to them, knowing we can find our client on this platform, but not here. Or, if this is something that she's interested in as an adjacent, let's pull it up. Go for it and target people that way. But really, once we kind of knew who we were talking to, it made all the world a difference in what we sold and how we sold it to them.

[00:21:46] Kellee Wynne: I really agree with that idea of finding your niche, which some people really push up against. But if you are open to everyone, then you're open to no one because no one knows that you're actually talking to them and makes it actually, Much more challenging to find your customer. Yeah, because it's like, well, it could be for this person, it could be for that person.

It could be for the, the college grad, it could be for the, the, you know, high-end decorator. It's like then you get into this gray area where you're not really ever clear enough that the person on the other side knows you're talking to 'em. So we really love that you say that because I think with any online business, if you can just narrow down your focus a bit.

It doesn't have to be that that the college grad will never buy a piece of art off of UGallery. It just means that, you know, your primary demographic and you can speak to that person and that persona and grow your business from there. Do you have mostly well, we would say people exactly almost my age buying the artwork, or do you also have a lot of work with, like, interior designers and architects and stuff like that?

[00:22:58] Alex Farkas: We cater mostly to, the end user. We do sell to designers, but it's not a focus of our business. We have in different times had a dedicated trade sales person on staff and we've gone that route. But I think what we found was one for us, there was an, level of enjoyment. Connecting with the end buyer a little bit more.

The other thing is it's a totally different model, mostly with interior designers and decorators. It's a really long buying process. Like, sometimes it can be a couple of years for a big project. So it's just, it's something in evaluating, What your strengths are. If that's something that appeals to you.

Sometimes it requires holding art for long periods of time, like they might want to buy a painting, but not for 6 months. So are you willing to put it on hold for 6 months? And maybe that's something you're fine with or not. But for us, we've just really kind of narrowed down on focusing on. The kind of end buyer, because that's who we like working with.

It's fun for us, and it really works well with our model, too. 

[00:24:01] Kellee Wynne: That's good. You know your artists, you know your customers that are buying the art, and you've figured out how to mash them together. And I noticed that the work isn't, Like, really cheap. It's affordable work, and you have a range of price, but it's not like you're selling, you know, four foot by four foot paintings for 400.

Like, that's something I see artists doing, and they're underselling themselves. You have them at respectable prices. One thing that I, I remember hearing that in the early days of selling art online, it was kind of like, well, people might pay as much as maybe a thousand dollars to buy something unseen.

And now are we with that where someone can buy tens of thousand dollar painting. Yeah. Sight unseen. I don't know if your work goes up that high. 

[00:24:47] Alex Farkas: It does. When we first launched UGallery, our average price point for a mid sized painting, something that was a couple feet, was about 400 dollars and then today, our average price for the same piece of art is probably closer to 1, 300.

So you can see the shift. I also acknowledge that lots have changed for the kind of art we're selling, our curation. So I think it's a function of both people's willingness to spend more online, what we're selling. We currently specialize in art that's priced typically from about 1000 to 10000 dollars. We sell things on both ends.

But that's really kind of our sweet spot as a gallery. And I think that there's an opportunity to go in both directions. We did work at the lower end for a while. We even had a print business for a while, but we kind of, again, in figuring out what we wanted to do, we wanted to move our business upmarket.

Some, you have to sell a lot more inventory at those lower prices to make the same amount of money. And you're catering to a different type of client again. So that's a different set of kind of standards and what people want. And, I think for us, it got to be to the point where. We weren't having as much fun selling the reproductions and we just cut that out of our business and that's been really nice actually.

[00:26:07] Kellee Wynne: That's pretty interesting. I didn't realize at one point you did. I did notice too, when I was learning more about UGallery, like actually I've known about UGallery for at least a decade, but when I was learning about it, I noticed you didn't have prints where a lot of the other online sellers might have prints.

Yeah, I, I liked that because. I have this philosophy, which may be a little bit controversial to a lot of artists, which is until you can sell original art regularly, why would you dilute your original art by selling prints? And I think there's a place, there are certain artists where they make certain kinds of art that aren't meant to be sold.

They're meant to be made into prints. But when you're talking about fine art, like, Paint big paintings that are meant to like be the showcase piece in a room. It's trying to, at the same time, trying to learn your market and sell those showcase pieces and making prints. I'm actually speaking from experience.

I had a bunch of prints made, but I still had a lot of originals. And then it's that math that you were talking about. I can sell one painting for like 1, 800 where I'd have these 18 prints and I would have to sell thousands. And especially if you try to sell them as a wholesale to a retail place, your margins are like 2 for a print.

And it's like, okay, why am I doing the, why have I diluted? It costs me more money to make these prints and to sell them and find the, the buyer. So it's like, focus first on the original art. And after you're so established that your original art sells out like crazy, then maybe look at whether or not reproductions are worth doing.

[00:27:47] Alex Farkas: Yeah, I love that advice. That's so true. I mean, that's the same thing. You know, like you say, your metrics as an artist, if you get 2 a print, that's not even buying your coffee in the morning. And how many can you realistically sell? Yeah, it's back to, you know, really evaluating your marketing strategy and also looking at your sales and seeing, okay, where, where does this stuff line up?

I had a marketing coach for a while, and he also had this kind of scale he liked to use of, measuring out all the business activities you do and saying, how much revenue am I deriving from it? How much enjoyment am I deriving from it? How much time am I spending on it? You could assign numbers to each of these things.

When you do that, it's really clear suddenly where you go, Oh, wow. I'm spending a ton of time getting so little over here and it's not that much fun. And then over here, I'm not spending that much time on making a lot more money. You know, I don't know some of this stuff, it seems really, obvious once you know it, but before you do it, we get kind of caught up in our daily activities and we just do the thing cause we're already doing it.

[00:28:55] Kellee Wynne: And because we see other people doing it as well, we see, Oh, look, you're supposed to, as an artist, I'm supposed to have seven or 10 different streams of income coming in. Well, what that does is dilute you from your primary focus. So while it's kind of nice, if there was something on automatic, like say, maybe I have an Amazon affiliate and people are going to buy the same art supplies.

That's totally hands off. But if you have to pack and ship things on a regular basis, that's a lot of work that takes you away from actually being able to make art. 

[00:29:24] Alex Farkas: You know, totally. Yeah. Yeah. And I, I like what you say about having different revenue streams. I always tell the artists we work with. It's important to diversify.

You don't want a single point of failure. Don't work with 1 gallery because what if that gallery goes out of business, then you don't have any revenue anymore. But. It's about kind of choosing those things wisely. And I use this in the context of saying, how do you pick your mix of galleries? So I think having a few physical galleries is good.

Don't pick galleries all in the same town, because that's hard for the galleries to make a point of your work. It's the same thing with showing work on the internet too. Don't just sign up for an account on every online website, because it totally dilutes your brand when people go to search for your name and they see you on.

All the websites, they don't even know if your work is original at that point. And that's something we always coach people. Just be conscious. You need multiple streams of revenue. But as you pick them, pick things that actually tell a good story about you, but unique things in each place. So you have different bodies of work.

It creates a more interesting persona and hopefully more success too. 

[00:30:32] Kellee Wynne: Yeah. For sure, so creating different streams of revenue is like, I'm creating 1 thing. I'm finding different sources to sell it. That's totally different than I'm creating like 10 different things that I have to manage. That's when artists exhaust themselves and they're like, I don't even paint anymore.

So I definitely think that's where you have to like your most satisfaction. Where is your biggest income coming from? Which is why I stopped doing prints. I did them very early on for a very short amount of time. And I just don't do prints anymore because if I'm going to sell, I would much rather just be able to paint a painting and send it out into the world.

That doesn't mean I wouldn't change my mind later. But at this point I have to pick and choose where I'm putting my energy. And of course, a lot of my energy goes into Made Remarkable, the podcast and the coaching. So the art right now has become a really like a solace for me that I get to create now just for myself and, and hopefully to connect.

I think there is something beautiful about being able to connect that work. With, like you said, the end user, the, the person who's actually going to hang it on the wall, because it's, you know, artists have a real hard time with selling. I don't know if you went into this when you're coaching your artists through, of course, we want to, but then asking for the sale or.

Who am I to be worthy of making this money or, you know, like they underpriced themselves a lot because they just don't see the value of what they're doing. And then it's time for a big reframe because of the way the economy is now and how much it costs just to, I mean, have you gone for like a value meal?

Quote unquote at a fast rate, it's like 15. So if we're going to really like readjust what it costs to live and what people are really willing to spend their money on, why do we need to devalue the work that we're doing? Minimize the ask for the sale. Like these are, these are. Big money hangups and my philosophy on that is if you're not putting your artwork out there to sell proudly and knowing that that exchange when you receive the money is because someone else on the other end is so grateful to have original art to hang in their home.

They get to look at a piece of you, a piece of a story, um, something handmade and there is nothing like real original art in a space. 

[00:32:54] Alex Farkas: I totally agree. And also, finding the right price too, where people don't think it's worth too little so they don't buy it for that reason. It's a weird kind of counterintuitive thing.

If you make something, you said earlier, a 4x4 painting for 400, something like that, people will then think it's not worth it because it's too cheap. So there's this sense of finding these right price points. Pricing art is a total art in itself, and it might take some experimentation over time, but it's true.

You have to pick prices that are high enough to start with that you make enough money to keep making. This was something my mom taught me from the days of her potteries. The goal is that You make one thing, you sell it, and it gives you the ability to make four more, and that's kind of the, you know, spread, so you keep going, you keep going until you can have this thing that is actually profitable for you, and it depends on what your goals are too as an artist and how much you're producing, but that has to be factored in as well to make sure that it's something that's sustainable, otherwise you're not going to keep making art, and then you're not going to sell anything.

[00:34:02] Kellee Wynne: Yeah, right. And I would say the majority of the people listening to my podcast are those who want to make a business or have made a business. So really, if you're going to be in business, your goal should be to be profitable first and to make sales. And I actually had a client the other day who's like, I just, I don't like asking for the sale.

It feels so icky. And I'm like them, you know, honestly, we got to work through that mindset because otherwise, I There's no point in being business because that's really like at the heart of if you've made a decision to be in business, then the goal should be to be able to sustain yourself and your family and your goals and your desires and your future and your retirement.

So, or find someone 

[00:34:44] Alex Farkas: else. Or find someone else to make the sale for you too. 

[00:34:48] Kellee Wynne: And that's where I was just going to get to. The nice thing is, is when you do have a gallery, which is the part that we've been missing for all these years, when you do have a gallery to represent you, you've taken that pressure off of yourself.

And I have heard artists, And I've heard this even up until recently, but I especially heard it through the last decade a lot. I mean, I know galleries aren't as popular as they used to be, but they're always like, why would I sell through a gallery? They'll take 50%. Also, I hate having to promote myself on social media and ask for a sale.

And I'm like, I think you've missed the point of what a gallery does for you. And if a gallery is good and they're going to be able to connect you with the buyer, they very much deserve that. You know, that's more time you get to be painting. 

[00:35:34] Alex Farkas: Yeah, totally. I mean, that's it. I think, uh, it has to work for you in your mind, but that is the point of finding a good partner, several good partners to sell your work is someone who does a good job at it and then takes that stress off of you.

It's totally different businesses being in the studio making art. And being in the showroom selling art. And so it's hard to do everything well, and it's not even necessarily something that most people want to do. So finding someone to do that for you in some form, whether it's a gallery or even hiring your own sales associate to do this sort of thing, but the fact is finding someone who's a good partner who does the pieces that you're not as comfortable with.

Like asking for the sale because some people love doing it. That's what I love doing. I, I love asking for the sale. I love making a good deal where the artist is happy about the work. The client is thrilled about the work and we can keep repeating that. 

[00:36:29] Kellee Wynne: Yeah. I don't mind asking for the sale either because I've been the recipient of having spent money and been thrilled to have handed it over and I know that if it goes joyfully, then it's like, you know, that whole saying shut up and take my money.

Right? Yeah, totally. It's like you're giving a gift as much as you're getting a monetary exchange for it. You know, you're making somebody happy by getting your work out there on the wall. 

[00:36:55] Alex Farkas: That's such a good point. Yeah, I know, uh, being on both sides of it. It's fun. I had mentioned art fairs growing up in them and we did an art fair circuit for many years at UGallery too.

And it's a lot of work to sell art that way, but it's such a, uh, kind of a, uh, adrenaline booster to sell art in that venue. But also on the other side, it's really fun to shop an art fair and go and find something you like and buy it. And you can appreciate that. That's kind of an interesting thought I've never really considered about.

Go out there and try and buy a piece of art for a couple hundred dollars and see how it feels from the other side. Maybe it's instructive in that way. 

[00:37:31] Kellee Wynne: Yeah, for sure. So how do you feel like the pandemic changed things? Because I know everyone just jumped online at that moment and we had some good boosts.

Actually people were making good money in 2020 and then slowly like real life is coming back real and that's in a big air quote about real life because I don't even know what's real or what's not and even when you were talking about What art sales when times are hard versus what art sales when times are not hard.

I'm like, I don't, how long has it been since times have not been hard? Yeah, because I know what you're saying, but like, you know, so, so many artists are online now. And does that mean more buyers are out there looking for original art instead of buying art from home goods or something like that? 

[00:38:15] Alex Farkas: Yeah, that's a good question.

I know the pandemic changed things, especially for us. Our business definitely boomed for those couple of years that, unfortunately, galleries were closed or in limited capacity. That turned a lot more people to the Internet to buy art, and I think that that kind of accelerated a trend that's already been happening.

So that just opened up a whole new group of buyers who are going to still keep shopping online because they had good experiences, I think. We picked up a bunch of clients in that time period who keep coming back. Something that's big for us is kind of looking How much of our business is coming from new buyers versus repeat clients and our repeat client rate is very high.

And I think that speaks to people having a good experience and collecting more work from the same artists or also finding people from different places that they're interested in. And you can see the trends, even if you take out the pandemic that the number of people buying art online has just gone up and up over the years.

And to me, I think that will just keep happening because the options out there are good. The online galleries are nice to use. They have good features and really you understand people are interested in art. It's a lot of work to go to galleries every week or every month to do the openings and be really kind of versed in what's happening in your community.

Something you got to like as kind of a hobby, not just to buy art, but to be out and, you know, walking the streets. And there are a lot of people who like doing that. There are a lot of people, and I talk to customers, like, for example, we have one client, it's a husband and wife, and they're both busy business executives, they live in San Francisco, they don't even see each other most of the week, because they travel, but they always say, We love getting the UGallery new art email once a week.

 We sit down on Sunday morning and we look at art together on UGallery and talk about the things we like. And these people have bought, nearly a hundred artworks from us. And so I think you see that it is an outlet for people who don't necessarily have time. They don't have time to go spend hours doing the gallery circuit.

And so. There's this whole kind of group of people that have been excluded from buying art just for, basically personal scheduling or maybe location. We have clients who live in places where there just isn't a gallery scene. So I think that's where the internet is really beautiful. For me, I have felt like for a long time that the pinnacle of online art world is where you start to get More small curated galleries, not these huge marketplaces where you get people who really care about the art they're selling, and they're selling a collection of things that makes sense to them.

It's overwhelming to browse a million pieces. Some of the sites out there, they have these features where you can click to see similar pieces and then you click the button, and you're just like 100 more pieces that all look the same. And that kind of takes away. The, a little bit of the specialness of it, but this idea of having these really nice curated spaces online for people to browse, I think that's so cool.

And people will just keep buying more and more online. I think that's just generally the direction of the world. 

[00:41:19] Kellee Wynne: And of course, it's an experience buying from UGallery because I noticed that not only is it compact in these nice, beautiful boxes, but you even, it's free shipping and free returns if somebody doesn't love it.

[00:41:31] Alex Farkas: Yeah, we try and make a point of that. That was from, again, the early days of our business, realizing people didn't want sticker shock about spending more money on shipping in the, the end process, because shipping is expensive. As you know, it's sometimes like 15 or 20 percent of the cost of the artwork.

So you say, Oh, here's a thousand dollar artwork. And by the way, it's another 200 to ship it. People would say, no, I'm not going to do that. And then, And then the free shipping thing is just peace of mind. We take returns on less than like 3 percent of all the art we sell, which is really low for e commerce.

And I can't even believe it. It's so low for art. I mean, you start to realize it's, it's worth it because most people, they, if they like a, Piece in an image, it's gonna be that much better in person. That's all original art, right? You see it in a book or on a website, and then you see it in person. You go, wow, this is incredible.

So US Star Night Van Gogh 

[00:42:25] Kellee Wynne: brought to 

[00:42:25] Alex Farkas: your lies . Yeah, yeah, exactly. The, the reality is art has a lot more personality and in person and so, you know, I think that that kind of thing goes. To our benefit as opposed to being a problem for us. 

[00:42:40] Kellee Wynne: You know, they did a study that showed in a hospital when there was original art in a room versus, and I'd have to look this up.

So I'm going to look it up and add it to my footnotes, but original art versus print art and the ones that had original art, the people healed faster and better. There was just something, maybe it could be, I don't know if it was the artwork itself or maybe the value they felt by having. Original piece of art in that room saying, Oh, I'm cared for.

They carry enough to put real art on the wall. Like there's a lot of psychological benefits for having real art, but for me seeing real art, like, and I, and I studied art history. I didn't finish the degree, but it is one of my absolute favorite subjects. So I've tried to see art around wherever I traveled to, including living in Europe, which I know you're in Amsterdam.

But when you see the work in person, there is. An undeniable energy compared to, like, looking at it on the screen or looking at a print, like, there's just something that's like, oh, my goodness, you know, van, go touch that painting, or touch that painting with that little. Pearl of an earring, you know, it's like that's the real piece.

You can feel the energy. In fact, some of the rooms I walked through and get in the big, museums, it's like you go through the dark ages and you're like, Oh, this feels so heavy. And then you get to the impressionist and you're like, everything feels so much lighter. And, you know, something so special about that.

And the fact that you figured out how to make that specialness come alive through an online shop. I think there's just something really. Cool about that. I love the way you're doing business, which is why I'm so excited that you were able to come on the podcast. I want to ask you, like, besides the fact that you know, that it's just going to keep growing, but what else do we see happening?

 Are people pushing like ideas and trends? I know mixed media is big, so I'm always curious, like, how do we bring in new materials, new ways? AI is here, like, what's going to happen? 

[00:44:43] Alex Farkas: Oh, these are huge questions. Sorry, they're really huge. I don't know the answer. I think that there's And it's interesting.

I mean, I come from both worlds. I still like to believe that there's a lot of enduring kind of tradition in art, and there are all these new things. They're always coming about. I read once that, when photography was first invented, the French painter Ingres said, it's the death of painting.

No one will get a portrait painted ever again. And that wasn't true. I mean, we see that there are all of these things that kind of get added over time, and it's really wonderful because it does kind of expand. Our consciousness of what is art people been asking that question for a long time now, and I think it's still getting broader and broader of what is art.

But there's also this kind of notion that a lot of tradition still remains and people, for the most part, are still the same. You go to visit these places in Europe, like you talk about, or you go to a city like Pompeii and there were paintings on the walls and you realize people just liked having art in their homes for thousands and tens of thousands of years.

They liked having art in their caves too. And so I see that with where we go with technology, there's this, you know, beautiful kind of openness and access to having more artists have exposure, having more people be able to maybe own art. But at the same time, I also respect the fact that A lot of what people like, a lot of these trends are kind of the same.

People will always like having a painting in their home. That's my belief, at least. So, I guess as much as I watch all this stuff, I don't actually get too caught up in the future of what will happen. More so just thinking about how we can kind of carry on some of these traditions that are so important to all of us.

[00:46:26] Kellee Wynne: Very, very well said. That's been running through my mind as well as like. Oh, and then the computer comes along and digital art's going to ruin real art. And then now, you know, I'm like, it just keeps evolving. Like when we say it's the death of it. But the truth of the matter is, is I think with AI art, actual physical art's going to be even more meaningful.

Yeah. Right. 

[00:46:51] Alex Farkas: The AI art is so new too. It's so hard to say how that will kind of play into the whole art space. For me seeing it, I think there's such cool possibilities, but I agree the presence of the artist hand, you were saying, Thinking about premier touching a painting or any of this kind of time that's passed.

I think we as humans, as long as we're humans for however much longer that is before we're the next thing. Um, I think that the presence of our hand and, Physically working a material is really important. It really speaks to who we are and the digital creations are really fascinating, but they're still in a place where it's hard to say where they'll go.

And maybe there'll be some sort of interesting adaptation of both of them together, which we can't imagine yet, but I don't know. 

[00:47:40] Kellee Wynne: I feel like there's a space for everything. We can't stop it or change it. It's happening, which is why I'm extra nice to AI. Okay. Just in case it becomes sentient. 

[00:47:51] Alex Farkas: But it remembers.

That's a good plan, I hadn't considered that. But yeah, good to be nice to AI. 

[00:47:57] Kellee Wynne: I'll be nice to you. Remember I said please and thank you, please. But yeah, I I'm not worried about it and I I apologize to anyone who's mad that I said AI art, but I don't really care. I'm not hung up on I It's out of my control, so it's not something I worry about.

I love to just see artists still make their work and put that work into the world. And with you, Gallery, being a artwork, real physical artwork only, like, there's your connection, you know? 

[00:48:24] Alex Farkas: Yeah. Yeah, I mean, for us, we say we kind of marry. Old school charm with new school technologies. And I think that's the whole point.

We're still a pretty small family run business. I run this company with my wife and we have a nice little team of people who work there and our goal is to get art into people's lives and to help artists sell more of what they love doing. And I think, you know, there's a lot of different approaches.

That's what we're talking about in this whole conversation. There's so many approaches to how you want to make your art and how you want to share it with people. And if you want to sell it and how you sell it, all those things, there's so many ways about it. And you kind of just have to find the one that works for you.

 That is the beauty of living so many people in the world is you can choose that. 

[00:49:09] Kellee Wynne: It is true. Alex, thank you so much for coming on the Made Remarkable podcast. I love this conversation. I actually could keep going on forever because I haven't really had a deep conversation about the meaning and purpose and value of art in such a long time.

I get caught up in business and I forget the whole reason we started all of this, the whole reason all of us are doing what we're doing is because we love art so much. We love having our hand in the work and sharing it. And so I love this conversation because it reminded me of how important that is.

[00:49:41] Alex Farkas: Yeah, me too. I even just talking about this reminded me of the first moments of thinking about why I wanted to sell art and why it means something. And it's really nice. You're right. You have to kind of take a step back from time to time and evaluate that. It keeps it special. So thanks for doing that for me too.

[00:49:57] Kellee Wynne: Yeah. So anyone who's listening and excited about this possibility of taking the load off and not having to sell it yourself, and maybe you're perfectly qualified and ready to connect with UGallery, I recommend it's very easy to find the apply here and we'll link that in the show notes. So, I know it's definitely caught my attention, so maybe it's time for me to, to start selling my work again.

[00:50:23] Alex Farkas: Wonderful. Thanks so much for your time today. Thank you.