I first encountered Natasha Wescoat when researching for a chapter on email and Web site marketing for my How to Profit from the Art Print Market book. At the time, she was a Power Selling artist on eBay. Power Sellers must move lots of product or do a big dollar volume to attain such status.
What was interesting about her was she was selling originals. Because she could paint her abstracts quickly enough, she was able to keep a steady stream of new work available online. That she can paint fast is one talent. That she could paint art that would sell fast is another. That she could do this against a backdrop of personal financial hardship with two small children makes her story more compelling.
In addition to being a tireless painter, she is also a terrific self-promoter of her work. It’s obvious from visiting her Web site and blog that she has also embraced technology for all it has to offer artists as a means to sell their work. For example, she has done video blogs and uses www.publicnow.com to distribute news items about herself.
Her Web site rightly proudly announces she participated in an episode of ABC’s Extreme Home Makeover by contributing her work for the home featured. This is an inspirational example of boosting oneself from a fledgling eBay business to gaining national notoriety on a popular home design show. Well done, Natasha! You have kept moving forward and upward and done great things in the two years since I first learned of you.
A recent debate on a www.wetcanvas.com topic asked whether selling on eBay hurt an artist’s reputation. Like many debates, it was not resolved as many varied voices chimed in. Unfortunately, some of the comments got personal and the topic was locked. I’m betting in the matter of feeding one’s kids, reputation worries are easily trumped by the need to earn money and the ability to do it selling art online. Further, I’m not sure it is deal killer anyway, especially if the art is worthy.
I notice Natasha now favors Overstock.com to eBay. It would be interesting to learn why she made the transition to another online auction channel to sell her work and to get her views on how online sales have helped or hurt her reputation. It is all a personally subjective opinion anyway. Perhaps she’ll comment here and let us know.
It’s possible some galleries or publishers, even collectors may turn up their noses at an artist’s online business, but it will never be all of them. Art and artist’s careers ultimately are like water in a glass seeking its own level. From what I can see, Natasha’s level is rising!