No. 25: Get to know – Kim Leutwyler

It’s funny how we get into routines.  When i find an artist I like, I see who they like, and who else likes them, and before I know it I’m looking at nothing but colorful abstracted coastlines.  I took a bit of a break from posting here (a lovely winter vacation) and when I returned I had a fresh start.  Immediately I came upon Kim Leutwyler.  She’s an American artist working in Sydney – you can read all about her on her website  (which includes a collection of her work called “Queer Dinosaurs” so I have to imagine that Kim is pretty awesome all around).

As for her art, it has everything I typically like – bright bold colors, abstracted forms, and so on.  And she features women whose bodies blend with the colors and patterns of her works, whose beauty is in part realistically rendered and in part drawn from the shapes and colors she employs.  I see a joy and an exuberance in her work.  I like how her subjects are presented directly to the viewer.  I get the idea that what we use to cover ourselves up is just so much color and shape and line.

As much as I’d like to, I’m not sure I’m able to say anything thoughtful about her themes of gender and queer identity.  I’ve never been terribly good at taking any sort of message from art (must work on this).  Just writing down any kind of commentary about art, let alone a real critique, is daunting for me.  Perhaps that’s a topic for future posts.  In the meantime, enjoy Kim’s fantastic art and check out her website, twitter,and instagram accounts.

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Kim Leutwyler –

Sydney, Australia

* all images taken from

Online Art Sales Survey – Results

Last week I created a short survey to try to learn a bit about how and where artists sell their work online.  Thanks to everyone who participated!

First, a couple thoughts:

– The artists who completed this survey were [nearly] all reached via Twitter.  I sent an invitation to about 300 of the artists I follow.  Anyone else who follows this blog and happens to be an artist was also welcome to participate.  40 artists completed the survey.

– The artists I reached out to are artists whose work I like.  Some are more “professional” and some are more “amateur”.  Most are based in the US or the UK, but there are many other countries represented as well.  Take a look at my Twitter followees to see who I’m talking about.

So here are the results:

Question 1:  Do you sell works via your own website?

– Yes:  44%

– No:  56%

Question 2:  Do you sell art via online galleries (Saatchi, Artfinder, etc)?

– Yes:  38%

– No:  62%

Question 3:  What percentage of your art do you sell online vs “in person”?

38% of respondents never sell art online.  Another 31% sell less than a quarter of their work online.  So that leaves the remaining 31% who sell the majority of the work online.  Interestingly, 40% of those for whom selling art is their primary source of income sell at least 50% of their work online.  This is higher than I would have expected – I guess I figured that artists who make a living from their art would be more connected with galleries and rely less on online sales.

Question 4:  What percentage of your sales are for less than $500 (£350)?

23% of respondents answered that they never sell art for less than $500.  I’m not sure what I was expecting with this question.  I guess I would assume that most artists, especially those active on Twitter, would sell at least the occasional piece for less than $500, and that turned out to be mostly true.  25% of artists were at the other end of the spectrum, selling at least 75% of their work for less than $500, which I suppose means that the survey’s respondents were a pretty evenly mixed bunch.

Question 5:  What percentage of your sales are for less than $100 (£70)?

54% never sell for less than $100.  Another 37% sell less than a quarter of their work for under $100.  This isn’t too surprising…  I can’t really imagine selling art for less than $100 unless it is a small little study that is lying around somewhere.  So it is actually encouraging that for some 46% of the artists whose work I really enjoy, selling a piece for less than $100 is not totally out of the question.  Even 28% of respondents for whom art sales are their primary source of income sometimes sell for less than $100.

Question 6:  Is the sale of your art your primary source of income?

– Yes:  51%

– No:  49%

So that’s it.  I’m still thinking about the results and what kind of big picture they paint, if any.  To be honest I love the idea of art being for sale online.  Otherwise the vast majority of art is simply out of reach (geographically, at least).  But I also understand that it is a hassle to maintain your own website, online gallery commissions are still pretty high, people are unlikely to spend lots of money on more expensive pieces, and it makes the process of buying art much less personal.

I’d  be very curious to read any other perspectives on this data.  It’s certainly not the largest data set in the world but overall I’m quite pleased with the response.



Where do you sell art and what does it cost?

I’ve created a quick survey of artists to learn a bit about:

– Is selling art how you make a living?

– How much do you sell online compared to in person/at galleries?

– How much of your art sells for less than $500 (£350)?  For less than $100 (£70)?

If you’re an artist I would love it if you could take a few seconds to complete the survey here You don’t need to be a full time artist – if you’ve ever sold a piece of art then I’d love to get your input.  I’ll post the results (which are anonymous) here after a week or so.  I’m really just curious – the world of professional artists is rather opaque to us outsiders.  I’d love to get an idea of what a typical sale looks like.

I’ll also be digging more into where artists sell their work (and where they prefer to sell their work) and check out gallery commissions and what kinds of marketing artists do.

Art Search 3

Here are a few pieces under $300 that I’ve come across online.  Most of them are pretty small, though that’s hardly surprising.  Just the cost of paint and a surface to paint on is fairly high, and especially if a third party is taking a hefty commission it would be hard to make any kind of decent return on a larger work at this price point.

Koen Lybaert 1

$280:  9×13   Koen Lybaert  here

AA 1

$200:   9×9   Dyanna Dimick here


$293:  14×21   Richard Shipley here


$280:   12×12   Marion Jones here


$131:   16×20   Mo Tuncay here

No. 24: Get To Know – Ellen Rolli

I enjoy looking at abstract art in part because I like trying to figure out the artist’s process.  With no subject or scene to create, how does the image come about?  Can I tell what the artist began with?  Does it looks like the artist has an end result in mind or did the image come about organically, starting with a color or a form and building from there?

As I look at Ellen Rolli’s art it looks like she may have an idea to begin with – perhaps a particular color palette – but her works suggest a generally organic approach.  Her work has many layers and I love looking deep into the images to try to see where she started and compare that to how the piece ended up.  There’s a lot going on!  The combination of colors she uses, the hard versus soft shapes, and her use of transparency and opaqueness is fantastic.  I feel like I’m learning when I look at her paintings.

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Ellen Rolli –

Follow her on Twitter and read an interview with her here.

Boston, MA

*all images taken from

No. 23: Get To Know – Marilina Marchica

I guess I’m a sucker for abstracted landscapes (I think half the artists I’ve written about on this blog paint some kind of landscape).  I really like how Marilina Marchica’s works reorder and restructure what I see in a typical landscape.  Her use of flat and smooth neutral colors for both backgrounds and foregrounds gives her work a very expansive feel.

I think it’s interesting how so much landscape art captures the beautiful and dramatic – coastlines, mountains, etc. – while most of the world around us is relatively flat and monotone.  I’m not sure that “monotone” is really a fair characterization of these works, though.  Sure, there isn’t a ton of color, but there is quite a bit of variety among the neutrals and grays, and certainly a lot of variety of color value.    As with much of the art that I tend to like, the more I look at these images the more I see.

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Marilina Marchica –

Follow her on Twitter and see more of her work for sale here, here, and here.

Agrigento, Sicily, Italy

*all images from

Get To Know – Stephen Nolan

There is something about Stephen Nolan’s art that really grabs me.  I think maybe it’s the flatness to the way he applies his colors and shapes.  There is flatness to individual sections but the result is a layering and a depth that is very expressive.  As a result I get a really interesting sense of perspective.  There’s perspective in the traditional sense in that I see a view from a particular spot and I can see what is near and what is far, what is clear and what is hazy.  But more than that I get a sense of time and of things being old.  The general messiness (for lack of a better word) of the edges also contributes to the temporal nature of his works.  Anyway – very interesting stuff!

Agree?  Disagree?  Let me know in the comments.  I always love to hear other people’s thoughts.

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Stephen Nolan –

And check out his great Twitter feed here.


*  all images taken from

Art Search 2: Digging through the junk

As I feared, searching for affordable art is quite a slog.  There is plenty of art out there, but that is not necessarily a good thing.  Most online art marketplaces are uncurated meaning that anyone with a brush and a canvas can sell their works (Artfinder, Vango, Koonzt – I’m looking at you).  The result is that, especially at the low end of the market, there is a ton of junk.

Saatchi is a bit better, but at my low price point there is still a ton of [what I consider rather generic] stuff like this piece for $262 (20×16, by Ronald Halfant here):


After digging through page after page I did find a few that I liked, such as this for $270 (7×7, by Siri Tenden here):


But even that seems a bit unoriginal* and at only 7.5 inches square I don’t think I could pull the trigger.

Next time I’ll post some of the pieces I’ve found via my Twitter network.

* Sorry, I sound like a total art snob.  Anytime I criticize someone else’s art I feel terrible – heck, I probably couldn’t paint anything like the two pieces I posted here, and I’m sure plenty of people would be totally unimpressed by my own art.  I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’ve spent a lot of time over the last year looking online for art and I just feel that I see the same things over and over again, and often I don’t find it very inspiring.  But hey – that’s just me, and I’m no art critic!  As always, fell free to let me know your thoughts in the comments.

Get To Know – Dyanna Dimick

Dyanna Dimick’s art is fun and quirky but it also draws me in and gives me something to think about.  I love how she combines abstract forms with clear graphic shapes and images.  She delivers plenty of what I tend to like about abstract work – color, shape, depth, and contrast communicating with the viewer – and she amplifies that with different techniques and materials.  I’ve seen plenty of artists who use a broad swirling brush stroke technique and pop a little figure on top…  Dimick’s work seems somehow more narrative and intriguing.  I get the sense that there is a story happening somewhere and her paintings give me just a glimpse of the action.  Good stuff!

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Dyanna Dimick –

Check her out on Twitter and see more of her work for sale (pretty affordable!) here and here and here.

San Francisco, CA

* all images taken from

Art Search 1: Buying my first original

I’ve been a fan of art for a long time. I’ve made art for a couple decades now. Nearly every wall in my home has some piece of art on it (some of it mine, some given to me, and some prints). And yet it only recently occurred to me that I have never purchased an original work of art.

Why not? I’m not really sure. Buying an original seems like a big investment, and not just financially speaking. What if I pick the wrong piece? What if the artist I choose isn’t really that talented? Will everyone who sees it think I’m crazy? Is it too pretentious to hang “real” art in my home?

I realize that these are stupid questions. If I like a piece of art and I feel it contributes to my home then it is a worthwhile purchase. Millions of Americans, myself included, have spent tens of thousands of dollars remodeling our homes. We feel empowered to choose the right kitchen backsplash tile, the right flooring style, the right paint colors and light fixtures. We spend thousands of dollars on pure aesthetics without giving it a second thought.

Anyway, I think the time has finally come. I’m going to buy my first original. My bank account is not exactly overflowing at the moment, but if I wait until I’m rich, well, I may be waiting a long time. I’m going to set a budget of $300 – I’ll try to compensate by spending a little less on Christmas presents this year. I’m open to paintings, drawings, sculpture… anything, really. I’ll chronicle my search in future posts, and feel free to make suggestions (including pitching your own art!) in the comments or on Twitter (@vailandyoung).