FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
If you’re like us, discovering and staying on top of art resources for selling, displaying and promoting your work is difficult. You will find below a list of art resources, including some opportunities for displaying work, local art groups in Seattle, upcoming shows, and places to find art related services. These are some of the most common art resources we are asked for.
The Pacific NW has many useful resources for artists, from art supplies to vibrant art walks and arts organizations. Often the best way to grow as an artist is to be involved in your local community! This may help you get started.
Art Supply Stores in the Seattle Area
The Seattle area was once rich with a variety of art and framing stores, including Daniel Smith and Dakota Art, and Aaron Brothers. Since the Covid pandemic the choices are fewer, or in some cases non-existent. Here are our recommendations in order.
1. Artist & Craftsman
A large art supply store located near the University of Washington, which has a huge in-store selection of materials and paints. Easy parking in the lot next door, close to the freeway, with a very helpful staff. When you go into Artist & Craftsman you feel like you’re in a real art and crafts store, with real artsy people.
4350 8th Avenue NE
Seattle, WA 98105
2. Dick Blick
A huge online retailer, now has a presence in Seattle in the Capital Hill District. Wide selection, good prices, and you can also purchase online.
1600 Broadway Avenue
Seattle, WA 98122
Phone: (206) 324-0750
Frame Stores in the Seattle Area
In recent years (2018-2020), Seattle has lost a lot of its frame shops. Aaron Brothers was a great go to frame shop, and it’s closed, along with Bellevue Art and Frame and a few others.
We are now left with Michaels as really the only place to get cheap discount frames.
Ikea also has a small standard frame selection. Bless their hearts. If your craft is more decor than art, or if you need simple inexpensive framing for an art show or art booth, then you might give it a try.
We’re open to adding more frame shops here for reference. There are quite a few custom frame shops in Seattle.
For professional framing we recommend:
Online Resources to Display Your Art
There are many online options for displaying and showcasing your artwork. It’s always good to have a website where you can display your most recent work, and examples of your artwork that are typical of your style. Your website is your online art portfolio. But that’s not enough, you also need to share your artwork on social media so that you can drive traffic to your art website and gain attention, gallery opportunities, and gain a reputation for your art. In that sense your artist website is an island unto itself, and social media is the means to drive traffic to your island.
Don’t simply rely on social media! Social media sites come and go, so it’s important not to rely solely on social media websites. Don’t become beholden to a large company for your online presence. Make sure that as online tides shift, you have a web presence that’s stable regardless of shifts in people’s viewing habits. And if you do figurative, nude or controversial art, it’s especially important to have a home for your artwork that is not at the whims of online censorship; Facebook has been particularly bad about this and is not artist friendly.
The following are some social media sites and web hosting sites to consider:
- Instagram: Instagram is the most popular social media platform for artists to share their artwork online, and it makes sense for every artist to have a presence there.
- Facebook: Facebook needs no explanation. Love it or hate it, Facebook is the #1 Social Media site in the world, although FB is often not artist friendly and has a bad habit of deleting nude art and controversial art, and limiting your audience unless you pay extra to display the content.
- www.wix.com: Wix.com is a website building platform; it has a wealth of templates to make starting your artist website as easy as possible. As with Squarespace, artists can create a domain name and have Wix.com host it.
- www.wordpress.org: Wordpress is a powerful CMS (content management system) that allows people to build powerful websites of any sort, and includes many integrations with other software, shopping carts, such as woocommerce. There is no limit to WordPress. You can create a hosted wordpress site, or you can install wordpress from scratch on your own server, or hosted server. Word press is an advanced solution. It’s powerful, but it requires some knowledge of the interwebs and how these things work. Although a wordpress site is easy to manage, setting it up can be complicated, depending on the options you choose. At Bellevue Fine Art we have a very customized wordpress setup, including custom plugins, mobile site customization, e-commerce forms, a blog, and more.
How to Sell Your Art Online
In addition to just having an artist gallery/website to display your artwork, there are many websites now that offer print on demand and drop shipping to your customers for a wide variety of products, from stickers, to leggings, pillow cases, fabric, phone cases, metal prints and more. With an online presence, you can instantly have global reach. Remember though, you still need a way to distinguish yourself, because now you’re competing with the entire world.
www.artstorefronts.com: This company specializes in getting artists online with a website that sells art. They also have a network of printers that do the fulfillment for print orders and drop ship. We can’t say much about this business. They don’t have published pricing, and the only way to get information is to request a “consultation”, and then the hard sell on the phone. This is not one of our recommendations, but we thought we should add it to the list given their massive Instagram and Facebook ad campaigns. To be clear though, they make money consulting, printing, and creating artist websites. It’s up to you to sell and promote your art.
www.artofwhere.com: like many other websites like it, allows artists to put their designs on many different products and sell them, particularly wearable art.
Big Cartel: Big Cartel allows artists to sell their wares online. For $10 a month, artists can have up to 50 listings, which is adequate for many artists. You can add more listings for additional costs. Big Cartel is very friendly with other SaaS (Software as a Service) applications and can be integrated with Shipstation and Zapier to help automate and streamline the online selling process.
www.cafepress.com: Cafe Press allows you to put designs and artwork on things like coffee mugs and t-shirts, and the artist decides what percentage they will take above the cost of the item. Don’t expect champagne at Chablis prices.
www.etsy.com: Etsy allows artists to offer their own prints and originals for sale, as well as any hand made products that incorporate your art. They charge a small listing fee which is billed monthly, and a commission when something is sold. It’s easy to open an Etsy shop and provide links on your website, Instagram account etc. We have mixed feelings about Etsy. On the one hand it’s easy to list items for sale, but they’re also pretty horrible about protecting artist’s work, and artists complain quite often that other Etsy sellers are stealing and selling their art, with no help from Etsy in resolving it. We think this might be better suited to people that sell craft that’s harder to steal or replicate than an online image.
www.fineartamerica.com: Fine Art America lets artists put their artwork on Fine Art America’s website for sale. Your art will instantly be part of the massive collection they have amassed since their inception in 2007. Like other sites, you can have your artwork placed on anything from canvas prints to shower curtains. Your artwork will be displayed along with the millions of other designs they have, where you get to compete with everyone in the world, living and dead. They also have quite a collection of classic museum art, like Monet and Rodin. This might not be the place to distinguish yourself from the crowd but if you want to be part of an online strip mall, then this might be for you.
www.imagekind.com: Imagekind is a subsidiary of Cafe Press. You can upload your artwork and have it placed on products like many other sites that do the same thing. Quickly turn your art into low budget posters and such. Imagekind offers art by category. It’s like the Wallmart of online art sales for artists.
www.printful.com: Printful allows artists to put their art and designs on a wide variety of wearable items, from leggings to t-shirts, hats and more. It’s a very easy way to add a variety of products to an artist website.
www.printify.com: Printify also has a wide variety of wearable products that artists can put their art on, such as t-shirts, hoodies, hats etc. Printify is free. Free for life they say.
www.redbubble.com: Redbubble is another site that lets artists create products with their artwork and then sell those products on the redbubble website. Redbubble has 3rd party fulfillment partners around the world, so you are assured a global audience for your art sales. Prints are made in the fulfillment location closest to where the order was placed, so you instantly have world sales with Redbubble.
www.saatchiart.com: Saatchi Art Online is a familiar name in the art business, and further proof that art sales are moving away from the brick and mortar galleries to online, unless you’re wealthy, then you go to the Saatchi auction. Many artists list here, and we’ve certainly done some fulfillment for them. Saatchi is curated, so not all will be accepted.
This is really geared more towards professionals. Saatchi moves artwork, both reproductions and originals, and they have a team of employees that specializes in selling art.
www.spoonflower.com : Spoonflower sells print on demand fabric, and has a variety of fabrics to choose from. Artists can create tiling patterns from their art and offer it for sale as both fabric and wallpaper. We have done some very cool things with spoonflower fabric! Including quilt tiles, custom quilt backing and our own artwork on Fabric. Unlike most places that do printing on Fabric, Spoonflower offers the ability to print on natural fibers like cotton and silk.
www.SquareSpace.com: Squarespace is a great website builder for everything from a simple artist online portfolio. (great for a simple art website), to a ecommerce enabled website. If you need a simple artist website and gallery and also want to sell some things, this is an easy and inexpensive solution. Artists can create a domain name have it hosted on Squarespace, eliminating much of the hassle of managing a website. Squarespace integrates with shipstation, making fulfillment easy.
www.shopify.com: Shopify allows you to host your domain on shopify and use their advanced shopping cart technology to build a full on shopping cart into your website. You can sell anything on shopify- from prints to original artwork, and crafts, and shopify takes care of all of the shopping cart business for you, as well as helping with shipping. It’s not cheap, but it’s a ready made solution, and if you’re not much into web programming and css and html, then this is a reasonable solution. but at a minimum of $79 a month, you need to be selling regularly to make it worth it. Shopify integrates with Zapier and Shipstation to create automated routines for selling your art.
www.society6.com: Society 6 is another site that allows artists to create products with their artwork. Products range from t-shirts, hoodies, and hats to wall prints.
www.threadless.com: Threadless allows artists to create a number of products using their own artwork on wearable items, as well as phone cases, wall art and other sundry items.
www.zazzle.com: Zazzle is yet one more website that will allow you to put your artwork on a plethora of products. With Zazzle the artist decides what royalty to take above and beyond the cost of each product. Playing cards, labels, rubber stamps. You name it, and you can make it through zazzle.com.
This video is a nice primer on creating an online web presence as an artist.
Seattle Art Walks & Events
1. First Thursday Seattle
Seattle’s Pioneer Square is an official art district, full of galleries and art related events every first Thursday. It claims to be the longest running art walk in the nation, although we’re seeing it kind of fade away recently.
First Thursday takes place each month in Seattle’s historic Pioneer Square neighborhood, from noon to 8PM.
Some of the more renowned First Thursday Galleries to visit are:
2. Greenwood Second Friday Art Walk
Phinneywood – Second Friday: A monthly art walk that promotes participating venues in the Greenwood-Phinney neighborhood of N. Seattle. Artwalk occurs the 2nd Friday of each month with a “Big One” (2-day event) that occurs each year in May. The bulk of the Greenwood Art Walk is really the Greenwood Art Collective.
3. Capital Hill Art Walk
Capitol Hill Art Walk is a community event put on each 2nd Thursday of the month by the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce (CHCC). Various galleries and shops around Capitol Hill participate every month. The spots we like to check out are:
- True Love Gallery: True Love Art Gallery is both a tattoo shop and an art gallery that hosts monthly art shows.
- Vermillion Gallery: Vermillion Gallery has been a fixture on Capital Hill for many years, and hosts art events, showings and has a nice little bar in the back (Now moved to new locations)
- Ghost Gallery Shop: Ghost Gallery has been in Seattle for over 10 years, and we hope they will survive the Covid Pandemic. They also have a nice online gallery and shop, and encourage you to by something from them.
- www.roqlarue.com : Roq La Rue, run by Kirsten Anderson, has been a fixture in Seattle for over 20 years, nad is one of the founders of Pop Surrealism.
4. Georgetown Art Attack - Second Saturday
The Georgetown Art Attack: held on the second Saturday each month, represents an ongoing effort by area artists to celebrate the creative diversity of Georgetown and generate public sentiment favoring preservation of this wonderful civic asset. More than 30 Georgetown enterprises participate, featuring a lively array of visual, performing, and applied arts.
Seattle Venues for Exhibiting Art
4 Culture Calls for Artists: 4 Culture has an RSS feed here to keep you apprised of upcoming opportunities for artists in the Seattle area.
Art Access: Art Access presents original art, poetry, reviews and literature, as well as provides monthly listings for the visual arts, dance, music and theater. By presenting a timely, inclusive and comprehensive guide to local art events, reproducing artworks by regional and national artists, and highlighting local business through their advertisements, Art Access promote both the arts and its community.
Festivals Directory Northwest: is a guide to festivals, fairs, bazaars and gift shows in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana. If you are an artist and are considering displaying your work in an art booth at local fairs and events, this is a very handy publication and will keep you informed of upcoming local shows and submission deadlines.
MoM (The Museum of Museums): Museum of Museums (MoM) is a contemporary art center in Seattle, Washington. Housed in a three story mid-century medical building, MoM hosts two formal exhibition spaces, three additional on-site museums, rotating installations, murals and sculpture, a theater, weekly art classes, pop-ups, and conceptual gift shop. Nearly every inch of the property is art-activated.
Artist Trust: Supporting art at its source.Artist Trust is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to supporting Washington State artists working in all creative disciplines. Founded in 1987 by a group of arts patrons and artists who were concerned about the lack of support for individual artists, Artist Trust is guided by the leadership of a Board of Trustees and a professional staff.
The Northwest Watercolor Society: was founded in Seattle, Washington, in 1939 to promote an interest in and an appreciation for watercolor as an artistic medium. The society expanded in 1992 to include members across the United States and Canada. Since then NWWS has grown steadily in membership numbers and status, earning a position as one of the ten most prominent regional societies in North America as rated by “The Artist’s Magazine”.
Arts West: is located in the heart of the West Seattle Junction at 4711 California Ave SW, and has a gallery and Theatre. Arts West is very active in promoting arts in the Seattle area, providing vibrant Theatre and a constant flow of visual arts from Seattle artists, established, midstream and emerging.
Gage Academy of Art: Is a fine art school located on Capitol Hill in Seattle, Washington specializing in drawing, painting and sculpting. The core of its programming is traditional observational training, with an emphasis on the foundational skills of figure drawing and painting. Other classes include perspective, watercolor, still-life drawing and painting, cast drawing, egg tempera, design concepts, color theory and encaustic techniques.
Local Art Blogs
This is unfortunately a dwindling list and a shell of its former self. Due in part to the Covid Pandemic, but also years of Seattle rent prices increasing to a point where artists have left Seattle in droves for more affordable places. Here’s what’s left of what was a list of a dozen blogs. (2020)
Arts 4 Culture: provides grants to individual artists and artist groups. Funds come from the use of Lodging Tax Revenues.
Glazers Camera Supply and Rental
430 8th Avenue North
Seattle, WA 98109
Glazer’s rental offers a wide array of equipment if you’re doing a special photo shoot and are missing some essential equipment. Their staff is super friendly and their prices are very reasonable. On weekends they always have deals to only pay for one day if you bring back the equipment early Monday morning. This is a great local resource for photographers!
Do you do your own printing? Are you looking for a local dealer who can supply large format giclée papers and ink for large format printers? Look no further than JVH. This friendly, family owned business will take care of all your printing supply needs.
1. JVH Technical
2. Shades of Paper
Contact: Jim Doyl
They ship nationwide and have great service and prices.
If you’re an artist or photographer that does your own printing, you should do yourself a favor and get a print RIP. What is a print RIP? It is a program that specializes in printing, so that you don’t have to print directly from Photoshop or Illustrator to print your work. It’s an added expense to your printer, but will save you countless hours of frustration with either Windows or Mac printing systems, which are frankly built and designed for home printing and document printing, but not art printing. Printing from Photoshop or Lightroom is a horrible experience, and if you do it all day long, you should get a RIP.