There is a gallery in Eugene with more than 66,000 paintings from over 900 artists. That’s twice as many artworks than are currently on display in the Louvre Museum. You’re not going to find Daily Paintworks on any art walk, however, because it’s in the cloud; it’s online.
“The internet is transforming art — the art industry — just the way it has with music and publishing,” David Marine, co-founder of Daily Paintworks, says.
Daily Paintworks comes from an idea credited to artist Duane Kaiser: If a fine arts painter wants to make a living, the painter should complete at least one small painting a day, post it online and try to sell it at an affordable price (around $100) via sites like eBay. Daily Paintworks multiplied this idea, ushering in artists and buyers from around the world, from Eugene to India. The online gallery, as a result, has been a success, but it wasn’t always so.
The Marines relocated to Eugene a year ago after a devastating fire in Central Texas swallowed their home. “We didn’t lose anybody, but we lost everything,” Marine says of he and his wife and fellow co-founder, Carol Marine. He looks at the fire as part blessing. He had been a woodworker in Eugene in the ’90s and had always wanted to return. It was around that time that Marine was ready to shutter Daily Paintworks. At that stage, the site was an invitation-only collective, like similar sites, and thus only 50 painters were selling their work. It wasn’t sustainable.
“I was ready to completely give up on Daily Paintworks,” Marine says. “There was a point where we realized that what buyers wanted was different from what artists wanted. Artists wanted to be part of this exclusive club. Buyers wanted to go to a place where they had a lot of selection.” Carol Marine suggested turning the collective into a business by opening up membership and charging artists $12.95 a month to host their work. Soon membership ballooned from 50 to more 900 artists, and the site’s unique visitors per day grew from 200 to 10,000.
Marine says that this business model works in the favor of buyers and artists. Compared to brick-and-mortar galleries that charge 50 percent commission and feature the “top, thinnest slice of talented artists,” and eBay, which charges 9 percent commission, Daily Paintworks charges 3 percent. In a town where artists can’t find enough buyers, the Marines may be on to something.
“Eugene has a lot of artists but there’s nobody to buy the work,” says Sabrina Ridge, a local artist and owner of Poppy & Moe (a screenprint T-shirt company). “If you want to make money as an artist in Eugene, you have to get your art out of Eugene.”
Carol Marine paints five to seven paintings a week and sells them across the globe for $150 to $250 each on DailyPaintworks.com. Local painter and member Sarah Sedwick (see Cezanne’s Greetings, Nov. 15) also uses the site to sell her work. But it’s not just the international reach and open membership, Marine says, that has made the site a success. “We put a lot of effort in attending to our members and our buyers,” he says of the family-run business. “We want to be beloved.”
For more information, visit dailypaintworks.com