The Art Biz ep. 132: Not All Online Galleries are Created Equal with Alex Farkas

Anyone can open up a gallery—real or virtual—and start selling art. I mean anyone.

You don’t have to hold a degree or pass a test. You don’t have to have ethics or morals or know anything at all about art.

Acrylic painting of tropical fruits in bright colors artist Julia Hacker | on Art Biz Success
©Julia Hacker, Between a Rock and a Sky. Acrylic on stretched canvas, 30 x 30 x 1.5 inches. Julia's art can be found on UGallery.

I can’t tell you how many pitches I have received over the years from startup galleries ready to take your money and wanting me to help them sign you up. I passed on 100% of those. (You’re welcome.)

But I am impressed by the services one online space has been providing artists and clients since 2006. 

On this episode of The Art Biz, I’m joined by Alex Farkas, founder of UGallery.com.

I want to be clear that I am not doing a commercial for UGallery. My intention is to show you that there are good people out there who can help you sell your art. Alex and his team are but one of them.

Their business model feels different from many (most) of the other online galleries. They know art. They curate the work so there aren’t thousands of random artists competing for eyeballs.

UGallery is paid on commission, so they only make money if art sells. They invest in marketing to help sell more art. They are looking for relationships with their artists and nurture their artists to help them sell better online.

The focus of UGallery is on painting, but you should listen to their story even if you are not a painter because you need to know that there are people and companies out there who are on your side and doing things the right way.

Listen to the Podcast

📄 This Week's Assignment

Assess where you show and sell your art.

Consider what venues you are (and aren’t) working for and why? How can you find more of the right places?

I can’t recommend highly enough these two blog posts featuring artist Liz Crain who did the eye-opening math for her venues.

And a couple related episodes:

New for 2023: the Art Biz Accelerator

for busy artists who like knowing there is someone nearby to help

OPENING SOON

Highlights

  • The beginnings of the UGallery journey. (2:53)
  • Storytelling to promote UGallery artists and their work. (4:39)
  • Curating art on the website in non-traditional ways. (7:19)
  • The process of finding and connecting with artists. (11:05)
  • Working with artists to help them succeed. (16:10)
  • What is selling at UGallery? (19:09)
  • Finding and marketing to clients. (20:36)
  • Artist to customer—the order fulfillment process. (23:09)
  • Maintaining ecommerce platforms and client relationships. (28:00)
  • Mistakes that many artists make when applying to UGallery. (33:55)
  • Tips for a better online presentation and ecommerce platform. (36:22)
  • What’s coming next for UGallery. (38:30)
blue painting hanging on a white wall in a living room | on Art Biz Success
Art by Mary Pratt installed in a client's home. Image courtesy of Mary Pratt and UGallery.

Alex Farkas Quotes

  • “It’s important that we find ways to combine the old school aspects of a gallery with the new school aspects of the technology that we use.”
  • “We see this as a partnership. We don’t succeed unless the artists succeed.”
  • “Part of the relationship is making sure that artists understand if they put the time and money in upfront, it comes back out later.”
  • “Think about what you’re trying to accomplish and what your goal is, and then work from there.”

About My Guest

Alex Farkas is the Gallery Director of UGallery. His love of art traces back to his hometown, Jerome, a tiny arts community in northern Arizona.

Alex grew up creating sculptures in his uncle's woodworking studio and learning about the art business in his mother's gallery. He co-founded UGallery in 2006 with the goal of helping emerging artists connect with patrons.

As one of the first ever online art galleries, UGallery significantly improved the opportunities available for artists. The gallery has been featured in the New York Times, Vogue, and Art in America. He currently lives, and UGallery is based, in San Francisco.

Follow UGallery on Instagram @ugallery

white man with short dark hair and black rimmed glasses Alex Farkas | on Art Biz Success

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3 thoughts on “The Art Biz ep. 132: Not All Online Galleries are Created Equal with Alex Farkas”

  1. Great episode. I’ve been with Ugallery for many years and they have always been wonderful to work with. Their shipping boxes are fantastic and they are very committed to their artists.

    1. Alyson Stanfield

      So great to hear that you have a good experience with them, Shannon. I am always so dubious, but I like what I see with them.

  2. Great episode. I was impressed with the structure, professionalism and clearly delineated descriptions of everything from the idea for UGallery to its careful execution. Really love the dea of the professional shipping boxes and prepaid shipping labels for the art…offering a convenient, consistently professional and non-messy for the artists (who know how their work will be presented) and for the collector. I repsect Ugallery’s providing a high level of service and information as well as ACTIVELY cultivating an audience for the work. Thanks so much Alex. And Alyson of course!

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