You know these kind of people that make it seem like everything they touch, turns into gold? Well, we found one – an artist that is! Meet Ronald Hunter. Ronald is a very successful Dutch artist-entepreneur that has perfected the mix between artistic talent and business sense. Since the start of his artistic journey 3,5 years ago, Ronald Hunter has sold hundreds of paintings internationally, prefers to be called an entrepreneur instead of an artist and recently opened his own gallery in Rotterdam! Next time you go to Rotterdam, you better pop by ? .
“You can sell anything on the Internet – except for ART!”
Ronald Hunter is young and highly talented entrepreneurial artist. He has only taken the jump into his artistic career 3.5 years ago, but he has achieved plenty of things since then. Back in the days, Ronald Hunter worked as a graphic designer. Today, this is still a big source of inspiration for his art. So, how did Ronald take the step from a graphic designer to an artist career? Ronald explains us that he wanted to create something that he could sell. He was looking for a cool product to put on the market. Whether that would be clothing, furniture, anything would do. Of course, the internet offers unlimited possibilities to be creative in what you can sell. So, how did he get to the point where he decided to take make art his life?
Ronald had painted several times, but becoming a full-time artist was not necessarily the first thing on the list. But, during his research and exploration to find a great product to sell online, he recognized the challenge of selling art online. So, out of all the things you can you can sell online, Ronald Hunter decided to start selling art! We smile, because at accessART we know that feeling too well ? . Ronald emphasizes: “you can sell literally anything online… except for ART. But, what would be a life without a small challenge, right!”
Ronald Hunter got excited about the challenge, started experimenting and mastered the “art” of online art sales in no-time. He is one of the artists that proves that selling art online is not impossible, it is reality.
How to make art a business
We ask Ronald Hunter how many paintings he sells a year. It turns that a couple hundred paintings per year are decorating people’s homes! Ronald does a couple of things very well. First of all, he sells a variety of small and larger paintings. This way, anybody can enjoy his artworks no matter how big your home.
Secondly, Ronald’s paintings are relatively low priced when compared to the artworks of other painters. This makes it very attractive for buyers to buy his artworks. But how does he make this a profitable business? Ronald explains us that he sells a lot of paintings per year. He does not make artworks to store them in his studio, but he wants to go out and decorate some walls! Because he is selling this many works, he is able to negotiate great deals with shipment and packaging companies. These amounts also make it cheaper to buy the art supplies. In addition to this, using the same size canvas helps a lot. This way, you can order the cardboard boxes ready-made and you do not have to customize a box for every single artwork you make. Some good tips to take into consideration from this artsy businessman.
And last but not least, Ronald realizes that although the painting is a crucial part of the business, 50% or even more is the rest; marketing your artworks, knowing how to tell your story and be able to engage people. In Ronald Hunter’s opinion, just creating art is not enough.
Ronald Hunter – From zero to (art) hero
At accesssART, often we see artists that are just starting to make their name but are already trying to sell their works for €1500. But paying more than €1000 for an unknown artist, is this realistic? We don’t think so! Ronald Hunter realized this as well, and started small.
The first painting that Ronald Hunter sold had a price tag of just 150 euro – including shipping costs. After you deduct the working hours, shipping costs and costs for materials used, you can imagine that there was not a lot of profit. But what happened? Ronald had a long term vision. He wanted people to get to know him and his works and establish a name. We discussed an example of musicians. Usually, they graduate from art school and play for free for a long time. While building up their reputation and promoting their selves, they grow. They may have a side job and besides that play music. Being a garage band or playing on weddings is often the first step in their career (not the last one). Everyone got to start somewhere!
Many artist do not want to do it this way though. It is a rocky road to take, it needs a lot of unpaid working hours and you will not make a living out of your passion at the beginning. Nevertheless, you are getting more known each and every single time when someone buys your painting and tells other people about it. And who knows what this may cause in the future. The person who bought the first painting from Ronald Hunter just recently bought a second one, and this time Hunter got some profit out it!
The motto: even if his first painting did not make Ronald a millionaire, he can now make art full-time and make his living out of it.
Thoughts about Galleries
Ronald Hunter is not a big fan of traditional galleries. He thinks that art galleries are something that people do not want to step into. Preconceptions about galleries selling only expensive art seem to be scaring people away from them. On top of that, the traditional art market is crumbling down. As Ronald Hunter says, people do not buy art as an investment anymore. Therefore, the golden age of galleries is long gone. Atist need to realize this and don’t miss out on this trend.
Despite all this, Ronald Hunter has now opened his own gallery! But he does not like to call it a gallery ? . He likes to call his “gallery” an art shop. It is a place where he presents his artworks with a group of other artists. All of them present different styles and different price ranges. Something for everyone. Ronald Hunter wants to sell art as it should be sold; original art with reasonable price, painted with high quality materials. This sounds like a nice art shop to pay a visit, am I right?
Life in 5 years…?
In 3.5 years Ronald Hunter has become an internationally known artist, selling hundreds of paintings a year, having his own art shop (gallery) with fellow artists and having his own film festival (It started as a joke on his birthday but now he is organizing it for the third time! 40 short films in 1.5 hours.) and above all, he masters the art of selling art online. This man seems to be having a golden touch on things he starts doing!
We ask him what he’s proud of. Ronald explains that his proudest moment till now was the opening of his own gallery. Many artists do not have one even after years of doing art! So, even though the past seems great, what will the future bring for this hardworking entrepreneur? In 5 years he would like to be more organized and have more time for things that he wants to do. Ronald Hunter also wants to grow his art shop and work together with more artists who share the same vision as he has. As an artist he would want to grow with wider span, to start working with more detailed artworks. Grow into it as it is something very different from what he does now.
Whatever this man decides to do in 5, 10, 15 years it will turn out to be a success for sure! We wish him plenty of success in his career and a lot of art sales to keep his dreams growing bigger and bigger with time. Thanks for a great interview Ronald!