New York Times - Retiring
By AMY ZIPKIN FEB. 9, 2018
Suzanne Massion has been making art her whole life.
Ms. Massion, now 72 and living outside Chicago, said she couldn’t remember a time when she didn’t paint or draw — including her young adult years, which she spent on a dairy farm, and her time selling annuities for a savings and loan. For the last quarter-century, however, her artworkhas become more than just a hobby. It’s now her main endeavor.
But relying solely on the traditional brick-and-mortar gallery to sell her art isn’t working for her anymore. In October, after going nearly two years without a sale at a gallery where she had a nine-year relationship with the owner, she decided to market her pieces more energetically online.
Ms. Massion now exhibits primarily at www.ugallery.com, a San Francisco-based juried site, expanding from a small presence there. And she has gotten results: She sold four pieces from the site in December alone.
Ms. Massion is following a path taken by other older artists who, eager to continue creating and attempting to earn a living from art in their retirement, are turning to online sales to supplement or replace their gallery ties. With the change, older artists are having to learn to engage with an ever-widening pool of buyers on the internet.
The experience can be unsettling, she said.
“Going online and selling online was for me hitting a brick wall. The technological aspect of selling art online was foreign to me,” said Ms. Massion, who had a steep learning curve, starting with learning how to upload digital images.
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