It all began with Artist Trading Cards. Back in 2004, local painter Lisa Luree had already started selling her full-size paintings online when customers began asking if she made Artist Trading Cards, those two-and-a-half by three-and-a-half-inch pieces that artists generally traded. Luree asked her online art community if other artists would be interested in selling their ATCs on eBay -- but the initial response wasn't great.
"I got really bad reactions because the spirit of the cards is that they are just to be traded," says Luree. But her customers wanted them and Luree saw an opportunity: "It just didn't make sense to me -- I'm an artist, this is what I do."
So she developed Art Cards, Editions and Originals, or ACEOs -- a variation on ATCs -- and her business took off. Other artists and customers loved the idea of these small works of art for sale, and a community of ACEO buyers and sellers sprung up on eBay. "It was good for the artist and it was good for the clients, because they were excited to get these cool little pieces of art that they could collect more easily than larger works," says Luree, whose work can be found on eBay under the name bone*diva.
The community that grew around ACEO buying and selling today has around 5,000 members. In 2006, eBay gave Luree the Community Hall of Fame Award for bringing so much traffic to the site through her ACEO group.
Luree had discovered in the late '90s that you could buy and sell art on eBay; in the pre-Facebook era of the Internet, eBay acted as a gathering place for artists in the same way that the current social networking group functions do. But Luree remembers that putting her art out there was intimidating.
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"It was kind of scary -- that first painting you put up, it's like showing the world your first work," says Luree. "But I put it up and it sold. A light went on -- I thought wow, I can make money on eBay with my art. It was really exciting." Through eBay, Luree was also able to cultivate relationships with other artists as well as build a global client base.
There are some drawbacks to online selling, though. Luree artist uses a lot of foils and iridescent pigments in her work, elements that don't get a chance to shine in online photographs. And recently, she's began to show her work in local galleries, for the first time stepping out into the tangible world as an artist.
Last month she wrapped up a show at Valkarie Fine Gallery and Studio in Belmar, where she is now a member and has another show planned for February. Luree has also had her work shown at the Lakewood Cultural Center and plans to connect with more galleries as she continues this transition into the in-person art world. In the meantime, see more of Lisa Luree's work on her website and, of course, on eBay.
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