She’s not the only one. According to a 2020 study by Adobe, 82% of artists believe that the pandemic forever changed the way they create.
The largest global online fine art marketplace Artsy, which works with 4,000-plus galleries, auction houses, art fairs, and institutions in more than 100 countries, saw its total volume of ecommerce sales more than double from 2019 to 2020 — a 150% year-over-year increase. Artsy research shows that 90% of its collectors surveyed between the ages of 18 and 44 have purchased art online, and primarily on their phones. According to Instagram, more than two-thirds of its users come to the platform specifically to interact with creatives.
These trends point to the emergence of a new creative economy, powered by digital technology, in which more creators are finding opportunities to earn income from their work by connecting directly with audiences online. The UN recently declared 2021 the International Year of the Creative Economy for Sustainable Development, noting the economic and cultural importance of the arts in the wake of the devastating impacts of COVID-19 and the significant role creative industries have played in the world’s digital transformation.
“The pandemic accelerated the rock that we were already pushing up that hill to make the art space more democratized and transparent,” says Everette Taylor, chief marketing officer at Artsy. “Creators have more platforms than ever to showcase their creativity and make a living off their work.”
Emerging platforms for creatives
As with industries like retail and healthcare, the COVID-19 crisis may prove an inflection point for digital transformation in the creative world.
“I think the pandemic emphasized trends that were already in front of us: remote work, creation of digital experiences, virtual events and productions, podcasts and streaming,” says Josh St. John, head of creators, global product planning and industry strategy at HP. “As much as this past year was a source of tension and isolation, it was also an opportunity for inspiration.”