Making a living as an artist is often a struggle. While the art pieces themselves can pull in impressive prices, there are no guarantees that one sale will lead to another. Musicians have long supplemented their income with merchandise such as T-shirts and signed posters, and now painter Sarah Ashley Longshore is bringing merch to the art world. The New Orleans-based painter recently launched her Artgasm project, which enables her to cut out the middle-man and sell limited edition art merchandise directly to collectors via annual subscriptions.
Fans of Longshore’s art can purchase one of the 250 Artgasm memberships for USD 500 per year or USD 50 per month. This will buy them four exclusive handmade gifts, such as her used paint palette or a hand painted cushion. Since there are no galleries involved, Longshore doesn’t need to provide the customary commission — often 50 percent — and is able to offer limited edition artworks at significantly lower prices. The business model could generate Longshore a guaranteed revenue of USD 125,000, and while she has no plans to create a platform, she hopes Artgasm will provide a model for other artists to copy.
We recently saw musician Ryan Leslie invite fans to purchase lifelong subscriptions to his music via his MZRT.Life album. How else could artists adapt the subscription model to suit their work?