Skip to content (Press Enter)

How to create a digital art gallery

The digital art world is booming. Never has there been a better time to venture into the metaverse and help your art reach a potentially global audience. Learn how to carve your own virtual space in this guide to starting a digital art gallery.

Store digital art safely with Dropbox
A creative works on some digital art on their iPad, synced to their Dropbox account on their computer.

In recent years, digital technologies have opened up a plethora of new creative opportunities for artists. As a result, creators are not only embracing new styles of art, but are also empowered to reach a wider audience than ever before.

The expansion of digital art hasn’t gone unnoticed by collectors and distributors. For example, the digital artist Beeple’s “EVERYDAYS: THE FIRST 5000 DAYS” became the first purely digital artwork to be offered at Christie's—selling online for a monumental $69 million in 2021. With this, Christie’s became the first auction house to accept cryptocurrency.

This impressive feat highlights that creating and collecting digital art is no longer just an ambitious idea. As this booming industry continues to grow, how can you make yourself known in an increasingly crowded virtual space? A great place to get started is by creating your own online gallery.

But, before we dive into the details of starting a digital art gallery, there’s an important question we need to answer: why take your passion for art into the online world in the first place?

Modern art: Why go digital?

Digital technologies present a range of exciting possibilities for creators and collectors alike.

The online world provides a virtual space for exhibiting and selling work—one that isn’t restricted by physical limits such as an in-person gallery.

This presents a number of benefits for creators:

  • Digital art is quicker and cheaper to create and sell than traditional, in-person methods.
  • The potential market for an artist and their work becomes almost limitless—you can reach previously untapped audiences beyond the boundaries of a city, region, or country!
  • With social media and other digital marketing tools, you can gain more exposure for your work—and for longer.
  • Interested buyers can contact you directly for an artist statement, or more information about your collection or a particular art piece, and get a quick response.

Many art collectors and distributors recognize that the industry is increasingly embracing digital art. Digital art galleries are much easier to manage and access than “real world” galleries—not to mention much more immersive, especially when virtual reality technologies are involved.

Digital art could be the solution to the provenance problem

Digital artworks avoid many of the issues associated with physical art that have been a burden on the industry for many years. Namely, digital pieces solve the problem of provenance. No drop-off or pick-up is involved with digital art, confusing its origins. “Non-fungible tokens”, or NFTs, are a great example of this. Being “non-fungible” guarantees their authenticity and uniqueness.

A creative works on some digital art on their iPad.

Tips for creating a digital art gallery

Starting an online gallery to exhibit or sell digital art will require patience and thorough planning—but it doesn't need to be excessively complicated. Read on to find a simple process for launching a digital art gallery.

1. Choose your platform

A number of options are available for hosting a digital art gallery. Which you choose will depend on your short- and long-term goals.

Additionally, if you’re going it alone, you’re probably running on a limited budget. As much as you would like to create a totally bespoke gallery experience, this may not be on the cards at this early stage—especially if you don’t have extensive web design and development experience.

The main types of platforms for virtual exhibitions and digital galleries are:

  • Standard websitesyour run-of-the-mill website will be fine for simply scrolling through static images, reading text, and submitting inquiries. But they won’t create an immersive experience, nor will they support the buying and selling of art.
  • Online art markets—some communities that market to art collectors are invitation-only, whereas other services are free or require a monthly fee.
  • Dedicated digital content platformsthese come with a range of features to suit different kinds of creators, from virtual reality and “world-building” software to solutions that provide a space for showcasing and selling digital content.

2. Choose your art

One of the primary purposes of an art gallery is to curate. So, just because you’re going digital and aren’t limited by physical space, you shouldn't show absolutely everything you’ve created or collected.

Instead, be more strategic with the art you choose. Emphasize your most important or standout pieces—ideally the ones that reflect your artistic style or creative vision in the most meaningful way for your intended audience.

If you have a large amount of artwork ready to go—great! You’ll have plenty of pieces lined up once you start selling. You could consider curating your work into collections or categories grouped by a theme, such as “love” or “humor”.

Similarly, if you’ve produced commissioned work or one-off art pieces, you may want to display the pieces you’re particularly proud of to show off your talents.

All your images need to be high-resolution. You want the art community to see the complexities of your work and take in every possible detail. Prioritize making sure the pieces you’re launching your gallery with are high-quality.

However, if you want to sell digital artwork directly from your gallery, consider adding a watermark to your images. This will protect your artwork from theft or plagiarism, and ensure others don’t use it without your permission.

An artist drawing a piece of digital art on their iPad.

3. Create compelling copy

Of course, the first thing a prospective buyer or collector will notice about your art is how it looks. They might attach certain feelings or emotions to a piece, which they can’t quite explain.

This is where you come in—specifically, the descriptions you provide in the listings for your artwork. All art has a story, and this detail may be what hooks a buyer and seals the deal.

Every listing in your digital art gallery should have strong supporting copy. This should not only describe what’s happening in the piece or the story behind it, but also its technical details such as its dimensions.

Before you publish your listings, it’s a good idea to ideate your copy. Brainstorm your ideas and keep track of your drafts in Dropbox Paper. Then invite trusted peers to provide feedback, so you don’t end up publishing any embarrassing typos!

4. Work on your marketing

Social media is probably going to be your most powerful marketing tool. Hosting your own digital gallery, you won’t have the same resources as a major industry name, museum, or distributor.

Building your reputation and reaching your intended audience probably won’t be a one-time effort with overnight results. You’ll need a long-term strategy, which lays out who your audience is and how you’ll attract them to your gallery. 

Does your audience use a variety of social media, or just one platform like TikTok? Will they engage with email newsletters? And what about the content on your website—will you have the time to manage a blog? Regularly writing on a blog can be a great way to showcase your expertise by discussing topics and trends in the art industry.

If you’re in a creative partnership, use a collaboration tool like Dropbox Paper to share ideas and fine-tune your marketing messages. Create a to-do list to manage your marketing tasks and keep track of progress.

Social media is integral in the digital art world—and, like the industry itself, it’s incredibly competitive. Without representation from an existing gallery, you’re responsible for your own promotion. Video content such as Instagram Reels presents an opportunity to get creative with your marketing efforts.

As part of your video production process, finalize your videos and produce your best work with tools like Dropbox Replay. Share videos for review with just a link, and receive frame-accurate feedback with on-screen markups. Meaning, you can spend less time sorting through feedback on your marketing, and more time creating or curating the art you love.

Craft your digital art gallery toolkit

To take your digital art gallery from an idea to a successful venture, you’ll need an innovative suite of tools. With Dropbox, you can plan and manage your gallery from one place.

By using Dropbox as your base, you can:

  • Create a centralized space for fleshing out new ideas and development plans
  • Use brainstorming templates, manage projects with to-do lists, and gather feedback from peers in Dropbox Paper
  • Share marketing videos and receive frame-accurate comments and on-screen markups in Dropbox Replay
  • Protect your listings by adding watermarks to your images
  • Share invoices with buyers and request eSignatures with a simple link
  • Monitor how recipients interact with your shared content using Send and track
A screenshot of the Dropbox homepage, showing several folders containing creative files.

Plan, launch, and grow your digital art gallery—all from Dropbox

The Dropbox suite of tools and features provides the most effective base for managing your digital art gallery.

Dropbox is designed to make working as productive, creative, and efficient as possible. From storing your business plans in secure cloud storage to requesting eSignatures for commissions or invoices, Dropbox has a feature to help you take your digital art gallery to the next level.

Once your business expands, you can organize your growing team, collaborate on new content in real-time, and even back up your entire computer—just in case the worst happens, and you need to recover your files later.