Global art fans look to North East

ART lovers from across the globe are beating a path to the door of Northumberland wildlife painter, with online sales soaring.

ART lovers from across the globe are beating a path to the door of Northumberland wildlife painter, with online sales soaring.

Mary Ann Rogers, from West Woodburn, north of Hexham, says online orders have surged to now make up 15% to 20% of her business, with work regularly exported to Europe, Australia, the USA, the UAE and more recently South Africa.

“I prefer not to do commissions,” said Rogers, who specialises in watercolours and prints of foxhounds, hares and exotic animals.

“However, I now estimate I sell at least one original painting per month where the buyer hasn’t seen the painting ‘in the flesh’ and the transaction has been done online.”

The marogers.com website has now become the artist’s main marketing tool and a prime source of feedback, with Rogers developed her database of clients into a cost-effective market research tool.

The explosion of interest in social networking has also become a valuable – and immediate – method to find out what people want, with the keen Facebook user soon to launch a Mary Ann Rogers Gallery page on the site.

“The beauty of Facebook is that people respond in an informal way to new paintings, prints, new ideas and even help me to make decisions about which card designs to produce,” Rogers said.

Feedback from customers has led to a diversification of the business into cards and gifts including mugs, silk scarves, jigsaws and iPhone and iPad covers.

“Enjoying art should be for everyone,” said Rogers. “Art is not restricted to walls or hidden away in books, but part of everyday life.”

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