Report: #931256

Complaint Review: Fine Art America

  • Submitted: Wed, August 22, 2012
  • Updated: Tue, April 19, 2016
  • Reported By: Fine Art Artist — Louisville Kentucky United States of America
  • Fine Art America
    2103 Brentwood Street
    United States of America

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Fine Art America Owner, "Sean B.", has closed the account of another artist today.

The artist had sold a print that was 108 x 20. The artist has a distinguished vintage style using a technique that incorporates graininess and blurring into the images. The artist received a congratulatory email from Fine Art America, encouraging said artist to post the sale to Facebook, and other networking sites.

Shortly thereafter, one of the Fine Art America staff members emailed the artist to state that they were having issues with their image quality, and that a photo of higher resolution would need to be resubmitted.

The artist replied, stating that what the staff was seeing was not a lack of quality, but an intentional and deliberate edit that purposefully integrated that particular style into the image. The photo was taken with a DSLR and a new 50 MM 1.8. It was also taken in the rain and there was a heavy mist abounding. The would-be buyer was attracted to the print not only by the subject, but by the mood as well, which was enhanced by the antiquated post processing: it was a B&W landscape.

The artist received another email from the staff member, Dawn, stating that she too is a photographer, and in a nutshell, she "knew what she was talking about" and so on. She advised the artist to go out and reshoot the shot and reupload it, all the while, the buyer had no idea that the Fine Art America staff was intending to sell the buyer a different photograph than the one he thought he would be purchasing. The artist was appalled at the practices of Fine Art America. 

The artist emailed Dawn back and was resolute in the fact that the artist would NOT be reshooting the image, as it would be unfair and dishonest to the would-be buyer. The artist was absolutely flabberghasted that Fine Art America would be so dishonest in their business dealings: The artist lost all respect for Fine Art America. The artist did not meet the deadline for resubmitting a new image, and darn proud of it. Fine Art America contacted the would-be buyer of the 9 ft. print, misconstreuding the situation to the buyer and completely ommitting information and the artistic intentions of the artist regarding processing. Fine Art America was one-sided in their explanations. In short, they presented the would-be buyer with loaded bits of information, encouraging the buyer to cancel his order. Naturally, the buyer cancelled his order.

The artist was outraged, and rightly so.

Shortly thereafter, the owner, Sean B. emailed the artist. The tone of the email was condescending, and Sean B. refused to make any ammends, retributions, or compensations for such gross treatment of one of their artists.

Fine Art America did not only cancel an order that had no pixelation or mutilation of artifacts in the image, they are now misrepresenting their website policies altogether by disallowing the artist to rightly interpret ans sell his or her own art.

The artist told the owner that a Ripoff report would be filed.

The artist received an email from the owner Sean B. stating that he was going to close the artist's account, and that it just "wasn't working out" between them. The artist was infuriated and told the owner of Fine Art America that he better not close the account, as the artist didn't request anyone to close it, nor had any rules been broken.

The artist received an email from Sean. B. stating that the artist's account had been closed.

The owner of Fine Art America clearly wanted to simply "wash his hands" of an unpleasant situation, rather than uphold standards that are typically found at even substandard sites.

Fine Art America has proved to be a company that discriminates artists and "hand-selects" the ones who are and are not allowed to participate, according to the owner's personal likes and dislikes. Their actions are grossly discriminating, unethical, abusive, and highly unprofessional.


At any time, the owner, Sean B., can send you an email, and for whatever reason, simply close your account, without so much as giving the artist adequate time to remove his or her images that he or she may have posted over the course of several years; and the only reason being, "It's just not working out between us".

********************************** is the # 1 art site in the world (and for good reason). I do not work for Redbubble, but have seven years of experience at the website as an artist. I've never had a better experience anywhere, and have had over 70 sales there. The community is friendly, the staff are always helpful, and they treat the artists with understanding and respect.

I've never had a worse experience with any website owner in my life, anywhere, than that of Sean. B. (owner) of Fine Art America.

If you're looking for a rewarding place to sell your fine art prints, Redbubble blows Fine Art America out of the water.

For the record, I've only had one sale at Fine Art America in three years.
Again- over 70 at Redbubble.

Redbubble is free (whereas Fine Art America charges their artists), and the traffic flow at Redbubble is significantly heavier than that of Fine Art America. If you're wanting to mix with artists, Fine Art America would suffice. But if you're wanting to sell your prints and actually make money, there's no comparison:Redbubble wins- hands down.

To sign on for a free account, you can go here:

And again Sean B. and Fine Art America, shame on you for treating one of your (x) veteran artists with such disrespect, tact, and a lack of integrity.

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 08/22/2012 09:26 PM and is a permanent record located here: The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year. Ripoff Report has an exclusive license to this report. It may not be copied without the written permission of Ripoff Report. READ: Foreign websites steal our content

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#1 Consumer Comment

Clarification, I'm NOT the owner

AUTHOR: Wingsdomain Art and Photography - (USA)

A clarification to my previous comment, I AM NOT THE "OWNER of COMPANY"!  For some reason, the moderator of this site has labeled my previous comment as the "owner of company", I am certainly not.  I am an creative artist and photographer that uses fineartamerica to sell sell my unique brand of art photography prints, as well as buy from other artists on that site.  -W







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#2 REBUTTAL Owner of company

Fineartamerica is a Win Win for Artists and Buyers

AUTHOR: Wingsdomain Art and Photography - (USA)

I am an artist and buyer at fineartamerica, and from my 10+ years of selling prints and other art items online of my unique style of art and photography on fineartamerica and numerous other sites such as redbubble, imagekind, zazzle, etc, I've found fineartamerica to be the fairest and most honest of them all.  And they sell thousands of art prints each day to thousands of satisfied customers, myself included since I also buy art and photography prints from other artists there.  You can't please everyone and those limited few who's had minor difficulties at any site will be the only one's posting their minor grievances online to blow off steam, you seldom hear someone go online to compliment anyone these days!  The fact that fineartamerica remains the number 1 site for both artists and buyers by a great margin goes a long way to show just how superior in both creativity and quality fineartamerica products are.  I've easily sold at a margin of 1,000 to 1 when comparing fineartamerica to all of the other sites I'm selling on, combined!





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#3 Consumer Comment

Regarding Sales at Fine Art America

AUTHOR: Marius Sipa - (USA)

I read the complete complaint and all the responses and I'd like to add my long term experience with Fine Art America. I'm a professional photographer who has had a pro account at FAA since December, 2011. In this time I've made a total of fifteen sales, the lowest being $.25 for a post card and the highest being $177. The average is between $25-50 per sale. These kinds of sales are dismal to say the least, but I kept my account open because the sales at least covered the yearly membership fee. Additionally, I was hoping that having my photography on the site would provide additional exposure. This year however, I've let my membership lapse because it really doesn't seem to add or diminish my exposure, considering there are better options in having my photography seen out there, a Facebook fan page being one. The exposure isn't really there, mainly because the majority of FAA users are actually artists themselves, and the ratio of artists to fine art collectors (i.e. buyers) is very very low.

The reason I'm writing this rebuttal is two-fold. One, I saw a post that listed an artist's sales as if printed directly from the website. My collegues and I don't buy it. The report shows multiple sales every day, and income in the thousands. In no way or form do we buy that as genuine. I have hundreds of friends on FAA, fellow photographers and painters who are well known in the artist community, as well as known photographers who have shot National Geographic level work. Neither myself, nor these hundreds of artists have ever seen these kinds of sales on FAA from our work. We had a good laugh and proposed a toast to the artist who posted his income report from FAA as "in the thousands" and "earning at least $1,000 every month", because he's apparently at the very apex of his game. None of us actual professional photographers can come even close to those earnings from FAA every month. We must be doing everything wrong, and we invite this artist to enlighten us on how to achieve his level of FAA success. 

Secondly, the problem we've seen and discussed amongst ourselves is that FAA's pricing scheme is actually very flawed and unequally balanced towards FAA earnings. The artist sets his own markup for each size sold, granted, but the artist must keep his markup extremely low to make a sale, because FAA's share/price is already set at the maximum of what a buyer will pay. For example, if an artist sets a markup of only $5 for an 8x10 canvas print, FAA's sales price for that print will be $52. That's a $47 markup for FAA! That means the artist earns roughly 10% of the sale. The problem is that a buyer will rarely pay $52 for an 8x10 canvas print. FAA needs to change their, what I would consider greedy, pricing scheme, not only to be more fair to the artists who do the majority of the work, but also to help the artist to increase sales. Yes, FAA does handle the printing and shipping to the client, but compared to the photographer's portion of the work in getting to a location to shoot, oftentimes in remote backcountry and/or foreign lands, editing the work, and the often extensive work of simply uploading and pricing the print on FAA's website, FAA's time of printing and shipping pales in comparison.

For this reason, starting this year I will no longer be upgrading my account on FAA. I hope others follow suit until FAA changes this method of doing business.

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#4 Consumer Comment

*Not* 1 out of a 120,000

AUTHOR: Zetau - ()

This is not an isolated incident.  Sean B. threatened to take my account down because I sent him an email with grievences, issues that we had discussed prior, but nothing had been done.

A female I know had her account shut down because she answered someone in the forum containing a URL.  Eventually, they reopened her account.  Shaun B. does things no one wants or expects, while ignoring member suggestions.  He's changed since we (the artists) made him a millionaire.

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#5 General Comment

Using Fine Art America

AUTHOR: JCFindley - (United States of America)

I have been selling art on Fine Art America for two years. It is hands down my most profitable venue for selling art and I would like to address a few of the issues raised by the original poster.

First of all, the OP mentions that the image in question was 108x20. FAA will allow artists to list and print images at slightly less than 100 DPI. That means that the image would have to be at least 9255 pixels wide. At the time of this writing the highest resolution DSLR on the market is the Nikon D800 and it has a maximum image size that is 6144 pixels on the long side which is considerably less than 9255. That means the OP enlarged the image using some sort of software. 

Here is a quote on FAA's image upload page. It is clearly stated and in a prominent spot where it should be seen;

"This is the #1 mistake made by artists and photographers.   Do not enlarge your images in Photoshop or any other photo-editing program.   When you enlarge an image, the image instantly becomes blurry, blocky, and unprintable.   The small image that appears on our website will still look OK, but when you zoom in and look at the high resolution version, you'll see that it's blurry and blocky.   If your image is blurry and blocky, we can't use it to produce a print.   If you want a larger image, then you need to purchase a higher-resolution digital camera or scanner."

What has happened here is the OP did not follow a clearly stated rule and has chosen to blame FAA for their own lack of following protocol.

Since the OP has mentioned Redbubble I would like to address that as well. Redbubble is a fine company for what it does but lets compare apples to apples here. Redbubble uses a percentage based markup system. What that means is if you price small prints to be in the market range of $30 then your large prints are in the thousands. If you choose to set your large prints at market price then an 8x12 will end up around $7. I found an artist that sells both on FAA and RB and compared 8x12 prints of the same image. On RB the price is $7.70, which means the artist will make around a buck if it sells at that size. The very same image on FAA in the very same size is $47 in which the artist will make $35. Yes, you can set your prices on an 8x12 on RB to be the same as FAA but then your 30 inch prints will be way above what most people will pay.

OK, so the OP here has made 70 sales on RB in 7 years but at what sizes where those images sold and how much did he or she average per sale? 70 images in 7 years is less than one sale per month which is fine but I have had over 300 at FAA in two years. More importantly for me, my net income per sale is considerably higher than I would get at most Print on Demand art sizes. I have netted over $300 on a single image sale at FAA. How many images would I have to sell on Redbubble to beat that single sale? OK, 300/sale is not my norm on FAA but it happens on a fairly regular basis and more important than any single sale is the net income/month. Last year I averaged $1000/month on FAA. The royalty deposit for 15 Nov-15 Dec was $2126.38. When it comes down to it, the number of sales someone has is almost completely irrelevant when compared to the net income which is really what an artist is trying to raise. Yeah, it feels good to sell a card and be able to buy a small cup of coffee with the money. It feels better to pay the rent.

I have posted a screen capture of my FAA balance spread sheet from mid December as well.

JC Findley

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#6 Consumer Comment

Fine Art America is a Scam

AUTHOR: HDSpec - (United States of America)

Don't waste your money or your time on Fine Art America.  They are a typical flakey dot com straight out of the early 2000 era with a very poor business acumen.  A word to the wise is usually sufficient as Fine Art America is not a credible online venue for serious artists or photographers.  Fine Art America is full of internal shortcomings at the order and product fulfillment levels.  I finally had to take all my works off of their site and close my account due to their lack of commitment to appropriate customer relations, product quality and business integrity.  On all three levels ,Fine Art America fails miserably.  If you are someone who has clients who are depending on you for mission critical, high quality photo or art works in a timely manner,  do not tie the fate of your success to Fine Art America.  They will simply hurt your reputation while refusing to accept any accountability for their personal shortcomings.

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#7 Consumer Comment

So, what *ARE* the image requirements for FAA?

AUTHOR: Tony - (United States of America)

I'm considering FAA.  I'm souring on it, because nowhere does it state what the requirements actually *ARE* for its digital images.  One is left on their own to figure this out, often after a sale has been made, resulting in the loss of the sale.  That is far from professional, and far from a problem for one in 120,000.  Any cursory google search will reveal many instances of lost sales due to the inability of the artist to decipher what Sean B wants, and how to achieve it, if one is lucky enough to decipher his desires precisely.

FAA needs to face the fact that artists need to get or become professional photographers in order to use its site successfully.  FAA needs to stop pretending that the artists can hide from this fact, since they will discover it eventually, anyway, once they sell something.   The FAA experience seems to be a sort of "bait and switch" for the artist, frankly, and is anything but professional. 

FAA will say they have had many discussions of the issue, and point you to 5-10 discussions in their discussion room.  This is a red herring.  These discussions lead to dead ends, and it is silly and unprofesisonal to expect artists to tutor themselves into beomcing professional photographers by sifting through discussions.  Think about it:  not many things are learned by listening to others discuss it.  Usually new concepts are taught, at best one-on-one, rather than discussed and witnessed.

It would be a simple matter to list the requirements for images, so each new artist doesn't have to "reinvent the wheel".  I wish FAA would do this.  It would earn my business.
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#8 Consumer Comment

One Negative Experience By One Of 120,00

AUTHOR: Robert Kernodle - (United States of America)

The huge, red typeface of this Rip Off Report seems to glorify and exagerate the negative experience of only one artist among over 120,000 artists at

I, therefore, do not recommend using this one report as the deciding factor to join or not to join an art website that I have experienced very positively. 
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