First things first. If you have reliable and productive art representation. Congratulations!
If art galleries and or art representatives are generating enough income for you, you should treasure and nurture that relationship and appreciate that you are in the rare minority.
That said. Artists should be aware of the hazards of representation.
I tried the conventional approach of art representation to sell my paintings but I soon discovered the hazards.
- Sometimes I could find representation or not
- Sometimes I got paid or not
- Sometimes I was able to show new work or not
- Sometimes I had a showing or not
- Sometimes my work was sold at the retail price I defined and not discounted or not
- Sometimes other artists were not jealous of my successes or not
- Sometimes my representative absorbed the discount or not
- Sometimes I was treated with professional respect or not
- Sometimes I got my paintings back or not
- Sometimes I got my paintings back undamaged or not
- Sometimes representatives encouraged my seeking additional representation or not
- Sometimes representatives encouraged my selling directly to collectors or not
- Sometimes representatives encouraged me to sell my paintings on my website or not
- Sometimes I would know who bought my paintings, as California law provides or not
- Sometimes my new artistic directions would be embraced or not
- Sometime gallery owners were frustrated artists themselves or not
I hear artists complain that a gallery takes 50% of the sale. This is a standard retail percentage and I have absolutely no qualms with representatives getting paid their due, as long as they pay artists in a timely manner.
The harsh reality is clear. The art market is over saturated with talent and it is a product for the luxury market that is difficult to reach.
Art schools do not prepare students for the business of art. In fact, they confuse them by leading them into thinking that they have a career.
There’s a big difference in the skills and knowledge required to be an entrepreneur versus building a career.
How do I know the difference? If you have a career you are an employee who receives a regular paycheck.
What’s an artist to do? Embrace business and celebrate innovative strategic marketing because that’s what selling art is. It’s a business, a big business.
If you don’t know where to start, start here by reading Artists Who THRIVE or apply to enroll in Making Art/Making Money.
Trackback from your site.