Friday, 8 September 2017

Tumbling Blackberries: Gallery Awareness

"Blackberry Tumble"

I love Autumn. The seasons changing bring whole new ideas for my work and I am very excited at the thought of delving into the more golden shades on my palette.  But for my blog post today I thought I would share an experience from this week that has given me food for thought. Regarding galleries and how they represent their artists.

I am very lucky in that I am represented by fabulous galleries, run by extremely professional and enthusiastic owners who love my work and showcase it well. Which in turn leads to sales. I support them by forwarding clients who wish to buy my art. As my work is physically in their gallery. If it is a painting someone has seen on my web site and it is still available I also put the prospective buyer in touch with a gallery. I don't handle sales personally. Even though it means losing part of the sale price to commission. I think this is worth it for the support, exposure and privilege of being on display throughout the year.

Recently I have been contacted by a number of galleries, new to me, who wish to represent me. But one really was fascinating in what was needed of me. Firstly a contract was forwarded which I would have had no problems signing. I think it is fair in business to know exactly what is expected of you as an artist and to know what support is being given from the gallery to you. 

From the glowing first email I thought I was dealing with a gallery who loved my work and wished to show it. The correspondence looked extremely professional and gained my attention. Initially. But things didn't seem right after a while. And from after a few questions being asked of the gallery, by me.

If I signed the contract I would be given a link to a web site and from there expected to upload my own art. Which would be for sale online. Alarm bells rang.

I notified the gallery immediately explaining I only work with galleries who physically show my work. Of course I am  over the moon for it to be on their web site as well because they physically represent me.

The gallery was very helpful.

Their response was that I could send a piece of my art, wrapped in cellophane,  to go in the gallery browser and then my work  would be physically in the gallery . Meaning my name could then be on their web site. As they would then be representing me. Alternatively I could have one painting in an upcoming exhibition they were holding. 


So from the initial " We love your art" opening message it appears  actually, what was of more interest was my name being added to a long list of artists who are already represented by the gallery.  And I would be expected to upload images of work for sale on the gallery web site. An area of time I don't have as I find it difficult to constantly update my own web site on sales!

So basically,  I would upload my art on the gallery web site, pay for delivery of my art to the gallery if it has an interested buyer, then pay for the return of said painting if the buyer doesn't want the piece. And be on the gallery web site. Where as at the moment my work is physically on display in galleries and I don't handle sales, or delivery and collection to the buyer. I do however direct interested buyers to the galleries and they deal with the transaction from there.

I have declined the offer of being "represented" by said gallery.

But since talking to other artists it appears that many new " galleries"operate this way. They are small with little hanging space. Or non existant selling from a web site. By creating great web sites and having lots of art on them they gain sales with the artists basically doing all the work.

I might as well direct buyers of my art to my own web site or to galleries who have so much confidence in  my paintings that they wish to display them.

Perhaps this is a sign of the future as so many galleries are closing. Which brings me to my main point of not selling work privately. Unless as artists we support the "real" galleries they will eventually become extinct. Being taken over by non existent ones who do business without a buyer even having had the chance to see a real painting.

I wonder how many artists, especially new ones,  feel so excited to be  wanted or just to see their name on line on a "gallery" web site?

Not this one!

There is a risk also of not being wanted by a real gallery in a location because you are on so many web sites they feel you are already over represented.

I will stay with physically showing my art! 

And to any real galleries who may wish to represent me please get in touch. But only if you want my art physically on show. Then and only then would I promote you, support you and do everything within my power to help you sell my art!


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