The Laws of Nature

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Artists Representing Ourselves

Thanks all for a lively discussion on the last post! It was great. I'm back in Maine through Columbus Day, and living in the world of dial-up. Therefore, I haven't been able to follow some of your blogs and must apologize. I'll catch up next week.

Soon, there'll be another book to review, but first I have a few things on my mind like: representation. I don't know any artists who use an agent and the agents that have approached me all want money up front. My firm answer to that is always "No! if you want to represent me then you must take a commission from the sale of my work." Otherwise it's a scam since the agent gets paid a fee in advance and, therefore, has no incentive to sell anything.

When galleries represent me they typically take 50% and sometimes want more. And then, there's the problem of being paid in a timely manner. However, I always get a contract and review it with a fine-toothed comb. You can't be too careful these days.

So far this year I've sold 37 paintings, mostly through galleries. In 2009 I sold fewer paintings, but not through galleries. I haven't explored selling on e.bay or similar sites, but have read that some folks make a lot of money doing this. Sometimes I sell directly from my website, but then I have to be careful to avoid scams.

I suppose there are fortunate few who are represented by high-end galleries that only require the artist to supply them with paintings and they take care of everything else year after year. For me, it would be like winning the lottery. If only I could stay in my studio and paint and someone else could take care of the business end!

But, I've always done things the hard way. How about you?

6 comments:

Mike said...

Is there another way other than the hard way?

Margaret Ryall said...

When I began to paint seriously I represented myself and found it too a lot of time away from painting. I felt starting so late in life the one thing I didn't have was time to waste. I was approached by a gallery and took four months to decide if that is what I wanted. I decided to give it a try and never looked back. I'm one of the lucky ones. My gallery is very good at promoting my solo shows and are equally prompt at paying on a monthly basis. This spring I sold a painting on the 24 of the month and got a check on the 30. How's that for prompt? I think it doesn't hurt that the owner is also an artist and probably understands the issues. In my situation I only paint enough to keep one gallery going for commercial sales. I have been working myself to move my work into the public gallery system where you get exhibition fees for shows. I have my first show lined up for next October. I'm feeling good. Now I have to paint more.

-Don said...

The hard way...

-Don

Casey Klahn said...

Ugg. Galleries. I'm taking a course right now on all of this, and have touched on it in the past in other classes. I am finding out how little I actually know!

I'm glad you are doing better this year, Kathy. I hope you keep that up - maybe some lessons result from this past year?

I was fortunate to have patrons come to my studio before my last show and buy 8 works. They are husband and wife - he my son's optometric therapist. In the course of chatting, he asked about my work and I handed him my biz card at his office. His wife looked at my blog and they happened to be doing a remodel.

I wrote somewhere else about how artists throw that one out: "I sold to patrons at my studio, puff, puff." I never had it happen before and wish I knew how to bottle the experience. Then, I'd let all of you drink from that.

Mark Sheeky said...

Hard and good way. Four sales this year so far.

Kathy said...

Hi Mike - I guess so! Read Margaret's response :-)

Hi Margaret - wonderful!! A dream come true.

Hi Don - yup, me too!

Hi Casey - fantastic!! When you figure it out, please send me a bottle of it :-)

Hi Mark - great!! Keep going ..