Understanding The Artist's Relationship With A Gallery
What if it all happened right now? You get a call from your dream gallery, but would you actually be ready? Is your work ready, are you prepared to be a partner? Here's a note on preparing yourself for gallery success from the blog of the author Destiny Allison:
Are you ready to be a business partner? Because that is what you are as soon as you sign with an agent or a gallery. They are not taking you on to make your life easier. They are taking you on to make money. If you are not a good partner, they won’t sell your work. It’s like a marriage. Can you imagine the tension, hostility, and resentment you would experience if your spouse expected you to do all the domestic work, plus your regular job, so he or she could self-indulge on a transcendental journey? My response to that spouse, “Glad your levitating, but the F***ing dishes still need to get done.” On the flip side, you could do the metaphorical dishes together while listening to your favorite Bonnie Raitt goes punk album and talking about the beautiful, New Mexico sky.
Your job in the partnership is to:
A) Produce a consistent amount of product (yes, at this point it is product) so that the store shelves are never bare. For most artists, this is somewhere between 40 and 100 works per year (not counting prints, miniatures, etc.) B) Help the gallery to sell your work by being present, attending openings (even when they’re not your own) and assisting in any way you can. C) Marketing through social media, developing relationships with local press, and creating a mailing list of your own. Use these tools and relationships to regularly remind people of what you are doing and where you are showing. Additionally, you need to bring collectors or potential buyers into the gallery. On this note NEVER undercut your gallery by selling work at a discount out of your studio. You might make a fast buck, but your reputation as a professional is finished.