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Finding a good gallery representation

by Clint Watson on 9/16/2005

This article is by Clint Watson,  former art gallery owner/director/salesperson and founder of FineArtViews. You should follow Clint on Twitter here.


A good art gallery, like any business, must market their product brands, in this case, artists. Building the name of an artist is just like building the name of any good brand. As an artist, your name IS your brand.

Therefore, you want to be in a gallery that HELPS you to build your "brand name." Unfortunately just as the White Whale eluded Ahab, good galleries seem to be evade artists.

I think the best way to look for galleries is to see which ones advertise regularly in the art magazines. I prefer this method, because the ones who advertise are showing SOME effort to market themselves to the target audience of art collectors beyond just the old "sit and wait" routine.

However, galleries in high traffic tourist areas like Santa Fe, Laguna Beach, Carmel, etc may not always NEED to advertise, so they could be exceptions. You could also get gallery guides from those high-traffic art destinations.

Ask artists friends about galleries they are in, particularly artist friends who are further along in their career than you are. They will have advice about finding good gallery representation.

And above all, have a healthy and realistic view of art galleries. If you partner with a good gallery, it can be a good experience, but YOU must still participate in the marketing of your work. I can assure you that one gallery alone will not have the resources, time, or motivation to handle ALL aspects of the marketing of your artwork.


Clint Watson
Software Craftsman and Art Fanatic
(and former art gallery owner)


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Related Posts:

Working With Galleries: Equitable Agreements

Negotiating with Art Galleries

Working With Galleries: Limit The Consignment Period

Art Gallery Evaluation Worksheet

Into the Art Gallery Owner's Mind

Working With Galleries: How Often is Your Work Displayed?

Working With Galleries: Should They Limit Your Sales Venues?

How to be Truly Successful as an Artist

Topics: art gallery tips | art marketing | Clint Watson 

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Rick Rotante
via web
The gallery idea is a difficult one because not every artist has the same experience with the same gallery as another artist in the same gallery. (odd phrasing but you get the jist) When my gallery could sell my work, they were exemplary and attentive, when that changed, so did their response. Galleries change over night according to
the "flavor of the month" club changes. If they are selling, their a good gallery. If not, they are not. But, intrinsically, they are the same gallery. It's called Commerce.
I don't like that artists are willing, for a chance to be in a gallery, to sell their souls, put up with economic inequities and downright mismanagement from galleries.
They control who is going to be exposed and what is Hip and Now. They say who is in and who is out. The Artwork is almost irrelevant. I've seen a client come into
a gallery, the owner shows them the current rave, the client goes to someone else ( a piece in a corner) and the owner immediately switches off the current favorite
and pushes the artist the client is interested in. They don't have your best interest in mind. They are there to sell whatever anyone is interested in at the time.
It's okay I guess, but it's a bit like being in a candy store. Cherry today, chocolate tomorrow. They don't care if you are a good artist and try an elevate the client, they sell art. period. Galleries don't invest in artists. Why? Because there are so many artists of late that if one isn't selling, they replace him/her with twenty more waiting in the wings. Artists need to take their art into their own hands. No one will sell my work better than me. Also, most collectors want to touch the artist, they want to have contact. I know because when I start to tell them about a piece they like, it's as good as sold.
I know not everyone can do this or even wants to do this. That's why galleries formed. Lets face it, many artists are not good salespeople. We're artists for kripes sake.
Americans are being exposed to more media than ever. Images abound all around us. What passes for art today is Hollywood bimbos bear breasted holding a football
or some such current media hype item. If McDonalds started to give away Art with every hamburger, the American public would have more exposure to it than visiting
any gallery or museum. But there is little "appetite" for good art among the general public. Why, because we can't recognize it anymore. It's become something to use to sell cars or show off the latest couture fashion. Galleries aren't the problem. Artists are the problem. If there were no art, there would be no galleries. We should control the "industry" by making great art and acknowledging it as such. Educate the public to recognize it when they see it.

Marie Kazalia
via web

Clint--You have some interesting bits of information in all of your blog articles. I'm wondering why so often you have sentences like this one:

"Unfortunately just as the White Whale eluded Ahab, good galleries seem to be evade artists."

Don't see the error? Read it out loud.
It throws the reader off to encounter these errors, and you
often have them. So I decided to mention the white elephant in the room that everyone sees but says nothing about.

Clint Watson
via web
Maria - Just as the white whale eluded Ahab, proper sentence structure eludes me....

Diane Donicht Vestin
I just read Clint's article about finding a "good" gallery. Well, I live in Minnesota, upper Minnesota near lake Superior in fact. The closest city to me is Duluth. Duluth has many art galleries, but if you happen to walk into any of them, every one has a favorite medium, and that is watercolors. Don't ask me why, I don't know. It's frustrating because these galleries won't even look at your work unless it's watercolor. Don't get me wrong. I also love watercolors, but in every gallery in a fairly large city baffles me. I want my art out there, but don't know how to contact other galleries. Let me know. I'd appreciate it.
Diane Donicht Vestin


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