In speaking with a number of artists who have built financially successful careers, I have observed that many of them have stabilized and strengthened their art business by creating a…
Managing cash flow successfully is one of the greatest challenges for any small business. It is a particularly difficult issue for artists and galleries where sales often spike and dip. Artwork doesn’t tend to sell in regular patterns, and because of the high value of many pieces of artwork, when sales do occur they often cause a real spike in an artist’s or gallery’s income.
This irregular cash flow can cause logistical (and emotional!) problems for those of us in the art business. I would like to share a few things I’ve learned over the years about managing cash flow in the hopes that my experience might help make you a better manager of your cash flow.
As an artist in the digital age, chances are you have to write emails on a regular basis. You might have to use email to approach galleries, maintain current gallery…
On RedDotBlog, we’ve often talked about different scenarios in which you might be trying to sell your work. For many of you the opportunity will come at an open studio event,…
There is nothing more exciting than selling a piece of art. If you are directly involved in the sale process you will feel a rush of excitement and accomplishment, as…
Not too long ago I received the following question from gallery owner Steve Harrison:
I had a visitor in my gallery yesterday and asked, “Now because this is original art it won’t depreciate will it?” How does one answer that question. I spend a lot of my time trying to figure out an answer to that question. Of course, a person should buy what they like and no one should ever bank on an “investment” whatever that might be. Still when a person is spending gallery prices for original art, the question “Will this painting retain its value” is a question that deserves an answer. How do other people answer it?
Having spent over 20 years in the gallery business, I’ve noticed a key common trait of financially successful artists: they are constantly in the studio, hard at work. I would describe these artists as productive and prolific.
The realities of the art market today are such, that in order to generate regular sales and establish a strong collector base for your work, you have to have significant inventory. To a certain degree it’s a numbers game. You have to have enough work available so that you can show the work in a variety of venues and get the work in front of enough people to reach the buyers.
For many of you, the deep winter is the off season. Because my gallery is located in Scottsdale, and because Arizona is so blazing hot during the summer, our art season is exactly the opposite of a lot of other art markets who do most of their business during the summer. Our traffic declines dramatically during the summer, and as a result, so do our sales.
Our summer slow-down is long too. People often ask me when our “off” season is, and I reply that it begins when the temperatures climb above 105° fahrenheit and ends when the temperature drops back below 105°. This usually corresponds with dates in mid May and mid October. This means that we have five long months without much activity in the gallery.
I’m sure I’ve only scratched the surface of the fears you face as an artist, and I hope you’ll share others in the comments below. Whatever your fears are, however, the important question is how can you overcome them?
I have several suggestions from my experience as a business owner. I don’t mean to imply that fear can be easily overcome, nor that these suggestions will revolutionize your life by helping you instantly vanquish your fear.