In this week’s session, I discuss whether or not it is necessary to tell galleries that you are approaching other galleries and how long it takes for a gallery owner to decide whether to include an artist in their gallery. I suggest it is unnecessary to tell galleries that you are approaching others and that most galleries expect artists to show in multiple venues. It is also not uncommon for it to take weeks or months for a decision to be made, and it is essential to be persistent and adaptable when pursuing opportunities.
About the Author: Jason Horejs
Jason Horejs is the Owner of Xanadu Gallery, author of best selling books "Starving" to Successful & How to Sell Art , publisher of reddotblog.com, and founder of the Art Business Academy. Jason has helped thousands of artists prepare themselves to more effectively market their work, build relationships with galleries and collectors, and turn their artistic passion into a viable business.
Thank you for all the input!
I’m in a difficult spot right now.
I started to paint again after a 10 year break and work for about 2 years now very hard to get noticed. My Instagram goes to the roof and I’m selling my work very well though my own website. I also like to get into galleries but this is when it gets tricky.
Before I was selling so well one gallerie told me I need to have a very high sales record before they can represent me.
But on the other hand another gallerie refuse me because I’m selling my work though my own website.
No gallerie even wonted to look at my work before I had so many follower on IG and sold my work so well.
I had no other choice then taking this into my own hands.
What is the right move now, what would you recommend ?
If an artist shows you their portfolio and you think the work is good, but not priced in the proper range, do you discuss it with the artist. Or do you say thanks, but no? I know you say do research, but I have found what I think my work is compatible to is not necessarily what others do.
Yes, I have to do so as a Gallerist for two reasons.
1) The space on our walls are limited and I need the work to be priced fairly based on the quality of the work and the accomplishments of the artist. Are they in permanent museum collections? Do they have auction results? Offical art appraisals? Sometimes an artist wants to price their art and then add the gallery commission on top of that and that’s a no-no especially if I’ve seen their work in an artist guild show for a 3rd of the price. I have the job of selling the art and if I don’t feel the work is fairly priced, I let them know.
2) I have to insure the artists work. If a fire happened, Insurance companies will not just pay out an artist based on what they “think” their art is worth. An artist must prove the worth based on auction results, an official art appraisal, but more specifically based on the last 10 sales of similar subject matter, size, and medium.
Early on I had one artist who I invited into my gallery because I loved her work and personally owned two of her pieces. She had no pricing structure at all. She basically pulled the prices out of the air. No price per square inch formula and she was asking far more than her work was being shown at a co-op gallery. I had numerous discussions with her when collectors continued to make statements about the value of her work. Eventually, I had to ask her to leave the gallery because I couldn’t insure her and she wouldn’t adjust her pricing.
So going forward, I require any artists that I bring into the gallery to use the price square inch formula or present me with their last 10 sales receipts of similar subject matter/medium/size for justification of their price. Most artists understand this. Also, if I have work that I believe in and the art isn’t moving, I listen to collector’s comments such as, “I like this piece, but honestly I think it’s overpriced.” If I hear that more than 3 times, I have a frank discussion with the artist. Some resist price evaluation and that’s their choice. However, a successful gallerist once told me that if a piece hasn’t sold within 6 months, it was removed from the gallery. For the exception of pieces priced over $10k, I stick with the 3 month rule.
Hi, Jason, I hope this isn’t too big a question. Could you talk about what’s in a sales agreement? I’m thinking specifically about categories of rights and who persistently owns what. I was in publishing and there are about two dozen categories of rights in a standard contract and sometimes specially negotiated considerations for celebrity or established and renowned authors.
As a made-up example, let’s pretend that early in my career I made a series of semi-abstract canyon paintings. One of them, Red Rock Moon (RRM), caught the attention of a collector who bought it, but also of a budding museum curator who did not. Sometime later, I have achieved some renown and that young curator is now established and wants to build a show around RRM and the museum’s marketing department wants to put it on cups, T-shirts, tote bags, postcards, posters, calendars, etc. Someone in TV, theater, or film sees the show and wants to use the image as a set. And so on.
Who can say “yes”? Would these (and other) things be in the original sales contract? What rights would the artist hold as distinct from those that the original buyer (or, possibly, a subsequent owner) holds?
Hi Melanie, as the Artist, you own the rights to your work even after it’s sold. In fact, a buyer does not have the right to reproduce your work.
The artist always owns his/her Copyright. A buyer of your artwork does NOT have any RIGHTS offering your intellectual property without your written consent/approval. All the buyer of your artwork is allowed to do is hang your artwork on a wall.
In your last two videos you mentioned a well prepared portfolio and also a digital portfolio.
Could you elaborate on them a little more. I am arriving at the point where I want to put together both. I live in Santa Fe, NM which is loaded with so many fine galleries. I have been researching them for awhile and have a few I think could be a possible fit for my colored pencil work. Would love your expert advice on what a gallery owner thinks of as a great portfolio. More details on how to present the digital one too. I want to start on the right foot & present myself as professionally as possible.
I also wanted to take the opportunity to thank you so much for all the hard work you do to help educate artists about the gallery & sales businesses. I have learned valuable knowledge from you that has inspired me & given me confidence that I am moving my fledgling art business in the right direction.
This video has been very helpful. I’ve learned of you just recently and so appreciated all of the information you are sharing in your many years of business.