Benefits of Galleries
All right, here are the benefits of the gallery in my opinion. They're marketing to the right people. It is extremely difficult to put your work online and know that the right people are going to see it, to buy your work. If you were to say right now, "I'm gonna put my work online "and I'm going to put it on the website "where art buyers go." What website is that? Yeah, I don't know either. I haven't found one yet. Let's make it together, artbuyers.com, something like that, it'd be great. I don't know where to go just to get your work in front of the right art buyers, because anyone can be an art buyer. You don't have to just sell to collectors, it could be literally anyone in the world who thinks it's worth investing in. But the benefit of a gallery is, that they already, first of all, have a list of people that collect from their gallery. There's this whole weird society of galleries and art buyers, and art buyers really tend to create relationships with certain galleries and they'll...
come back again, and again, and again to that gallery to see what's new with their artists. It's really good to know that the gallery is marketing to the right people, to people who first of all, pay that price range for the art. That they're gonna walk in and expect a certain price so that there's no sticker shock because that is perhaps one of the most challenging things to me is, that I let my galleries make most of my sales, but when I tend to make sales, it's almost always if I start to engage people online, it's almost always people thinking that the prints are gonna be really, really low prices, like $50 for example, versus the $1, that it might actually cost. I find that there's a really big discrepancy between people who go direct to the artist to buy the work versus people who go straight to the gallery. I'm tending to make bigger sales through galleries 'cause they're marketing to the right people. Then, they cultivate relationships with our buyers, as I mentioned, so these art buyers are not just loyal to the artist that they collect, but they're loyal to the galleries themselves and they have relationships. For each of my galleries, every time there's an exhibition, they send out an email to their email list of art buyers saying, "I know that you're interested in this artist. "She's having a new exhibition. "Come and take a look." That's really good for me, 'cause then I don't have to do that. I hate doing stuff like that. They know how to sell things and I really wanna emphasize this because I don't know how to sell things. If you do, if you're really good at sales tactics, good. Be good at it. Do it yourself. I think that's great. But, I'm not good at selling my own work and it's not because I don't think that it's valuable, I'm just bad at it. I don't know what to say. I get all choked up. I stumble like this and that's what happens. They don't. They know sales tactics. In fact, I would even argue that one of their sales tactics is simply owning a gallery, because people going into a gallery expect to pay certain prices, versus someone going straight to the artist might expect to pay a lot less. One sales tactic is simply having a gallery space and bringing people into that space. They give credibility to your art. I think that this is quite a debatable topic because and I tried to use the word credibility so that it wasn't value or anything like that, but I say credibility in terms of the fine art world and building a reputation for yourself and sort of climbing a ladder of getting into better and better galleries. The reason why I say credibility is because they're building your resume for you. They're giving you exhibitions. They are allowing your work to be displayed. The moment you pass that little hurdle of having your work displayed in a gallery, that's going to signal to other galleries that somebody took the chance on you. Maybe you're worth it, maybe you're easy to work with, whatever. At least it gives some credibility. And then they're your representative. What I mean by this is, think of it as an advertising agency. If somebody out there, like their job is to photograph cars and they're a car photographer. I'm sure that's a thing, I've never heard of it, but I'm sure it is. If their job is to photograph cars, you would probably assume that they have an agent because they're doing commercial work. The same is true in fine art. The gallery is your representation. They're representing your work. Not every gallery will represent you and I think that's an important distinction because some galleries will do one-off shows with you. They'll invite you in. You'll have an exhibition and then, that's it, you leave with your work and you don't stay with that gallery. But, other galleries will be looking to represent their artists, instead of just having one-off exhibitions, really the next step is finding somebody to house you and your work, and take you into their little family. That looks something like the art fairs, the ads that they will place in magazines. That's when you'll start to really get the benefits of a gallery, when they're investing in you long-term. The other good thing about them investing in you is that they keep your work all year round, so you don't just have an exhibition, then you take that work away, but you have an exhibition, you give them your work, and when the exhibition ends, they keep that work in the back room all year round. We'll talk a little bit about the back room scenario later on. It's my favorite thing about galleries, but for now, just know that they represent you, and they give your work a home. I went through my stash of prints from over the years that I've printed and not sold, or printed and been given back by galleries. I had over 100 prints in my house. That hurts me. I don't want them in my closet, I want them on gallery walls. The more galleries that represent you, the more homes you have for your work to live and breathe, and maybe be sold to people instead of just being in my closet really sad, and dirty, and yucky. They also prevent against scammers. I've been finding this is an issue more, and more, and more in the last couple of years. I never noticed it outside of that. But, I'll get an email from somebody and that email will say, "I would love to buy a print." And then I start the process and then I realize, this person doesn't seem quite right. I had this happen recently where all of sudden, this guy was saying, "I wanna buy a print but I can't send you the money "right away because we're moving "and my wife is." And I'm like, I don't know about this. The whole time, he's saying, "Just send me the print now, "and I'll pay you next week." I'm like, come on. There was all sorts of other weird details with it and the thing is, immediately after I started realizing something was weird, I forwarded that email to my gallery. She wrote back, she said, "That's a scam, I've seen this guy before." She knew him immediately, that that was, and I wasted two weeks corresponding with this guy about the print that never was to be. Scammers are awful and they're out there and they're trying to get prints, or money, or whatever the case may be for them.