Monday, September 28, 2009

Professional Practice part 4

Here's Part 4 which answers the most common questions regarding professional practice I have received.

I am interested in the relationship between the gallery and the artist. What benefits/drawbacks are there in being represented by a gallery?

Gallery usually takes at least 40% + GST- some are 50% and others, apparently are going to 60% for emerging artists. That's the financial drawback, along with their restrictions on where you can sell your work. Top galleries may ask for exclusive dealing in Australia, but most are exclusive for the state, some only for your city. When starting out, there isn't a lot left after commission from your sale price, so restricting your selling elsewhere has severe financial consequences - and some lesser galleries are restricting sales as if they were top galleries - don't let them. Unless you get a top gallery -which is worth it no matter what (they build your name quicker than you can, get your prices up etc - for which you should be forever grateful to them because they have just saved you a bout ten years work) - it's financially better to start independently so you can build your name quickly by having more shows and increase your prices gradually (this isn't what I did, just what i learned).

Independence requires dedication - there's a lot of work in doing your PR, mailing lists, photography, hanging the work, ads, arranging grog, plinths, d rings, transport etc etc. And you risk a lot, financially - you may not sell anything, whereas a gallery usually does (tho' not necessarily in today's climate). Thus you should work out a "self promotion" budget and stick to it, so that it is money you are willing to invest in your art career; and not do it if you are not an organised person and willing to dedicate yourself to your art career.

Is this the same as your experience? What do you think are the rewards and drawbacks of exhibting with a gallery?

Do you have questions you would like to see answered? Post your comments and questions here.

Image: Gabrielle Jones "Sunset" 2009, Oil on Canvas 110 x 83cm

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