As an artist, you will always be working with galleries. In fact, some artists rely heavily on galleries to help them sell their art and to make them renowned. Galleries and artists are basically partners in the business of art. They are inter-dependable in most ways. One thing for sure, you should not take it for granted even if a gallery represents you and below are some of the reasons why.
a. Galleries do not guarantee your art will be sold
A lot of artists think that by having a gallery to represent them meant that their art will be sold for sure. So if they have paintings that were not sold, it would be the galleries’ fault. That is very wrong. In most cases, the gallery has to try and lobby for collectors to buy a specific artwork because we are talking about thousands of ringgit here. If you are an established artist, the work might be easier but if you are an emerging artist, the effort becomes harder.
b. The gallery is responsible to do the PR for you
The gallery do actually write the press releases and tell the media about any upcoming shows but there is a limit that they can do for you. In most situations, they try their best to ensure that the media offers coverage of the exhibition and the reporters attend the opening and such. On top of that, they also have to try and get the collectors to attend and ensure that food and drinks are sufficient and up to mark. So they try their best to ‘market’ you but you still have to do some of the PR work.
c. The gallery needs you to survive
Sad to say, no matter how established you are or you think you are, galleries are able to live with one less artist. In fact, they have a long list of artists who would be more than willing to exhibit at the gallery. If you are an established artist and start making unreasonable demands, the galleries would be more than happy to lose you. After all, if your artwork is very expensive, it might not be easily sold. The emerging artists, with their more affordable artwork could be better bets for them to sell.
d. Galleries are rich, so they can afford anything
The truth is, galleries are businesses fundamentally. So they too have to cover their overheads, salaries and bills. But not every gallery is cash rich. The do need to sell in order to survive. If you do not honour your part of the deal by supplying the products on time, they have nothing to sell.
e. Galleries are your ticket to success and fame
This is totally not true. Many artists think that once they are represented by a reputable gallery, their worries are over because their art will surely sell. Even if the world’s best gallery represents you, you still have to produce art to your best ability in order for them to sell you to the collectors.