Should you sell your art directly to collectors or through the gallery?

Should you sell your art directly to collectors or through the gallery

One of the biggest questions that artists always have to deal with is whether should they sell directly to the collectors or to go through an art gallery. This is because both the options comes with their pros and cons. To actually know which is the better option, you will have to know how both these channels work. After that, you can weigh the differences and decide which path you would like to take. Take note that whichever direction you decide to go through to have your work sold would determine the future of your art so it is imperative that you make a well-informed and calculated decision before embarking.

The most common choice that artists tend to make is to go through galleries regardless of whether they are public or private. This is because if a gallery decides to represent you to sell your work, you will be spared off all the work like marketing, promotions and such. This means that the gallery is confident to have you on their portfolio where they are more than happy to have you associate with their brand name. The only downside about having galleries represent you is that you lose some form of freedom of expression while you will be regarded to have ‘commercialized’ your work. This is because throughout the course of your partnership, the gallery will most likely tell you what you should produce as that would be sellable to them. Apart from that, you will also have to allow the galleries to take a portion of anything sold through your name.

On the other hand, you can try to sell your art directly to the collectors and other buyers through your own efforts. This is a bit more challenging where you will need to promote your art through your own means. This is very difficult as there are limited spaces where you can have an exhibition. This option is favourable if you are very good in conduct your own marketing and promotions campaigns and if you have the time for doing these campaigns by yourself. Of course with this option you need not offer a commission to anyone.

With both the options explained, you would now have to think about which pathway you will want to take. This is where you might fall under the trap of undercutting your galleries. Ideally, the best way to sell is to go through both channels but if you do that, then you are opening an avenue for collectors to contact you directly. If that is the case, the galleries would feel that you are undercutting them which means that they will lose out in profits or any sales of your art. Hence, if you are engaging galleries, then it is totally not advisable for you to sell your artwork directly. The best way to go about with this is to first allow the gallery to represent you where they will be able to bridge you with potential collectors and to create a brand for your work. Once you have done that for a few years and has built a strong reputation, then you can gauge if you are popular enough where you can engage online galleries to sell your work. If the response is good, then you can start evaluating if you are ready to go on your own.


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