Do you know of a gallery who does ALL of the business side for an artist? I repeatedly hear creatives say things like, “That’s stuff a gallery can do for me,” or, “When a gallery represents me I won’t have to do X, Y, or Z.” Here’s the thing: that’s simply not true.
Hi I’m Carrie and I want you to proudly call yourself Artist. Here on Artist Strong I help you build your skill and develop your unique artist voice. Today I want to talk about the myth that gallery representation will suddenly solve all of your problems.
My first question for you is: do you know of a gallery who takes away, or removes entirely, artist’s marketing or administrative responsibilities?
If you do, AWESOME, be sure to list them in the comments below. I’d love to be proven wrong here. That being said, I’ve found both public and commercial galleries may participate in the marketing of your exhibitions, but they also expect and encourage you to market it, too.
I had an amazing exhibition space for my solo show Anonymous Woman and was informed I sold more work than others do, on average, in the same space. I knew everyone who bought a work. In other words, it was my marketing, not theirs, that led to my sales.
Today I think of gallery spaces and representation (which for transparency I haven’t sought out or had any) by galleries like today’s publishing industry.
If you were to pitch a book to a major publisher they’d ask you if you have an established community interested in your work. They want to know you have a strong Instagram presence or a large email list because it means you can get sales and thus, might be worth investing in.
Galleries have to manage the costs associated with running a physical space, much like publishers have the cost of materials and processes for printing a physical book. They can have greater confidence in representing you if they know you already have people investing in your work.
Too many artists invest in a day dream that someday not only will they be discovered by a gallery,
but they will remove all of the dreaded admin from an artist’s life so they can do what we all feel born to do: spend more time in the studio.
Here’s the hard truth:
No one out there is going to care more about selling your art than you.
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Today’s message may feel hard but I hope it empowers you to step up into the artist you can fully embody if you let go of the idea that some gallery will be your business or marketing savior.
The good news is that it means it’s within your power, your reach, to start connecting with collectors today.
And if gallery representation if valuable to you, you know steps moving forward to help realize this goal.
Now it’s your turn:
do you resonate with today’s message? What questions do you have? Please like today’s video, subscribe to Artist Strong’s channel, and share your comments below.
Remember: proudly call yourself artist. We are Artist Strong. Thanks for watching and see you next time.
Carrie, have you thought of creating a course to help artists learn how to promote and sell their artwork?
Honestly, I have some imposter syndrome around this! If I do, it might be a beginner course like “Sell your first painting” or “How to sell your first body of work.”