search  current discussion  categories  business - galleries 

galleries and gift shops

updated fri 9 feb 01


Norman van der Sluys on thu 8 feb 01

It is interesting to me. . .
Clayworkers insist that their work is fine art because it is handmade
and therefore identical in type (if not quality) to Monet's
"Waterlillies" or Rodin's "Thinker". They insist on "signing" their
work, because they know that a work of art is to be signed to prove
authenticity. No matter that the signature can't be read. A clear stamp
with machine-cut lettering just will not do for artwork! Then they take
their work to their "Gallery" which is not an art gallery at all, but a
consignment-based gift shop.

If it is fine art, get a show at a real gallery. Be prepared with a body
of work that follows a theme (or perhaps two related ones) and comeup
with an artist's statement. You know it is a real gallery because they
will have an opening with wine, just like Tony's. They may well take a
50% or even 60% commission on the pieces that sell. many pieces won't.

What the gallery is offering you is more than just the sale of your
work, much more. They are offering to build you a reputation among
collectors of fine art. For this reason, you must be as selective about
your gallery as they are in accepting your work.

Go to the opening and hob-nob with the patrons. Spend your time with
the ones that have money, rather than your friends. Some will find you
charming and buy a piece or two. If it is the right person, you are now
"collectible" and your career is off to a flying start. It doesn't
matter how much comission the gallery charges, because your prices will
be higher for the next show. Soon you will be able to move up to a more
prestigious gallery and charge still higher prices. But you won't need
that 80 cu ft kiln unless you do five foot high sculptural pieces.

Norman van der Sluys

by the shore of Lake Michigan recovering from the flu and deciding that
if Artimater can be irreverent, so can I.