by Tanya Singh
In the past several decades, artists have been depending upon established galleries to sell their artworks. Contemporary art practice has, however, not only pushed the boundaries of art itself but also the position of the artist. Artists are increasingly choosing to represent themselves and sell works as individuals instead of seeking representation by art galleries.
This can certainly prove to be an enriching experience for an artist and many have succeeded from it by developing and running a successful business. However, being represented by a gallery has proven to be a much more beneficial option for emerging artists time and again.
Continuing our Representation Series in which we explore the different types of representation models, today we’re looking into gallery representation. In this article, we’re going to give you 8 reasons why being represented by a professional gallery might be a much better path to take even today.
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1. Gallery Clientele
The biggest advantage an artist being represented by an established gallery has over an independent artist is access to a broad and loyal clientele. As an independent artist, it may take you years to build your loyal clientele and to gain the recognition that your work deserves, whereas an established gallery already comes with an established collector’s list.
Gallery directors and staff will know exactly who will fall in love with your abstracts, portraits, or landscape photography and they make sure that these people get a chance to look at your work. These relationships are built over years and collectors do become incredibly loyal to their galleries and people who run them, developing deep, trusting friendships.
Many times emerging collectors will contact the gallery directly to discuss their aesthetic needs. It’s much easier for a busy CEO to schedule a personal meeting with an art expert at the gallery than spend hours researching artists online.
So, whether they’re budding art investors searching for the new ‘star’, a couple looking to decorate their newly-remodeled condo, or a husband seeking a perfect anniversary present, serious buyers will always turn to established galleries for advice on emerging artists and quality, original art.
2. Extra Time To Focus On Creating
As an independent artist, you have to focus both on creating art as well as promoting it. When you are represented by a gallery, they handle the marketing for you which gives you more time to create and to practice. You don’t have to stress about the sales, the publicity or even the exhibition. With gallery representation, you have all the time to focus on your art.
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3. Value Of Your Art
More often than not, art collectors will consider your works more valuable if you are represented by an established gallery. Just having the gallery name attached to your works can get you what your works are really worth in almost half the time it would take you otherwise.
Before your art even goes up on the wall, the gallery director carefully evaluates your works, making sure that your art is priced fairly. The more affiliations you have with the big names in the field, the more valuable your works will become.
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4. The Financial Boost
The strongest argument against gallery representation to date has been the commission system. When an artist is represented by a gallery, he or she has to pay a part of the profit as commission for every sold artwork. The amount varies from gallery to gallery and is usually decided upon by both parties and drafted into a secure contract.
If you are an independent artist, the entire amount comes to you. Obviously, this would seem like a much better option. However, if you really consider the commission system, you would realize that your earnings as an artist would still remain the same or may even be more than what they would have been had you sold as an individual.
This is because galleries know the worth of your work and tend to sell your work at much higher prices than you would. They mark the prices according to the kind of clientele they have which means that the commission system is not at all an adversity to your monetary gains.
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5. Publicity From Gallery Representation
Art is becoming increasingly popular across the world. It is no longer only an elitist mode of entertainment. Galleries today make a conscious effort to promote and market their artists as well as ongoing exhibitions. They send out press releases and organize related events to promote the works.
Gallery representation can dramatically increase your public recognition and awareness as an emerging artist. A gallery could reach out to several times more people than you could as an independent artist, exponentially increasing your chances of meeting buyers and future collectors of your art.
At Agora, some of the most important things we focus on are artist promotion and exposure. We know from experience that exposing emerging and established artists to a wide audience produces excellent results.
We have a professional staff of writers, designers, and managers who help our artists with their personal profiles, digital representation as well as advertisements.
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6. The Gallery Events
Galleries often organize parallel events along with exhibitions such as artist talks and workshops. These give you a chance to meet more influential people and build contacts in the art world. Parallel events are not the only way you benefit from gallery representation.
Galleries also regularly participate in larger events like art fairs and biennales. An opportunity to be exhibited as part of a gallery’s collection at such prestigious events is every artist’s dream. Showcasing your works at art fairs does not only increase your chances of selling but also helps you gain international recognition.
7. The Endorsement
All the technicalities aside, sometimes just having the backing of an established gallery can be very beneficial. The art world is a competitive place and having the support of a gallery can make the struggle a lot easier. You are bound to get many more opportunities and higher visibility in the art market than an independent artist of the same caliber if you are endorsed by a gallery.
Most artists that have had gallery representation will agree with the fact that you start getting more offers for exhibitions immediately after you sign up. The prestige and respect earned by the gallery over time automatically reflects on you and your work and brings you into the limelight.
As an artist, you are constantly looking to make connections with the right people to help you or to collaborate with. In a gallery setting, finding like-minded people is incredibly easy. Not only do you get to meet many other established as well as emerging artists but also important and influential people.
Another networking criterion that gallery representation could open up for you is the platform of group exhibitions. Collaborating with similar artists gives you a chance to showcase your works in front of the fans of those artists. This, in turn, means increased recognition and more sales.
Agora Gallery arranges opening receptions for all exhibiting artists once about every three weeks on Thursdays. These events give our artists a chance to mingle with and present their ideas to some of the most successful names in the industry.
Similarly, every gallery makes it a point to maintain an association with all of their keen and interested collectors. Circulating your art and your ideas in the right circles can certainly be very beneficial for your artistic career.
As an emerging artist in today’s world, it is very important to consider your every step from the kind of art you create to how you want to market yourself and managing both at the same time can be very challenging. This is where galleries come in. Gallery representation can fast-track your career and help you reach your goal in a fraction of a time it would take otherwise.
Looking to develop your artistic career and build a presence in New York City and worldwide? Book an online career development consultation meeting today.
How has being affiliated to a gallery proven beneficial for you? Tell us your stories!
Tanya Singh is a budding art historian and writer. She is currently pursuing her postgraduate studies at the LASALLE College of the Arts, Singapore. With a versatile portfolio, she has over three years of experience in writing as well as editing.