When considering working with a gallery, many artists wonder if it is worth getting a cut of their sales taken. Simply put:
Are galleries worth it for artists?
Factors such as gallery quality, reputation establishment, hidden costs, and the evolving art market should be considered. Collaborating with galleries can provide credibility, access to a targeted audience, and the potential for higher prices.
When it comes to galleries, the topic of high commissions often sparks debates among artists. The thought of giving away a significant portion of the sale price can be daunting, leading many artists to question the worth of collaborating with galleries. As a gallery owner, I acknowledge that gallery representation isn't suitable for every artist. In this article, we'll delve into the variables and help you determine whether paying gallery commissions aligns with your artistic goals.
Shifting Perspectives: Instead of questioning the high commissions, it's essential to focus on a more relevant query: "Do I feel it's worth it to pay the gallery commission?" Understanding the value proposition is crucial in making an informed decision.
Unveiling the Math: To evaluate the true cost of a gallery commission, let's analyze the value of your art. Suppose you price a piece at $1,000. Selling it independently earns you the full amount, while working with a gallery means you receive $500-$600 after their commission. However, we need to assess where the original value of $1,000 is generated.
Art's Dual Value: The value of a piece of art consists of two components: the artistic creation itself and the marketing, promotion, and sales efforts. Comparing the difficulty of creating art versus selling it is subjective. Artists differ in their abilities, with some finding art creation easier than selling.
Calculating Value Creation: Consider the value you can create per hour in the studio versus the time it takes to sell a piece. If you generate more value through artistic creation, collaborating with galleries to handle sales may be a viable option.
Additional Factors to Consider: Apart from the mathematics, there are other variables worth pondering:
a. Gallery Preparation and Costs: Getting into galleries and maintaining relationships requires effort and financial considerations. Hidden costs, like transportation expenses, should be factored into the overall viability of gallery representation.
b. Gallery Quality: Not all galleries are equal. Some actively promote artists, engage buyers, and earn their commission through dedicated efforts. Collaborating with proactive galleries enhances your chances of success.
c. Establishing Reputation: Early in your career, securing reputable gallery representation can be challenging. Artists often need to pursue their own sales to establish their presence in the market.
d. Shifting Art Market: With the evolution of technology and tools available to artists, managing personal marketing and sales becomes an attractive option. The internet offers global exposure, altering the equation in favor of artists. However, galleries still provide consistent exposure and credibility that virtual platforms may struggle to replicate.
Long-Term Benefits: Consider the potential benefits of gallery representation, such as gaining credibility in the eyes of buyers and the possibility of commanding higher prices. Over time, galleries can sell your work for significantly more than you could achieve independently, leading to increased revenue while minimizing your workload.
Naturalist Gallery offers comprehensive artist representation, showcasing a curated selection of international contemporary art from both established and emerging artists. With a range of benefits, artists can enjoy permanent archival of their artworks, solo exhibitions, limited edition print releases, and the opportunity to participate in juried exhibitions. The gallery provides an online residency on the Artists page, featuring artist bios, statements, and showcasing their body of work. Artists also have the chance to create limited edition fine art print series with the help of the Naturalist Gallery curatorial staff. With net pricing, artists have control over their artwork's pricing, and the gallery handles the sales process. Additionally, the gallery supports artists by including them in marketing materials, email newsletters, and press releases, enhancing their visibility among collectors and art enthusiasts. With a strong focus on curation and personalized representation, Naturalist Gallery offers a compelling platform for artists to thrive and grow their careers.
Determining whether to pay gallery commissions involves a comprehensive assessment of your artistic aspirations, abilities, and the opportunities galleries present. While galleries may not be the right fit for everyone, the professional sales staff, prime art market locations, marketing expertise, and gallery prestige can provide substantial advantages. By carefully weighing the variables, you can make an informed decision that aligns with your artistic vision and financial goals.
You may also find the following articles helpful: