Monday, October 9, 2006
Art and the Internet
Broadacres Farm, 2006, Oil on Panel, 18x24
On Wednesday's post about my efforts to find a gallery, James left the following comment:
I'm just wondering why you feel you 'need' gallery representation in the first place when this new age of showing and selling your art via the internet is already having a huge impact on artists lives around the world.
I'm so excited about collecting art from Europe, America and everywhere else! I have to say, I think I'm over the whole gallery thing.
I was recently in a well known gallery seriously considering buying a painting, when I realised I couldn't stand the whole gallery process. It was like dealing with a used car dealer! I could almost feel my Visa card crying out to buy direct from the artist - across the web!!! Needless to say I walked out thinking I should find out if the artist had a website...
Here's the thing, you only need a handful of devoted fans to 'make a living' and trust me, they're out there...
I am very happy that artists now have the ability to sell their own work through the internet. And I toyed with going in that direction when I began painting again. The reality though, is that it takes a lot of time and energy to handle your own marketing, sales, promotion, shipping, bookkeeping, and dealing with clients. I admire anyone who chooses to take that on in addition to creating the art as well. However, with a family that includes four kids I really felt that I had to streamline my efforts, which is why I don't make my own frames or panels, or handle sales. Except when close to a deadline, I work in the studio only during the time that my children are in school. When they are home I want to spend time with them, not to mention taking care of our house and doing other non art-related activities. There just didn't seem to be enough time in the day to do it all plus market my work too.
For some artists this is not an either/or situation, but I am totally uncomfortable with selling work while I have gallery representation. Most people who contact an artist directly are looking for a lower price than what is offered in a gallery. And there is no faster way to ruin a relationship with a gallery than to sell your work around them, at a lower price. I am very careful to send potential clients to galleries that represent me and by doing that I have a much better relationship with the gallery directors than I would otherwise.
Of course, this is simply how I feel comfortable handling my business. Please feel free to discuss how you sell your work and whether you sell in galleries or on your own and how you feel about either situation.