When working with galleries, you can show your work in two ways: As an artist participating in solo and group showings, or as a represented artist. A represented artist is one who works exclusively with a particular gallery to show their work. You can be represented by more than one gallery, but most often, each gallery should be apart enough in distance so that it would remove any possible competition for sales.
There are several advantages as well as disadvantages to working with galleries and this post will help you decide if this path may be right for you.
- An established gallery has established collectors actively looking to collect art.
- Collectors oftentimes see greater value in the work of artists that have been chosen for show in a gallery setting, especially if it is a represented artist exclusive to a particular gallery.
- Publicity - An established gallery regularly publicizes their gallery and the artists and artwork within it.
- Networking - You have an opportunity to meet potential collectors and others in the art industry that could lead to future opportunities.
- More time to create - Represented artists (those who work exclusively with gallery representation) have a partnership in marketing with the gallery. When you have someone helping to market your work, you have more time to create!
- Increased opportunities for sales - Showing in galleries gives an opportunity to expose your work to the eyes of those who may otherwise have never seen it.
- Exclusivity - Especially when working as a represented artist, you are limiting your sales opportunities to one channel and per contract, may not be able to sell your work in other galleries or are limited to just a few.
- Commissions - Commissions are considered one of the biggest disadvantages of working with galleries. It is typical for a gallery to take a commission of 25% to 60%, with 50-60% being the average.
- You are not the only artist. - Galleries will not be placing 100% focus on marketing your work, as they have multiple artists they are working with. You are not the priority.
- You still have to market - Galleries do not do all the work for artists. You must still market yourself AND the gallery.
- Your eggs are placed into one basket- Though there are artists out there who work exclusively with galleries and make a fine living at it, it is oftentimes not the case. If something happens to the gallery, your income stops. For many artists, working with galleries vs. being exclusively represented offers the opportunity for varying income streams.
©Becca Basic, LLC
Becca Basic is an artist who's passionate about helping other creatives learn the business skills to live their dreams.
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