I recently did an online workshop focusing on the topic of galleries. I know not everyone could join me for the talk, so I wanted to share one of the main points I focused on in the workshop. It springs from a question I am asked often, and it is a good one... Why should an artist seek out gallery representation?
It is true that galleries take a significant commission, typically 50% give or take. But I personally feel that the best galleries fully earn their piece of the pie. For an artist to get a finished piece of work from their studio and into a client's hands is a very difficult task to say the least. Galleries handle the heavy lifting of sales and marketing, commissions, framing, and shipping to the end customer.
But the most important role in the partnership between artist and gallery is the valuable trust factor that they have established and maintained with their clients, designers, collectors, and individuals alike. They trust the galleries taste and quality, that in turn generate repeat business from their client base. As an individual artist, generating that level of repeat business is a big challenge. The additional burden of marketing, selling, etc not only takes away from studio time, but requires a completely different set of skills that must be acquired and developed over time.
Last, but certainly not least, the relationship between the artist and gallery must be symbiotic in order to achieve success. You work hard doing what you do best and they work hard doing what they do best. We must always remember that the goal is the same -- creating, promoting, and selling work to those who appreciate and support the art community.