Monday, October 24, 2011

What Will Replace Galleries?

   If there is a need then there is a way.  Galleries are closing their doors everywhere, all the time, all over the world.  This economic crunch we are in hurts artists even as it makes used car dealers come out of the woodwork.  There are two left in my town which once supported over a dozen.
   This is not necessarily a bad thing.  Galleries became a pretty expensive place to acquire art and once discovering the money chain of a particular artist it became a difficult place for new talents to emerge.  Like many things in life it became about money and art was lost in the transaction.  Once happy with a third of the cut they raised their commissions to 50% and I have seen them charge the artist 60%.  Galleries are the business world of art.  They control the style, the color and the design of just about everything.  They control the artist.
   They are being replaced as fast as they are going out of business.  It is still the commercial world that is offering new venues to artists but it is happening with every new building that is being built, every renovation
of existing buildings and in my town, with every existing bar and restaurant, every cafe, almost all public places where people gather.   Art is far more available now than it was twenty years ago.
   There are no empty walls.  Local art has become popular but you can still find an occasional McDonald's
with store bought mass-produced art on their walls.  Even there the walls are not blank.
   It is not as difficult to break into as you might suspect but the first rule is to have no fear.  Sometimes just asking is all it takes.  Many places like the idea of revolving art, changed out by you or someone else every couple of months or so.  Always something new to look at.  Most businesses will do this for free, not charging the artist any commission at all, other's might charge a minimal fee.
   Most of what I do is steel and pretty permanent but lots of businesses need railings, dividers, curtain rods, hat racks or whatever.  Some actually have huge budgets for this and get a pretty plain generic product for their money.  Sometimes, if the job interests me, I will simply ask them what they intend to do.  Often I can do it for the same amount of money but throw a ton of art into the project.
   Wineries are a great place to showcase your art too. They have caught onto this fact that they are destinations and often will charge the artist a fee but it is mostly a booth fee and not commission based so it is still a good deal for the artist.  Unlike a local market that might offer everything from organic food to pretzels,
people come to wineries and expect to find art.
   When one door closes another always opens.  Some of these new venues offer an opportunity for the artist to be there with his art and although we may not like actually selling it ourselves, our clients like this.  It is a shared enthusiasm and contagious, people feel as though they are buying a chunk of the artist along with the art.  That is true of course, we can't eat if we can't sell our wares!

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conservativelybohemian said...

What a whimsical little statue. Her hair likes like my own but at least she dresses it up with those earrings!

Constance Stanza Extravaganza Extraordinaire said...

What you say is so true Jerry, hence the "busyness" that Ted and I are busy doing at the moment. It's taken a lot to push and promote ourselves and there are no guarantees that we will succeed, but we have to do it! Even the local gallery has contacted us for artworks to sell in their hallowed halls of nothingness for all of December. And if it doesn't work, we can at least say that we tried!!! I will try and chat to you later today oxox