Thursday, June 23, 2011

Hear of this gallery?

Q: I came across this online gallery that charges a fee to show the artists work but the artist takes care of the actual sales, shipping and all that. It says it selects the work from that submitted rather than just showing something just because someone sends them a fee. Have you heard of it and is it a good deal?

A: Hadn't heard of it but always happy to find about such things. I did spend a fair amount of time looking through it.

It looks legitimate. Rather than having artists upload images, she links to the images on the artists' sites. Saves time and bandwidth for her. The question is whether you can realistically expect any return on your investment. Just having work sitting on a site calling itself a gallery doesn't mean there is a probability of sales.

If she isn't doing a lot of heavy marketing to the right kind of audience, she's just another one of the hundreds if not thousands of sites calling themselves galleries. There must be a total of millions of images on such sites, ranging from crude copies of popular commercial images or cartoons to sophisticated original work. So the chances of a casual surfer or shopper finding your work are tiny. The dealer has to invest serious time and money in finding and attracting a real market. So far, virtually all attempts at having a successful gallery selling original contemporary work online have failed. That's not to say a few artists here and there haven't done well, but they are the exceptions and they usually already had reputations and/or other ways of promoting their work.

A good rule is this: Whenever a site (or gallery or anything else) charges the artist money up front to show work, the owner -- the businessperson -- is saying she can probably make a better profit by getting money directly from the artists than by selling their work and taking a commission. And in so doing, she decreases her incentive to sell the work. Selling work is a time-consuming and costly affair, so why not just get the money directly from the artist and take the rest of the afternoon off?

No comments:

Post a Comment