Updated: Jun 6, 2022
There are many reasons why artists – of diverse renown, backgrounds and experience levels – choose to be represented by a gallery, rather than remain wholly, or partially, independent and sell their work direct.
And, no, it's not about price – as, in the core art market, the policy of consistent pricing is a best practice that should operate universally, no matter where any artist's work is shown and sold.
The biggest advantage should be that the artist gains an attractive and accessible shop window, literally and metaphorically, as well as access to a broad and, over time, loyal clientele. A good gallery, in a prime, cultured location, with plenty of passing footfall, can command a wide audience and build a following, in person and online.
Conscientious gallery owners research their market, knowing the kind of buyer who will fall in love with a particular style and medium. They build a database of interested art lovers and can reach out to them, in a targeted way, to encourage these people to view and appreciate artwork.
Established or emerging collectors often contact or visit a trusted gallery to discuss their aesthetic needs. It’s much easier for a busy professional to schedule a meeting with a gallery expert than spend hours in online research, where judgements about art quality, detail and finish are so much more difficult to make and the artwork itself, unavoidably, feels pretty remote.
In curating our first shows, the other predictable and common reason we've met is that few artists want to – or feel able to - create art as well as promote it. A gallery removes those layers of stress and management from the artist: the venue devises and schedules publicity, events and marketing, leaving the artist with more time to create, improve and diversify.
Here are some quick top tips for artists seeking a gallery that will suit their work:
- Research the location and the ethos of the gallery – is it in a busy, popular place and do they carry art that would complement yours? (This should include a physical trip to the gallery, wherever possible.)
- Pick a gallery team with demonstrable artistic (and/or art history) knowledge and art appreciation ability – they can present your work in a stronger context.
- Ideally, choose a gallery owner who has a foot in both camps – ie. who is, or who has been, an artist as well as a gallery owner. Their dual empathy and know-how is often reassuring and useful.
- Prefer a gallery partner who wants to treat artists as team members and colleagues, not merely as 'suppliers'.
If you are an artist or know someone who is and you/they would like to submit work for consideration to show at Spencer House Gallery please click on the link below for more information.