When you decide to sell your art, you become a business owner. In the beginning you do everything yourself. You buy the supplies and make the art. You market, promote, sell, distribute the art. You do all the paper work and customer service. Phew – no wonder you get tired sometimes!
When your art sales produce a profit, it’s time to consider paying for help. You can start with finding an accountant, assistant, bookkeeper, and caregiver for family members.
“The art market is huge and complicated these days… How should an artist pick an marketing advisor: how do I know if they really know the market segment my work belongs in? For clarification, I’m thinking of an art marketing advisor as someone who would give advice about how to position the type of work I am making for maximum sales; which avenues of sales (wholesale, galleries, licensing, etc.) are most appropriate for my work, and how to position myself for that particular market. I realize that there are reps who actually do the marketing of other’s work, but I’m not sure I’m ready to consider that.” KD
Some of you may be ready to work with an art professional. Titles can be confusing. In a nutshell, here is what each art professional does:
Artist Advisors (that would be me) guide artists who want to make a better living making art. Artist Advisors:
- help artists decide what they want from their art and create a pathway to get it;
- visit artists’ web sites and studios to advise how to improve their Internet presence;
- evaluate artist business plans to assess what is working and advise how to make it work better;
- review artist marketing plans to assess what is getting results and advise how to get more exposure;
- discuss artists pricing strategies and sales results and advise how to make more money;
- advise on how to deal with collectors and other art professionals;
- write about art marketing for blogs, web sites, magazines, or books.
Unlike the remaining art professionals, art advisors do not sell or represent your work.
Art Advisors purchase or lease art for private collectors. Art Advisors:
- educate their clients;
- acquire art for collections;
- manage art collections;
- install the work;
- rotate the collection.
Art Consultants purchase or lease art for corporations, healthcare facilities and other organizations in the public and private sector. Art Consultants:
- acquire and manage corporate art collections;
- install site-specific commissions;
- curate art exhibitions;
- produce art events;
- develop educational activities about art for employees, customers and the local community.
Art Curators advise private collectors and museums on acquisitions and loans of art. Art Curators:
- visit artists’ studios to learn about their work and select pieces for exhibitions;
- evaluate art works that collectors wish to donate to a museum;
- select art from the museum’s collections for exhibits;
- organize traveling art exhibitions;
- write about art for catalogs, brochures, magazines, or books.
Art Licensing Agents represent artists who have work that manufacturers can lease to use on products. Art licensing agents:
- help you decide which work is appropriate for licensing;
- identify the appropriate retail channels;
- create a sales and marketing plan to promote your artwork;
- promote art to their contacts in the market;
- negotiate licensing contracts and royalty payments;
- administer contracts for licenses;
- keep up to date on current licensing trends and themes.
Artist Representatives are private dealers who represent artists. Artist Representatives:
- arrange and produce exhibits and meetings with individual collectors;
- provide museum and gallery placement;
- arrange promotional support;
- do public relations;
- provide marketing services for the artists they represent.
Gallery Dealers are retailers who present quality works of art and guarantee authenticity and archival quality. Gallery Dealers:
- have expert knowledge and inventory of specific artists or art periods;
- have a niche of art that they exhibit;
- have a clientele that appreciates the work they exhibit;
- have fixed exhibit space and/or web sites where they show work and demonstrate their expertise to collectors, critics, and curators through catalogs, group or solo exhibitions.
- The relatively new term “Gallerists” refers to gallery dealers who take a more active role in promoting individual contemporary artists, and not just a certain type of work. Their role echoes the “old style” galleries who took artists under their wings.
Source by Aletta De Wal