I bet you read the title and thought, hang on, you're partnered with Van Gogh Art Gallery! And you're not wrong. The fact is, that opportunity was too good and fair to pass up.
I steer clear from most art galleries and awards however because I feel like it's an antiquated way for artists to promote themselves or value their work.
That's not to say there isn't great, wonderful opportunities out there.
The fact is, in this day and age of social media, digital marketing and general internet growth potential, I see no need for these to be the be all and end all of an artist's career. In fact, a lot of the time, galleries will charge upwards of 40% commission. They are providing a valuable service for select artists and some galleries are better than others. However I don't believe this should be a mandatory element of an artist's growth. And I am proof of this.
When I was first starting out my art career, I was approached by numerous "scammy" platforms like Hansford and Sons Emerging Artist Platform who prey on those upcoming artist's trying to make a name for themselves. In fact, I even agreed to work with them and had a truly horrible experience, I was completely ripped off. I will let all their reviews speak for me on this though.
After dealing with EAP and receiving emails from many other galleries over these recent years, I was fed up. I came to the conclusion that I refused to work with anyone that didn't provide true value or were greedy with their commissions/fees. And since switching my energy to my own learnings and promotion, rather than finding someone else to help, my career growth has come largely from social media and my own marketing efforts.
I am proof that you don't need to do things the traditional way, especially in such an untraditional career path, which art is.
Wonderful opportunities find me now and I am always open to more, but it has to be truly worth it for me to collaborate with galleries etc.
We're told not to talk about money but I believe I deserve 100% of my commissions as art is such a time consuming and somewhat personal pursuit.
Passionate artists put their entire being into pieces, they do not deserve to be ripped off or taken advantage of for exposure that we can often find on our own now. My time and energy is much more beneficial being put towards creating and sharing, than it is spent seeking representation. If a gallery would like to work with you, they usually make it known and from there you can weigh up your options.
I often get asked how did you find galleries to work with or how did they find you and whether or not I'm applying for awards etc. And to be 100% honest, I haven't needed to. I have found success by simply sharing my work using my own marketing techniques and believing in it and my value. Because of this, the opportunities and clients have found me (manifestation also, but that's another blog haha). Every artist's story is unique and there is no right or wrong way to pursue your career.
Moral of the story;
- Learn from my mistakes,
- Only work with companies and galleries that treat you with respect,
- Value yourself and your work,
- Understand that it is 2021 and you can be your own representation with a bit of effort and research,
- You are limitless!
In the end, I am grateful of this learning experience and I have come a long way with my own initiative and learnings.
Keep up to date with my day to day inspiration and lifestyle that drives my creativity by following me on Instagram. And keep your eye out for my next collection Wabi-Sabi, coming soon.
Read more musings here.
Contact me here.