Last week I read an article about Artist Reps in the Art Biz Blog. Since I, personally, have very little experience in this part of repping, I was very interested in the story … and the numerous comments to the article.
My experience with artists comes only from selling notepads, calendars, cards, matted prints and magnets that are designed with an Idaho artists images. Beautiful pieces, to say the least, but I did not sell the actual painted images. It was not my foray as I worked mainly with gift shop type stores!
Learning about Art Reps was a new concept to me. Artists tend to sell their pieces in galleries — places I seldom sold my lines to. Lots of galleries sell pieces on consignment, but, I found, that Art Reps are a needed middleman (or women) in some instances.
According to Alyson Stanfield, in her article, The Mythological Artist Rep ….
…I have never heard of a rep that an artist was pleased with outside of a spouse or BFF. They are as mythological as unicorns.
I must admit that the comment originally made me chuckle, but as I read on I understood better what she meant!
The reason reps don’t exist at that level is because gallerists and curators want, and expect, to deal directly with artists. Reps are third parties that get in the way of business. Gallerists consider them a threat to their bottom line since their fees must be taken from somewhere.
Alyson lists in her article, five different points to consider before hiring a Art Rep. Actually, the list look very similar to the list I would suggest before hiring a sales rep (Read more on Interviewing Sales Reps).
If you are a fine artisan, I highly recommend reading the Art Biz Blog article, The Mythological Art Rep. I would also recommend reading through the 61 comments (at least that was the total as of this writing), as some of the comments were as interesting and informative as the original article.
If you have an Art Rep working for you or if YOU are an Art Rep, please let us know in the comments below how it is working for you.