You guessed it, probably not, but the question that I know flows through most people’s minds, especially artist’s, is ‘What decisions do I make in the first place to better my career and who can I trust to do the best job for me?’
Over the past five years and through much of my own art career, I have heard some horror stories from artists in regards to losing their work or it arriving damaged and no one taking responsibility, or just plain being ripped off by unscrupulous dealers and scam buyers.
I am going to point out a few points in this blog but I can assure you there are many examples of Artists being taken advantage of over the years.
We all aspire as Artists to be recognized by our peers and mainstream galleries and Art business’s.
After living in the United States for as long as I did, and traveling to and fro for the last 35 years, I realize that the mention of Cities like New York (I was based here for awhile), San Francisco (I was based here for ten years), Paris, London and many of the other Major European cities are the places that we as Artists aspire to exhibiting in.
I have exhibited in New York Twice and in a number of other cities across America and realized that the only way I could successfully do this and be regarded, as having any credibility was to live in the U.S for as long as I did.
I did in that time exhibit in what I would call legitimate main stream galleries but became very aware over time that there were other galleries that offered services to Artists based around group prices and group Exhibitions.
I cannot for legal reasons mention any of these galleries but I know of at least 6 of them just in the New York area that I would call vanity galleries.
These are galleries that offer Artists the wonderful opportunity to have a show and display their work in one of the Art centres of the world, New York.
The problem with this though is that generally they never point out to Artists before they make the journey to the Big Apple the following issues:-
- It is expensive to get to New York these days the dollar is about 30% lower than the U.S dollar at the moment.
- New York is not a cheap city to stay in, even budget accommodation can set you back a good chunk of your cash.
- These types of galleries offer you the stars and once you have signed up and don’t think you can live without them they start to hit you up with more prices for other services that they offer.
- Once they have you, they end up giving you tiny areas to display your work and email out to the same mailing list week after week so that the same non-collecting Art buyers come in and drink your wine and eat your food.
- Then once you have gone and they know you are on a plane and out of Manhattan they just take the work down and put someone else’s pieces up. I have spoken to two Artist that went back to the gallery, the gallery thinking that they had already left the country, and low and behold their work wasn’t even displayed, they simply then were met with a hostile and indignant director that told them to get out.
- If you think a mention of having a show in New York with these galleries will make your CV look good, then think again dear Artists. Any main stream gallery that is serious about promoting their Artists and looking after them will treat you like you have the plague as soon as they see any of these galleries mentioned in your portfolio.
If you want the thrill of heading to New York to do this, then by all means go ahead and enjoy yourself, however you may not get many sales (if any at all) and if you think the world will beat a path to your door because you have been there, then I think talking to the artists that have already done this will help you realize that what you are getting yourself in for is basically an expensive holiday in New York.
The reason I designed the Colour In Your Life business the way that I did in the first place was to enable all of the artists that work with us to have an international platform that will last them for years to come, not just a flyby night exhibition or a page in a magazine.
Our business model has been tried and tested over the last 5 years and is only getting stronger every year.
The question always is ‘what will you be doing in 5 years to promote your work?’ Generally the comments are the same; people still think things will change for them without them making any changes. They just don’t, and they never will.
The platform surrounding the arts is changing and the mechanisms of the past that used to work for promoting artists are quickly being replaced by technology and new and far more creative ideas than were possible 20 or even 10 years ago.
If artists can think of a better way to promote themselves than what we are doing then please tell me, as I wouldn’t like to miss out on any opportunities that we can create for our members and our artists.
As has been said to me by the girls that work with me, “Grae you have a lot of stuff and information crammed into that head of yours”. Hopefully over time I will be able to extract this information for you guys and put it into blogs and possibly books so that you can all have access to my travels and experience.
I genuinely want the best for everyone, and by becoming members of our website and not just sitting on the side lines hoping your life will change, you can all, in the end, enable us to make the Colour In Your Life website one of the greatest resources for art information in the world.
~ Graeme Stevenson
REF: Information on Vanity galleries and what they can and can’t do