Monthly Archives: September 2011

Does the lack of major/international gallery exposure lower the overall value of an artist’s work? –

“I remember quite a lot of points you made up on the artists marketing salon. However I have a question that I don’t think got covered. I have been selling art now for 5 years but still have not had a show at a ‘big’ gallery or any gallery with international visibility. Does that devalue the work (not the selling value but overall value). By this I mean do you consider one to one sales and commissions to count in light of the career of a given artist.

I only say this because every gallery I have approached have basically said they are not open for submissions (ie the submission process has been closed off).

But the question of the overall value of my work lingers because I have created just over 1600 works including 250 paintings. Your insight would interest me greatly (only if you have time). Best, Luke”.

The above is a comment I received from fellow artist and friend Luke Gilliam. I decided the most beneficial way to respond to Luke’s comment/question, was for me to create this discussion and respond herein, thus perhaps benefiting other group members in the process.

Ok, so in my opinion (and remember this is only my personal opinion), the answer is no!  Personally, I do not think that lack of any major gallery or gallery with international visibility is going to devalue the overall worth of the work.  The fact that Luke discriminates between monetary value and overall value is an important distinction, as commercially, lack of exposure will certainly hold back the value of work in monetary terms.

Now here we hit upon the usual issues of what does the individual artist seek from his endeavours.  We have artists that are motivated by wanting to be internationally known, have works exhibited extensively, held in both private and public collections and reap all of the commercial (i.e. monetary benefits) that all of the aforementioned can potentially bring.  Alternatively, we have other artists whose prime motivation is to create, have no real interest as to if and where their work is shown, and commercial gains are of no relevance/interest whatsoever.  In both of the aforementioned circumstances, one could argue that the overall worth of the work remains unaffected as to a large degree, “overall value” is subjective (not so with commercial value, as this is primarily bench-marked by secondary market sales).

Thus, perhaps my first question to Luke must be “which artist are you, the former or the latter”?  I mention this, because Luke goes on to talk of gallery submissions.  Now private art galleries are undoubtedly only interested in the former, because they are commercial businesses and stay in business by selling artist’s work.  If the artist is not motivated commercially, it is unlikely that the gallery will be motivated to work with him/her.  Of course, there are exceptions, but they are few and far between.

Essentially, what I am saying, is if you want to secure representation with a gallery, first and foremost you will need to sell them yourself, followed closely by your work.  Chose carefully the galleries you approach, because your work will need to be a “fit”.  If you have strong work, are commercially minded and can demonstrate such, galleries will almost always be open to submissions (often even when they indicate they are not).  Of course, you will also need to build your status as an artist, try to secure international recognition (you don’t need to exhibit physically to do this, there are numerous other methods), or at the very least national recognition.  You must be credible, as must your work, but above all, you need to be commercial and attractive to collectors.  This for sure will draw the attention of the galleries.  Now if we’re talking of public institutions (Museums and the like), that could be another story and perhaps another discussion.

Lastly, just out of curiosity, I did a Google search for “Luke Gilliam”, which turned-up a couple of Ning based websites (including b-uncut), and an image search likewise.  No personal website that I could see, no business listings (at least not on the first two pages).  Ning sites, Facebook, MySpace and the like are all well and good, but your’ll need more than this to build your commercial credibility as an artist.

I hope this helps and if nothing else, at least gives you some food for thought!

via Does the lack of major/international gallery exposure lower the overall value of an artist’s work? –

Briefs –

The latest Brief that I have received notice of, quotes a budget of US$1000 to US$1500.  It goes on to stipulate that the following, and I quote:

“We want  a wall mounted piece of artwork – we are open to any medium, size, etc. proposed by the artist. We’d like the work to be within the style and medium the artist is known for already. We’ll consider proposals, but expect the artist to have a bio that includes at least one solo show and/or inclusion in a group exhibition at a nationally respected gallery – or have a piece in a regional or national museum collection. We are very open on timeline.”

The point here, is that the specs of the Brief with regard to artist status, do not match the budget proposed! What artist at that stage of their career, is going to do a one-off commission at that price?  It just doesn’t make any sense, and reads as if it’s an attempt to exploit artists.

As Blur Group are representing artists, it seems to me that the onus should be on them to advise the client with regard to these discrepancies.  Even if the budget were increased to 1500 euros (US$2140), it really is still only an entry level price range (if that!).

This client states themselves as collectors and gives examples of past acquisitions, in which case they must me more than aware of these facts.  Of course, if they change the artist spec they can have a mountain of choice in the price range proposed, but then that would be more in the decorative art category, and it seems quite obvious that this client is a savvy collector and not interested in that sector at all.

As I have said, this seems like an attempt to exploit artists by using the “brief” platform, and my advise to all artists that fit the artist status described, is to boycott the client, until such time that a fair and correct budget is proposed.  I believe these are important factors that need to be highlighted in the interests of all artists, and as such, I have written to the Blur staff, suggesting that they review this situation, and perhaps also provide some assurances that Blur Group will in the future take steps to ensure that any/all briefs accepted on their part, are accepted on budget terms that at least fit the terms defined, and not terms that are simply proposed by their client, as that does nothing to protect the interests of the artists Blur ultimate represent.  As representatives, Blur Group have at the very least a moral obligation to protect the interests of those artists concerned.  In this case, they clearly have not done so.

The Brief to which I refer is referenced Project ID: NA31081807, and currently can be read via this URL:  As I have stated above, I would urge all/any artists at this level in their career to boycott this Brief until such time the budget be reviewed upwards, and I have suggested a minimum budget of 1500 euros (US$2140), although as I have also said, even at that figure, it can only be viewed as an entry level budget, and as such will limit greatly the options any artist is able to propose.

It can be a hard path to being a successful artist, and in most cases always is.  As such, once you have solo shows and works in public collections, you may consider yourself as being well on your way to the status of successful artist, and should not be asked to sell works for ridiculous prices, to what are clearly opportunists and exploitative collectors.  Collectors such as these should be avoided, and in most cases, your representatives will ensure they are, or at the very least, educated to be aware of the true market value of an artist’s work!