Friday Tips: So Now You’re in a Gallery

Dear Friday Tipsters:

Good to be back. What did I accomplish during my absence?

–Drank fine bourbons, worked on the new book (done in spring), dealt with agents in Hollywood on script, landed some new art projects, advanced TV concept maybe a little, spoiled family, mentored teenage artists, sold a buttload of art in Nov/Dec, took on some new artists, slept.

Today’s tip below.  For future tips, please feel free to email questions to  I like making a direct response.  This is similar to what I do for the magazines.

Trust everyone is well.  Fire away.




The Dutchman and His Dealers, Posthumous 

You’re In a Gallery:  Now What?
            Firstly, I don’t feel you should expect miracles.  Give the dealer time to work the market, and find out which of your styles sells best.  If she makes suggestions about how to make your work more salable, listen to her—assuming that she knows her business, and you respect her.  If she’s urging a subtle change, play with it, see if it inspires you.  When you work with your dealer in a spirit of cooperation, and when that dealer has talents similar to those of a skilled book editor, the results are almost always good. 
            This does not mean, however, that the more shallow aspects of the art market should dictate how you work.  If you allow that to happen, you’ll wind up creating work that lacks soul, integrity and passion.  Always stay true to your vision, and always work within the guiding parameters of your intuition.  If you let other people sway you too far with well intentioned suggestions, you’ll get off the track of your own instincts, which will lead down a very dissatisfying road.  In the end, only you can know what it is you want, or need, to create.  No one else can fulfill this role for you, and no one else should.

            By this I don’t mean yours, but the gallery’s for your work.  Maybe they’ll call it enthusiasm, appreciation, or sheer love.  However it’s termed, the gallery staff should feel a genuine fascination for what you do.  Why?  Because collectors will sense their passion, and in turn become infected with it.  This will lead to sales, and a broadening reputation.
            Adversely, if the staff are indifferent to your work or, worse, blasé, this too will be sensed by potential collectors.  The next thing you know, you’ll become one of those non-selling artists whose pieces are ignored, then begin collecting dust, then are relegated to a back corner or shelved in the storage racks. 
            There is also the possibility that, no matter how impassioned the staff are, and no matter how hard they work, your stuff simply won’t sell.  It could be you’re in the wrong gallery, the wrong region, or it could be that no one has an answer for this unfortunate, but all too common, failing.  Nobody can really predict the art market, just as no one can really predict that other market based at the corner of Broad and Wall Streets.  Even so, the combination of a gallery’s energy, and your mastery, will normally bring good results.  Try to ensure that each gallery you work with functions on this basis.  If, after all good efforts, the work still isn’t selling, always be willing to try another gallery.  Each of my more successful artists has had to do this.