Why should artists be represented by an art gallery?
Following the publication of an article on the BBC by Carolyn Rice, the Technology of Business reporter in which I have been quoted, it lead me to think a little more about the subject and question why should artists be represented by an art gallery?
Briefly, the article is about online sales and the role social media is playing in the promotion of the arts, artists and galleries. One particular artist, Ashley Longshore, wants to swing the power solely to the artist, cutting out galleries altogether. Please do click on the link to read it. www.bbc.co.uk/news/business
If the artists we represent were to go it alone, using social media and websites as the only window to their markets, many would fail. Most have no wish to spend time running their own business. The reason our artists are represented by us is because it leaves them free to concentrate on making their artwork.
Why Buy Art from a Gallery?
The hardest part of running a successful art gallery is finding the right artists to represent. Many young artists naively believe they are able to leave college and make a quick buck. It's not that this never happens, but it is extremely unusual.
When a gallery takes on a new artist its principle aim is to build a relationship with them. It’s a long term commitment on both sides. Many of the artists Catto Gallery represents have had over seven or eight solo shows with us over a period of 20 years.
The same applies to our clients - it is about building a relationship. We learn what they are interested in, whether they are looking to build a collection, or if it is just a one-off purchase. The fact that we have been in business for 30 years gives them the confidence they are buying into something with value.
Galleries carry out the initial edit, by selecting work they believe is of a high standard. They can tell customers about the artist’s background, previous exhibitions, their inspiration and technique. Often they will hold private views - an opportunity to meet the artist and view the exhibition as a whole. But most importantly, a customer can view a painting close-up and in real life.
Viewing a painting on a computer or a printed page is a poor substitute. Large works especially can have that ‘wow’ factor in the flesh.
The Role of Social Media
Social media is playing an ever increasing role in bringing art to a larger audience. We welcome this and it is vital art galleries embrace new platforms to showcase their artists. But what galleries do is act as a filter and find the quality among the thousands of hopeful creative individuals making, painting and expressing themselves.
Director - Catto Gallery