Monday, 19 September 2016

Where’s the best place to sell art?

The easy answer is where there’s a market for it, but that doesn’t really help. Finding that ‘market’ has always been the challenge for artists. Even Van Gough found it hard to sell his work to his brother, who was an art dealer! Finding the right market for your work often means looking outside the area you live in. Whilst, your ‘local’ Gallery might claim to ‘support local artists’, its sales you need, not just ‘support’. Interestingly, you and your art often hold more appeal if you’re not ‘local’. That’s because it makes your ‘story’ more intriguing/interesting to potential buyers. And people like a good story to go with their art, something to tell their friends when they show off their new art purchase.

Looking outside your local market can be quite a challenge, but it can also prove to be very worthwhile. Here’s some extreme examples. I once worked a consultant to the creative sector in Wales. In doing so, I was able to help quite a few artists find new markets for their work. A very good figurative artist was having problems finding any market for his work in the UK. So he was encouraged to try Germany and then had great success. Another artist, who produced large abstracts, found it impossible to get more than £600.00 for his originals locally, but an introduction (though a Government scheme) to a Gallery in New York now sees his work selling at $40k plus! Closer to home, there are artists in Scotland selling well in London, just as artists from Berkshire selling their work in Ireland. One artist that we’ve been printing for over the last ten years, finds the biggest market for her Suffolk scenes is outside Suffolk. Makes sense really. 

It also appears that the best prices can be achieved outside your local market - ‘local’ art doesn’t seem to hold the same value proposition. One of the framers in our own town sells ‘local watercolour originals’ at not much more than the cost of the materials and frame!  Crazy!

So, to answer the opening question of where’s the best place to sell art, you have to step out the box and introduce your work, and yourself, to new markets. Find new places and new buying publics. Van Gough would be amazed if he knew the best price for his work was actually achieved in New York!

Monday, 12 September 2016

Limited Editions of a Limited Edition?

An interesting puzzle came in a recent phone call. Etchers normally produce a short run of prints from their work and often one of them comes out much better than the rest. These prints are all produced by hand, you roller the ink onto your etching plate and then lay sheet of paper over it and apply the pressure. Each print is from a ‘Limited Edition’. So, what happens if you take the best one and have it giclée printed as another type of ‘Limited Edition’? This challenges the whole concept of ‘Limited Editions’. There’s no law governing ‘Limited Editions’, other that the contract you enter into with a buyer when you say you are selling him say ‘No 5’ of a ‘Limited Edition’ of 50. The buyer would have good reason to sue you if he found you’d sold another ‘No 5’ or if the Edition was expanded to 500. But what if there were two number ‘5’s, one was an original etching print, the other was the fifth giclée print copy from that original print. It would be good to know what the lawyers thought of this?