View Full Version : art agents
03-23-2006, 07:34 AM
Well Who are they and are they ,and do you think they really available for artist that are not"big time".I have several women that have approached me wanting to be my "agent" all of a suden.One in in Arizonahas been after me for over two years,the other local GA.They both have courted me with this and that,but I am kinda of gun shy because I have been bit so many times in the past.I am a studio arist,and a great marketing person might be a good asset?Does 10 or 15 % seem about right for an agent?My ears are open................
03-24-2006, 10:57 AM
Hi Ant, I too was approached by a few so called "artists reps". None of them impressed me and my thought was "why should I give you 10% ?
If you're serious about using them, I'd ask them that question.
I'd also inquire about their track record, actually find out who they represent and talk to those artists.
See what type of work those artists do.
Find out what galleries they've placed the artists in.
Visit those galleries if you can.
Don't forget, if you're selling a piece for $1000, the gallery gets $500, the rep $100 and you get $400.
Now, if you can't market the work yourself (another hat the artist wears) it might be a good deal, after all, $400 is a lot better than $000.
Also, beware, some artists reps want a fee UP FRONT. So watch what you get yourself into. Read the fine print!
Have a nice day,
03-24-2006, 01:19 PM
Another related question is:
Do galleries prefer to deal directly with the artist or the agent? I've been told that some like having the agent because that way they can discuss matters and have a go between person. I don't know, it didn't make that much sense to me.
I was told that my husband should be my agent and go around to the galleries and that I can just meet the owners of the gallery and let him handle the rest. That's not like me, I like to negotiate all deals for myself. So... I'd like to know if most gallery owners prefer the agent over direct.
04-05-2006, 10:28 PM
I've never had an agent so I've nothing to add to that, but I am interested in the dynamic of who should do the negotiations with the galleries,etc. I've been doing it all myself, but have noticed a distinct disadvantage to being an artist who talks business. It seems as if the perception is that art and business are mutually exclusive realms.
04-06-2006, 08:12 AM
Good Morning Studioine,
I have been both a studio artist (am one today) and also a gallery owner. As an artist I am always looking for someone to move my work quickly to generate funds for me. As a reformed gallery owner I can tell you that for the most part artists are a pain where you sit down.
Now I am not denigerating aritists. What I am saying is that managing expectations is something that gallery owners and artists do not do well. I know I have not done it that well.
The gallery owner wants the artist because the new artist can bring fame and money to the gallery owner and validate his ego. The artist wants somewhat of the same thing. Unfortunately for the artist there is always another artist that approaches the gallery owner that the gallerist falls in love with. The first artist does not get discarded but shunted aside.
It is a hard balancing act. The gallery owner has to make his overhead each month. So he will sell what he needs to make the bills and then worry about pushing his newest and latest prodigy.
Never never let the gallery owner think that you do not care about business. A lot of gallery owners come from the fact that artists "don't care" about the financial side. They want to have a parent to child relationship with the artist. It is sad but some artists want to be taken care of. That rrelationship does not pay the bills.
Sorry for the rant. Hit a nerve.
04-06-2006, 11:39 AM
very good points,the thought of getting 40% makes me boil blood blue.I was thinking about commisions and direct sales without a gallery,so I would only be giving 10or 15%,but would there be anough of a client base?I never herd of many artist that became really busy without being in major galleries around the country/world.I think gallery owners enjoy the power trip over artist,and they keep you strapped sometimes on purpose,so you have to rely on them.I have had a few good runs with galleries,but I have done much more on my own.Galleries usuall give there "big" artist all the "PLay" because it becomes down to how is generating the money.Example:gallery sells Chuily vase for 75 grand.Here comes little iron ant with his 2 to 10 thousand dollar sculptres.Who are they going to push and market,Chuily of course,it is all about the business of art.I have been the low end in the high end galleries for years,and this is the wall I have run into over,andover again.....IA
04-06-2006, 01:05 PM
I've had several art rep/consultant/agents sell my sculpture, the typical commission has been 10-15%. One of them I've paid 40% on several occassions, which may seem like a lot but she hustles and jumps through all the hoops creating the opportunity then deals with all of the details. I have always felt she earned her commission and have never resented paying the fee and she has been very flexible on her commission specifically to seal the deal and make the sale.
Generally these reps have someone coming to them looking for a work for a particular space and knowing of my work ask for images to submit to their client. The percentage they receive is basically a "finders fee" for the sale and since they have less overhead than a gallery take a smaller commission on sales.
There are a lot of flakes out there so watch out for your own interests, but basically what can having someone looking to sell your sculpture hurt? The main thing is to have everything clear up front so there are no misunderstandings later. Get it in writting if you have to, just to know everything that is expected. Also be clear in your mind what you want them to do for you.
04-06-2006, 03:03 PM
How did you get the agent? I almost had one a few years ago, but the contract was different than the verbal so I bolted.
The phone book lists a couple but they only handle paintings.
Here in the backwoods of St. Louis, MO I would love to find one.
I've also tried Internet searches, but to no avail.
Do you have any suggestions? I'm so very tired of spending my days trying to sell instead of sculpt.
04-06-2006, 08:49 PM
I really liked what you said because I have been "snakebit" so many times I built up an inner no trust with most people in the art business.I am a studio artist ,and the thought of someone with marketing and corporate usa experience could be what the DR ordered.Heck I have suffered financially at the expense of creating sculpture for years ,and I think now is the time to turn that around......IA
04-06-2006, 11:59 PM
I have never sought out an art rep, they have always found me because they felt my work might fit a particular siting. They probably sought me out through a referal/recommendation or by seeing my sculpture someplace.
40% Art Rep worked for the only gallery that has ever represented me in Dallas where I have maintained a studio for the past twenty years and she is very familiar with what I do. I haven't had a one person show in ten years but do still get work out there where it can be seen whenever possible.
I'm currently working on a commission for a local college and hoping to finalize a contract for another sculpture to be placed in NY through yet another consultant.
I have four sculptures temporarily placed in three states right now that have yet to produce any leads/nibbles towards commissions or sales. So you just never know what might get you noticed. Work hard and make your luck, and if someone expresses an interest in selling your work (and it feels right) then I say go for it!
I have also jumped through a lot of hoops for a lot of people who were very optomistic about a project and how my sculptures would fit right in, only to be rejected. So keep after it and don't let those who can't grasp the beauty of what you do (heh) get to you. There's someone out there ready to collect everything that you make, the trick is finding them and I'm not good at promoting my work.
St.Louis is no backwater town and I suspect there are some good art reps stalking about. So you just have to look at some of the art about town and figure out who put it there and figure out how to make that connection.
04-22-2006, 01:22 PM
I’m leery of agents. It seems too profitable for too little work. Better to do your own footwork unless rejection gives you hives or high blood pressure or something. Getting in shows and galleries and maintaining good relationships with them is not that difficult and not worth an agents cut imho.
Oh, I just realized I was speaking as a painter….sculptures a different beast and doesn’t sell as well in galleries perhaps, so the above may not be applicable.
04-22-2006, 02:47 PM
It stands to reason that, the larger and more public-space-oriented your scupltures are, the more likely an agent might be necessary...?
08-04-2006, 03:58 AM
for illustrators an agent can be very worthwhile - able to negotiate a much higher price that more than covers the fee.
I agree that you need to check agent's refs and track record.
08-04-2006, 07:31 PM
I had an agent once. He sold my things very well. But then I started getting complaints about him and his business practices. He would go into one small area and sell everyone on the block the same things.. Naturally the store owners were upset. He was pushy and rude. I had to get a lawyer to get rid of him. He damaged my reputation. So be sure to talk to his other clients before you sign anything. Talk to as many people he deals with as you can!! There are a lot of tailriders out there and they take what they can and run. Beware!! Scout
08-04-2006, 10:51 PM
Scout,I think you are right about "tailriders" as I have experienced this before,but there has to be top agent in the art field,but it might take right time and place to find one.....................IA
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