Saturday, January 24, 2015

Galleries...What to Do, What to Do?

I took a little trip to Palm Desert yesterday to run some some stuff I can't do here in the hi desert. One of those errands was to traverse El Paseo (a mile-long shopping district that's supposedly the equivalent of Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills) and see what's the latest with the art galleries there.

El Paseo,Palm Desert,CA,California,shopping,trendy,boutiques,gallery,galleries
El Paseo, Palm Desert, CA   (Image by City of Palm Desert)
Well, let's see...some of the galleries I knew were gone -- out of business, I assume. A few other galleries moved around...not sure, but I think they downsized to lower square-footage spaces. Some of the places I remember are still there, and there were a few newer galleries, too, giving it a go.

What I also noticed was the continuing shift toward contemporary art. I didn't see much classical representation artwork, which -- of course -- that's the kind I do. With two exceptions, I didn't see any galleries on El Paseo where I thought I would fit.

Another thing -- seems like these days, I get feelings of discomfort just from being in galleries. I was handing out business cards and promotional postcards to a few of the galleries, but y'know -- I've had enough bad experiences with galleries (including one on El Paseo -- he's still there, by the way) that I'm still not sure I even want to go with them.

The balance of power definitely favors them. Galleries are so used to doing things a certain way (and it's worked for them) that artists like me really have no leverage. Consignment only. Contact them a certain way, even at a certain time of the year. Exclusivity rights -- artists can't show anywhere else within a defined region. No real contracts spelling out everyone's rights. And essentially being at their mercy.

Their cut is anywhere from 40% to 60% of the retail price of the art. Lots of hoops to jump through, and then they may take more than the artist can afford; at least, until the artists become "hot stuff," which tends to be unlikely.

So-o-o...I guess I'll have to continue to find other ways of selling art. Don't know what yet -- I feel like I've tried everything -- but I may have to try those same things somewhere else.

I'll keep painting and then storing the paintings until the right opportunities come along. I have to minimize these art-biz gambling losses -- I've lost too much already.

And, of course, I'll keep hoping that the economy will improve so people will return to buying "luxury" goods like art.

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