Whenever I was considering adding an artist to the gallery roster two distinct factors came into play in my decision making process. One was considering an established artist who would add immediately to the exposure, the prestige and aesthetic advantage it would contribute and second considering a relatively obscure artist who had a very clear artistic personality and skill set. In other words something I could not get anywhere else and was in complete alignment with the gallery sensibility.
I had recognized that these two strategic factors were powerful enough on their own to make or break any gallery. In fact any significant gallery does the same thing an artist needs to do and that is defining very clearly who they are. Success and failure comes down to having a knack for recognizing something special and then the skill, insight and ability to present that to an audience in a compelling and distinct way.
Many artists and galleries for that matter, get stuck in the developmental stage of their evolution. This, in my view, has to do with closed mindset and the unwillingness to take leaps and to trust yourself. It plays out by reserving a mental space of thinking if one thing doesn’t work I will adapt to the marketplace. In most businesses this is absolutely valid but in the art scene it is deadly no matter how much you want to defend that position. I have actually had artists show me their work and when I concluded it didn’t fit with the gallery they brought out other work and said, ‘well, how about this work that I do?’ My internal reaction is, ’how many freaking kinds of work do you do?’ At that point I know the conversation is over and any future chance of inclusion is gone.
If we look closely this example disintegrates any possibility of creating value. Oversupply decreases value and undersupply increase value. Common sense. Your unique personality combined with your particular skillset is your value metric. Develop it and commit to it and anything is possible. All I know is when I look at any work this is my qualifier for any attention to what I am seeing and possibly considering. And to be clear for pure collectors that is their criteria as well. Much, much more can be said about this but the bottom line is who are you? That’s what I want to know and it should be so obvious on first look that I either want it or I don’t.
So consider asking yourself ‘who am I?’ The benefit of honestly examining this has the potential of kicking you forward and into any possibility. Might be worth a try.
image: Marc Baseman, graphite on paper
Marc is a Southwestern artist who does amazing miniature drawings typically 2″x3-4″.He is a great example of skillset and personality and worth looking up his images online. I have actually exhibited Marc’s work in the past and consider him an extraordinary artist.Love his stuff.