the art business - solving problems
"Aside from making art more affordable, we see ourselves as art matchmakers".
Below are some common issues experienced artists are well aware of regarding the business of selling art. We simply want people to first understand this business - then see how we plan to improve the business - making art more affordable for all, and rewarding artists who choose to take it seriously enough to dedicate much of their time, or life to it!
Note: One factor in the price of art is the "investment" factor. That's a whole subject in of itself and we don't even try to influence that - it's not our place. But, we can improve the buying system itself, making great art much more affordable. Jeffry Krafft
The Traditional Gallery
Artists turning professional soon discover privately-owned galleries (being owned by individuals) can let their individual tastes and opinions get the best of them, and the best of everyone involved. If and when a gallery's "image" or opinions on art become more important than actual sales, everyone suffers. A gallery having an distinct "style" is great. But if too many good artists can't display because of it, artists and buyers both suffer - the gallery may too.
Here we choose to stick to business and leave what we offer up to buyers as much as possible. We do, however, expect a standard, and encourage artists to reach a notable level in artistic achievement. And obviously not everyone is quite ready to be considered "professional". But as a general rule: "We believe if one paints it, and another enjoys it - help them own it!"
Physical brick & mortar galleries have limited wall space, again limiting availability.
Then there's the artist "solo show", a long-time tradition practiced in better art galleries. The concept has good intentions and we love the idea of open-minded people sharing this social experience. And the "star" of the event can feel quite special for the evening if you have a good turnout. We highly recommend attending and participating in these if possible. History shows, the right show, at the right time and place, for the right people, has been known to boost an artist's career long-term. But let's be honest. This is extremely rare. So rare that they make it into the history books! Unfortunately, more often these consist of the artist and/or owner investing a lot of time, effort, and money in advertising, social media, matting, framing, and free food & drinks for the attendees. Then most attendees turn out for the free stuff, with $30 in their wallet, seeing it as a fun, social event before heading out to a movie - which they can be. They can also be quite a confidence killer if turnout and sales are not what one hoped. A show considered "successful" usually produces a few short-term sales, with a few new, various contacts.
However, our bigger concern is actually this: These shows usually display for an entire month - taking up most of the gallery's wall space - leaving very little selection for buyers all month. So only 12 artists or less dominate the wall space all year, and it takes months or years for any new, accepted artist to show their work. So most regional artists are never seen by buyers!
And as you would expect, it takes a lot of paintings to fill a gallery's walls. Four paintings could be brilliant, but won't fill a gallery, and therefore will never be seen in a solo show. So, to be considered for a show, one has to either paint full-time an awful lot, paint in a style that's done very quickly, or has a lot of inventory around the house because they never sell. This eliminates many artists from being featured in these shows.
Group shows of 3-6 help with these issues to a degree, and could be a better route since a group can pool their resources. We also like how a buyer may attend to see one artist, but discover a couple more in the process! But again, it can be difficult to find and collaborate with artists to put it all together, and a gallery's selection is still quite limited.
Galleries inherit many costly expenses in order to operate. And like any business, must pass that expense on to you. Artists suffer as well, lowering their cost greatly trying to keep the selling price reasonable & competitive with other sources selling art - including places like "big box" stores.
Artists are also expected to match these highly inflated gallery prices on their own websites, at art fairs, etc. This is completely understandable. But if the gallery doesn't sell much work, an artist may sell nothing at all due to matching the inflated prices. Galleries also expect you to be exclusive - only with them within a 25 or 50 mile radius. Shipping art to far-away galleries can be a nightmare - sometimes never seeing your work again!
Last, most galleries have limited "bankers hours". Therefore, buyers who actually work enough to afford buying fine art, can never get there to do so! Not so good for artists.
The Artist Cooperative
Artist coops on the other hand, if government supported, are generally less biased and any member's artwork is accepted for sale once they pay membership dues. They also don't demand you to be exclusive. Others, operating as a group of artists, can however be very biased depending on the group, their tastes in art, whether they don't want further "competition" etc. They usually take a vote whether to accept you in their gallery.
For non-profit coops running on grants, the sales commission taken is usually lower, making art cheaper to buy! Great so far! However, being non-profit, very little effort is made actually selling members' work. It's just not a priority. And local volunteers, often having little or no knowledge about the art or artists themselves, are expected to assist customers. Or, artist members themselves may take turns doing the selling for the group. No conflict of interest there - we hope?
Then, in cases where everything is accepted, wall space obviously runs out quickly and artists' work commonly ends up in the hidden the back closets. And artists have no idea.
If receiving government grants, coops may be expected to support the community by presenting various cultural events, show children's school artwork, etc. which isn't even for sale, let alone something you want over your fireplace. Again, a nice thought, but little consolation for serious artists needing wall space - and buyers wanting selection.
Last, these non-profit organizations (relying on volunteers) just can't afford longer business hours where the average working person can visit. "Buyers need to be able to visit & browse often, so until the right piece will come along."
The Online Gallery
Then we have modern technology - buying through websites. Looking at still images, a 10-year-old can edit an image with an app, today's cameras still "see" things differently than our human eye, and computer screens all vary in color and values.. "Unlike the real thing, digital images of artwork can vary greatly."
Also there's the trouble, risk, and expensive of shipping something like large artwork through the mail. What if it's not what you expected? Do you really want to package & return ship a damaged painting? What if it gets damaged on the way back? What if the seller blames you for any damage - coming or going? Do you always know where your order is actually coming from, and whom the artist really is? Artists in need of money or void of imagination commonly "rip off" other successful artist's ideas. You may, or may not, blame them due to it being "tough business". But we hope people won't encourage this practice - let alone your new "investment" is worth the cost of the canvas.
The Art Fair
Last, art fairs are a great way to actually meet & buy direct from artists. We hope buyers can get out and visit these! But understand that artists pay a good-sized fee to participate in these and have to make it up in sales. So prices are generally higher.
As for the artists (whom our system is equally meant for), the fee, and expense of display panels, a weather-proof tent, a proper vehicle or trailer, travel, art packaging, credit card operation, lodging & food, all has to be made up in sales - not easily done. Also, it's difficult to keep transporting delicate framed artwork around in such conditions without causing some sort of bang or ding - there goes the profit! Last, usually outdoors, extreme temperatures or humidity can cause irreversible wrinkles, paint film cracks, or bowing - again, not good for profits.
However, some artists can actually make a sizable living at this traveling the country year-round. It's what we love to hear! As for buyers, the only problem is the premium price and getting to the fair when it runs for a weekend. And hopefully the weather cooperates. If it gets rained out, or you can't make it, there's always next year.
"First and foremost, we consider ourselves "art matchmakers". If there is a painting out there, and someone loves it, we want them to own and enjoy it! With no judging, no "games" on price, no making up stories about the artist, and no pressure to buy."
Be assured, each artist is personally approved and endorsed by us. We insist that your purchase and investment be trouble free and legitimate - from artists who take pride in their work, and appreciate your business as much as we do.
Next, in every consideration, we designed things to first keep our costs down as much as possible (and yes we do make some profit in order to operate). Then, we ask artists to offer their bottom-dollar, "out the door" price. We then take a minimum fee and pass that savings on to you. We rely on more sales, not inflated prices. And therefore, more art can make it from the artist's studio, to your walls, to enjoy for a lifetime.
Last, we then make shopping as convenient as possible, bringing the art to you, where you can literally see how it will look and feel to have in your home or business.