The purpose of an Art Gallery Today
Art Galleries can be found not just in cities but also in tourist spots up and down the UK. Although in much smaller numbers than a few years ago as a result of the economic downturn.
I have become very particular about who I show my art with. I am very clear on the purpose of the gallery. If it doesn’t meet with what I need, then I go elsewhere. Artwork galleries and gallery owners are like everything else in life. You come across good ones and bad ones. I, for one think that the nature of buying and selling art has changed. No-one seems to have told several of the art galleries who are still operating.
Artwork Galleries Purpose
I see the purpose of an art gallery as quite simple. To exhibit and sell artwork. In doing so, they should be there to help art buyers and people interested in art. A good gallery owner will know all about the artwork that they carry. They will be able to discuss this with people who come to their gallery to view the artwork. In essence, they are a bridge between the artist and the artwork. I believe that this is a great service and a good gallery owner and their staff can add hugely to the enjoyment for people purchasing an original artwork.
Art as a Product
Art galleries that I would suggest should give up the ghost are overly money orientated. Many are not interested in artwork or artists. That might sound ridiculous but I have now come across several art galleries who seem to exist simply because it seemed a “nice” thing to be a gallery owner.
Artists and students also ask me about this sometimes and one huge signal that you are in a gallery you should avoid is when an owner or employee refers to artwork as “product”! If I ever hear a gallery owner refer to my art as “product” then I know they are not for me.
Art galleries are there to provide a service and for that service they take between 40% to 60% of the purchase price. A good gallery can increase not only the price for an artist’s’ work over time. They can also help develop interest and understanding in an artist and their work.
Pop-up art galleries have emerged in recent years. These are organised with varying degrees of success. My experience of the best has been varied artwork, a great atmosphere and a good attendance. On the negative side, it has been of people who know nothing about art but are good at securing a hotel room for a cheap fee and think that is all that is required. Another thing I have noticed in recent years is organisers of such events cajoling artists to hand over their customer databases. Or to bring as many of their existing customers as they can. Is the idea not that the artist produces the work and it is the art galleries job to provide the venue and attract the viewers?
I am also now very clear on the way online galleries operate. Anyone can start one, and they do it with increasing frequency. Using the badge of charity is also something which the recession has increased. Charity is a positive thing but when an artist and the charity are making little from sales whilst the art galleries are making large profits then something is not right.
There are good art galleries out there. Ones who don’t talk about your artwork matching your cushions. Neither will they try to sell you overpriced plastic frames. These are the galleries I will work with. I have had enough of the other kind.
A great place to see artwork is in an artists studio. Many artists now, including myself, welcome visitors to their studios. The photograph above is of my studio, ready to welcome visitors. This was for the WASPS Studios Open Weekend in 2013.
The above YouTube video was taken just before the doors opened for Open Studios 2013 and features weaver Emma Jo Webster. Plus a peek into my studio.
A selection of Joe Hendry Artwork Galleries
Scottish Themed Artwork Gallery
Various Art Gallery