QUESTION: 00:04 Artist: Valri Ary; Longwood, Florida USA
QUESTION: 00:04 What changes did you need to make?
Valri Ary: 00:04 I was selling online and they were taking 30% – 35%.
QUESTION: 00:11 Where were you selling online?
Valri Ary: 00:12 Sachi Art, Van Gogh Art, and Art Finder.
QUESTION: 00:17 What else were you doing?
Valri Ary: 00:18 As well, I was doing art shows like the weekend expensive stuff. So it’s not like I wasn’t making any money, but I was having to pay a lot of money before I made a lot of money.
QUESTION: 00:29 Were you making money with your art?
Valri Ary: 00:29 It wasn’t that I wasn’t selling art, I just knew that that wasn’t the right way to do it. And the whole gallery thing (which I know we’re going to talk about later) but the whole gallery thing was just pain in my ass because they weren’t cooperative. They didn’t want me to succeed.
QUESTION: 00:45 Why did you need to make a change?
Valri Ary: 00:47 It’s just that I was spending so much money to “hopefully” make some money by doing the weekend events, paying up to $1000 to spend a weekend at someone else’s event. There was like 200/300 people that were going to spend that kind of money, and then there was all these people that are just Lookie-Loos. So it was like ‘I’m making enough money to do this, but I’m not making enough money to make it make sense’. I’ve got my travel to wherever it is I’m going, I’ve got my lodging and I’ve got my food.
QUESTION: 01:25 What did you do?
Valri Ary: 01:25 All that lugging around and my birthday was March 29th and I sold my art car that day. It was such a nice feeling because it’s was like, and we’re done. I don’t ever have to put shit in this car again. I don’t have to lift those heavy grates and that big booth. It kills my back. I’m old, I’m old. So on my birthday I sold that car for $700 and that $700 was the best money ever.
QUESTION: 01:50 What was your experience with gallerists?
Valri Ary: 01:52 I went in to see him with my new art and he said, I’m selling the gallery. I said, and what are they doing with the gallery? He said, oh no, they are going to continue running the gallery. You’ll probably like them. They’re women your age. I’m like, perfect. So they became my friends. And so I was able to pull out all my old stuff and some of my new stuff and they became great friends of mine. I organized an art market there, but then they sold.
QUESTION: 02:27 What were the new gallery owners like?
Valri Ary: 02:27 The new people were horrible. (With the second owners) I got all the names and addresses of everybody that bought any of my stuff. That art market was a huge success for everyone.
QUESTION: 02:36 Then what happened?
Valri Ary: 02:37 So now dealing with a third owner,
QUESTION: 02:41 Then what happened?
Valri Ary: 02:41 I go in to talk to them and they’re like, oh this is our gallery and this is our contract. I took a look at it because the other two women were friends and so they would keep 10% – 15% whatever I wanted, they were good with. They didn’t discount my work either because another gallery I had been in prior to them, they would. $1,000 piece of work, let’s just say because I can only do easy numbers, on a $1,000 they want 50% so that means I’m getting 500. Then they would go in and discount it for whatever reason like, ohit has been here for more than two weeks so we’re going to discount it $100. I don’t get my 500 anymore. Now I’m only getting $450.
QUESTION: 03:19 What did you learn?
Valri Ary: 03:23 No one can sell your work like you can.
QUESTION: 03:28 What did the new gallery owners tell you?
Valri Ary: 03:28 It’s all about them because they’re on commission. They want to make that sale. “This is what we’re gonna do and if we discount it, there was a clause in there that said ‘we don’t have to ask permission if after two weeks it doesn’t sell we’re going to discount it’. So of course I was just mortified. I was like, I need to think about this. I went home and got onto my word and made myself up a contract. Very simple. It was like two pages long, it didn’t have anything creepy in it like there’s did. I just said, this is what I want to do. They were like, get out of here. I just said, if the painting is $1,000 and you’re getting 50% (again, my easy numbers) if you discount it you have to take that in the shorts, not me.
QUESTION: 04:11 Did you share your contract with other galleries?
Valri Ary: 04:12 So I tried it at a couple of other galleries in town and they just laughed me out of there like who do you think you are? But back then I thought I need to be in galleries.
QUESTION: 04:20 What didn’t you know?
Valri Ary: 04:22 I didn’t know about referrals. I didn’t know about any of this other stuff. I think I had learned a little bit before I came across you, but there was just so much you didn’t know.
QUESTION: 04:35 What do artists need to know?
Valri Ary: 04:38 I think they sell themselves too short. They just think, oh yeah, it took me like 25 hours to paint this so you can sell it for like $40. I think they just undervalue themselves. They sell themselves short and they don’t realize that it’s not just the time you put into making a painting, it’s all your experience prior to that that got you to that painting.
QUESTION: 05:03 What else do artists need to know?
Valri Ary: 05:06 So it’s the whole undervaluing. I think that is the biggest thing is people just undervalue it. A Lot of people think they want to be professional artists, but it takes some balls, be professional artist.
QUESTION: 05:18 What’s changed for you?
Valri Ary: 05:18 And she goes, I love that painting. How much is it? and I told her the price. She goes (gasp). She has bought lots of art from me and she knows I’m not cheap. And she just goes, oh, I can’t do that. And a part of me was like, oh, I could do a discount. Then I said, no. No, I can’t.
QUESTION: 05:39 What advice would you give your younger self?
Valri Ary: 05:39 The advice to hold onto Anita in fourth grade. Because I was at a new school and I’m in fourth grade and I’m trying to make friends. It was my first day and I’m nervous. I’m doodling. I draw this picture of a dog, and the boy behind me taps me on the shoulder and he goes, hey, can I have that? I need to make friends, so I went to rip it out of my book and give it to him. And this girl, the row across from me, she stands up and she goes, that’ll be 25 cents, David. And she goes, hi, I’m Anita. And she was my manager the whole time I was at that school. We sold so much of my art. I mean it went up in price of course, but yeah, if it was 25 cents and drawn on loose leaf paper, she would keep 5 cents of that.
QUESTION: 06:19 What was it like to share your mission?
Valri Ary: 06:22 And I got up and I said it and they were all just like, oh my God. And one by one, they all stood up and started clapping, which got me more emotional.
QUESTION: 06:36 What would you say to artists who are considering applying to this program?
Valri Ary: 06:36 It’s $2,000. You can spend that in a weekend, you know? I mean, realistically $2,000 is nothing. I don’t know if you read my post but I realized that I just recently did my books because I just sold another big painting and I’m like, oh, I should probably tally up since I started the course. And I was like, oh my God. Yeah. Like I made $8,000 since I started, but I just didn’t keep track. In my head I’m keeping track, but it wasn’t until I sat down and did the math, and it could probably even be higher if I took into account all that shit I didn’t apply for and all the stupid contents. I didn’t go into.
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