Artist: Maria Beadell; London, England

QUESTION: Where are you based now?

Maria Beadell: I’m in London, UK

Ann Rea: Okay, cool. There are a lot of Londoners.

Maria Beadell:  Yeah. There’s a lot of us.

Ann Rea: I can’t wait til the Queen enrolls.

Maria Beadell:  I know. It’s only a matter of time, obviously.

Ann Rea: It is.

QUESTION: What were your challenges as an artist?

Maria Beadell: I’ve painted, I’ve always painted. Mainly portraits, but I’ve never really had a focus on what kind of portraits, where I’m going with them, what I’m doing, why I’m doing them, so no real focus at all.

QUESTION: What was your other challenge as an artist?

Maria Beadell: The most obvious one is complete lack of confidence, you know, I mean, that’s the first thing.

QUESTION: What was your other challenge as an artist?

Maria Beadell: And also not being able to talk about my work at all, and not knowing what to say, so people sort of, you know, I’ve exhibited, you know, and spoken to people about my work and they’ve asked me about my work and they’re sort of like, “Oh, so what is all this about, then?” And I’m just kind of like a bit clueless about what, “Oh, well, I just thought about, was quite a nice person to paint so I painted them.” You know, it doesn’t mean anything. It just felt a bit meaningless.

QUESTION: Have you written an artist statement?

Maria Beadell: Oh, God, I mean, yeah, when I’ve got time to think about it, I have done artist statements, and I have made a load of, like, really cliched, shitty stuff up that I’ve just picked up online that has no relevance to me whatsoever. And I just thought, “Ooh, buzzword, I’m going to put that in, I’ll put that one in.” And then just stood there and felt really uncomfortable and just talked a load of bullshit and…

QUESTION: What does Ann Rea think about artist statements?

Ann Rea: They are conversation killers, is what they are.

Maria Beadell: Yeah, yeah, I totally agree. Yep.

Ann Rea: And so if you can’t, if they kill the conversation, and you can’t connect with the prospective collector and then you kill the sale. And you kill your self confidence because you know you’re full of shit when you’re writing this stuff.

Maria Beadell: Exactly, and it must come across that you’re full of shit. I mean, it must, it must be obvious.

QUESTION: What did Maria learn about selling her art on saatchiart.com?

Maria Beadell: So, I received a newsletter from Saatchi, because I’m signed up to them, I’m on their platform, just informing me that now and again they offer their collectors promotional discounts. Yeah, and it was just casually mentioned and it was sort of like, and it was just a really brief summary of it just saying, “And the artist and Saatchi will share the cut.” So, I thought, “Oh, okay, this is interesting.” And I just emailed the support, you know, help line, just to see what that was about. And I got what I now realize was a stock response that is cut and pasted and sent to everyone who asks this question, which was this, “Oh, we must remind you that you signed up to this, it’s in our terms and conditions,” and it was basically that they offer, in order for the collectors to see, apparently to see work that they wouldn’t previously be exposed to, they occasionally offer promotional discounts on selected artist work, but they don’t explain who the select, I think it’s random. And then the artist gets a 65% cut of the final sale price and Saatchi gets the 35%. And that’s how it works. I then emailed and said, “Okay, well, can you show me where it says that in the terms and conditions,” and they sent me the link to that, but it was really brief, you know, just didn’t really explain all that detail at all. It just said, “We occasionally offer discounts.” And didn’t explain that it would affect my cut, ’cause I woulda kinda think, “Well, if they offer discounts and don’t ask the artist, then, you know, they should really be taking the cut out of that, not the artist.” I mean, come on, that’s not really fair because I haven’t chosen, as the artist, to apply a discount.

QUESTION: Why shouldn’t you discount your art?

Ann Rea: You shouldn’t because it will really hurt your reputation with people who you’ve already paid you full price, or you’ve asked to pay your full price. It hurts your front end

Maria Beadell: Yeah, exactly.

Ann Rea: And the valuation of your art.

QUESTION: How does Saatchi decide whose art they discount?

Maria Beadell: I asked as well, “Well, how do you, can you explain how you choose which ones?” And he didn’t answer that question, just kind of ignored it.

Ann Rea: So, Saatchi, if you’re listening, you might want to answer the question, It’s a very valid question.” I’m going like this imagining Saatchi were to mess with me.

Maria Beadell: Imagining Saatchi in the clouds up there in their ivory towers, ivory tower.

QUESTION: Can you sell your art on saatchiart.com?

Ann Rea: I have students in 19 countries, so I talk to a lot of artists, and I have not met a single artist whose had success on Saatchi, or other platforms like Saatchi. And it’s because you’re in this really crowded space, and it’s near impossible for you to differentiate yourself in this mosh pit of art.

Maria Beadell: Yeah

Ann Rea: So, I don’t believe, like I believe that you should zig where everyone else is zagging. That’s fundamentally why it’s, why making art and making money program is fundamentally different, because I don’t believe in duking it out with other artists.

QUESTION: What alternative does an artist have?

Ann Rea: Well, I believe in creating distinct value above and beyond the art itself in service to a target market, and you can let all the other artists duke it out for the scarcity, from the scarcity and permission-based art establishment, which is what Saatchi is.

QUESTION: Have any students, from 19 countries and counting, sold their art on saatchiart.com?’

Ann Rea: I did have one student tell me she sold one piece, I don’t know for what price, and I don’t know at what discount, and that was after two years.

Maria Beadell: Wow

QUESTION: What else did Maria learn about saatchiart.com?

Ann Rea: It sounds like it was really, this is, you know, this is your product, this is your inventory, and it sounds like it was really difficult for you to get an understanding what was happening about them slashing your price.

Maria Beadell: Yeah, exactly, it was very veiled. I mean, I don’t think they expect people to actually ask about it. Another thing I found out was that I, I actually emailed them, as well, to ask, you know, I’ve been on there for about four months, and I haven’t had a single view? Not even a single view, so I emailed them and said, “Okay, I’m not having much success on your site, could you perhaps, you know, explain why, what am I doing wrong?” or something. And they replied, the same guy again, and he said, “Okay here is some,” you know, stock tips. And the first one was, “lower the price of your art.” That was the first thing. Now, I’m not charging a ridiculous amount, like, they email every week a newsletter of all the, apparently, the art that sold, which I don’t even believe. And it’s like thousands and thousands of dollars, or pounds.

QUESTION: How much can you be paid on saatchiart.com?

Ann Rea: I do want to mention there is one student, also from England, who told me she sold a piece on Saatchi, I take back the back, there’s two students I know of the 19 countries, however, she sold it, and then she had to pay so much foreign exchange tax, she wound up with $10.

Maria Beadell: I saw that, yeah, in the Facebook group. Yeah, I know, which kind of just, you know, it’s totally pointless then.

Ann Rea: Right, because then you don’t know, you might be, if you’re exposing yourself to some risk there, if that sale, if there’s a transaction that happens on Saatchi and you don’t know, you’re liable for all this tax. Do you really want to do it?

Maria Beadell: No!

QUESTION: What else did Maria learn about saatchiart.com?

Maria Beadell: No And another thing that confirms what you say is the other tip was to enter their competition.

Ann Rea: No!

Maria Beadell: I saw it and then I just heard your voice in my head, like, “Don’t enter competitions!” I was like, “Oh my God, it was just like the classic, too put down your prices, enter our competitions,” and I think you have to pay to enter them.

Ann Rea: Oh, of course you do, it’s another revenue stream for them, of course.

Maria Beadell: Oh my God, and, the other thing, what was it? Oh, put up an artist statement, and biographical..

Ann Rea: No! Freaks rights!

Maria Beadell: It was just like, what? Seriously.

QUESTION: Will you gain real “exposure” on Saatchi?

Maria Beadell: And it’s free to, anyone can sign up, so can you imagine how many thousands of artists they have on there? I mean, what’s the chance of you actually getting seen at all, so, yeah.

 

QUESTION: Hey Saatchi. Not cool.

Ann Rea: You should not have had to work this hard to find out that, by surprise, that your art was about to be discounted and that you were about to receive far less than you originally thought you were agreeing to.

Maria Beadell: Right, exactly, yeah, and I’m sure there are plenty of other platforms, not even just Saatchi, that are doing that, you know, so, people have to be aware of it.

 

QUESTION: Should other artists apply to enroll in The MAKING Art Making MONEY program?

Maria Beadell: If you want to… ‘Cause it’s not even just about art. If you want to find your purpose, find what you’re here to do, I mean it goes so beyond that for me so far, it has. It’s worth it just for that alone, even, like, way above and beyond any art at all, so I think it should just be a required course for all of humanity, I honestly think. I honestly think, I really think that, I mean, not even just for artists, it should be for everyone.

Ann Rea: Just do it, yes.

Maria Beadell: Sign up, just do it.

MAKING Art Making MONEY

Someday is Today

(Apply Now)

19 Responses

  1. I think you are perhaps being a little bit too biased re:Saatchi. I sold 3 prints for $1,380 in the first 9 months I was on it. Getting visibility is difficult and you must promote your listings through Twitter and other media. As with other online venues participating in community by following and favoriting other artists can help. I also have been contacted by an interior designer for a commission because of Saatchi, which is her go-to to find art for projects.

    My understanding is the competition you refer to is to get into one of the art fairs they sponsor. That is very different from a vanity competition. Being in a fair and making direct contact with new patrons is a good opportunity (in my experience with similar situations—I have not applied to a Saatchi fair yet.

    Every venue is competitive. Saatchi is far from perfect but I think it can be very effective for some artists.

    1. I congratulate you Iskra.

      However, your experience is not typical of my own or my students who are artists from 19 countries.

      The point here is that hiding discounting from artists is not only unprofessional it is unethical.

  2. Here are my thoughts regarding online art “megastores” like Saatchi, et. al., as a gallery owner, curator, artist, and collector: 1- The art world has demonized professional dealers for too long. We have overhead that includes rent, dedicated and knowledgable sales staff, exhibition production costs, and all the other things that allows for the “high touch” collector experience to occur, and that ENTITLES us to a fair take of a sale. If you need to make more money as an artist, tell us, we will build YOUR income into the sale, or advise you to what is realistic. 2- Online art sales are destroying the artist’s ability to actually earn a fair price for their work because online art shoppers are not interested in owning a unique object of value, they are interested in owning a decorative, affordable, and easily acquirable piece of decor. Online art buyers have not been properly educated as to what is “good” and “of value”, and YES, these are objective, not subjective concerns; 3- Art dealers, especially the elite ones, have been pulling a fast one over on the general public for three decades. They have established a market that is little more than a money laundering scheme for the elite buyers, and that means that the VERY few artists embraced by this scheme can become fairly wealthy, fairly quickly, but that EVERYONE else is left out in the cold. The elite “collectors” are buying out Chelsea shows and traveling to Miami to bury money, not because they truly care about the art; 4- The news media covers the “art world” like it is monolithic. The extraordinary wealth reportedly created within the “art world” each year represents a specific few auction houses, handful of Chelsea galleries, and relatively anonymous “investor” collectors from places like China, Russia, and the UAE… In other words, the record sales recorded each year have nothing to do with the average gallery, average artist, and average citizen. 5- It would all be made better overnight if the IRS got serious about enforcing tax codes on the ultra wealthy, if we provided a proper arts education in public schools, if artists dedicated themselves to their craft and let curators and dealers do the equally hard work of helping them discover their proper place in the art-historical context, and if the general public prioritized art the way it does Carnival cruises and flat screen tvs… Finally, the hard truth is that everyone should be free to create art if they are so moved, and everyone should be free to experience art, but not EVERYONE should be a “professional” artist… but hey, what do I know? I’ve just been in this business for over 20 years.

    1. I agree with everything but your last statement “not EVERYONE should be a ‘professional’ artist.”

      Since art IS in the eye of beholder, who do you propose should police this title and how?

      Who cares? Oh, the gatekeepers. That’s who.

      1. No, everyone should not be a “professional” artist; just like not everyone should be a “professional” singer, or “professional” dancer. By saying EVERYONE can be a professional artist is contributing to the problem. The statement that “art is in the eye of the beholder” does not mean that a pile of poo is art because someone said it is.

        1. Funny you should say that because the last time I was at the San Francisco Modern Museum of art I saw a relief sculpture of an elephant made of elephant shit and litter. 😉

  3. I recently sold two paintings, via Saatchi, to MGM resort/casinos. It was a lucrative sale, but I did discount a bit. This sale is the only sale in two years. But, I am happy to have the sale. I did my own research to find out how to approach the interior designers who bought the art. I feel my effort promoted the sale.

    1. If you are happy to have a discounted sale after two years, you are playing right into the hands of the scarcity and permission based art establishment. Take your power back.

  4. Saatchi lists discounts on the banner of their page. If a customer makes a personal offer, Saatchi contacts the artist who has the option to accept or refuse.
    One can consider this when pricing their work.
    The website is user friendly, and you can change it any time.
    Saatchi covers shipping fees, and the artist provides the box.
    I’ve had 6 sales on Saatchi in four years, one nice commission, and one return.
    Saatchi has provided a good supplemental income.
    It’s a good idea to remain consistent in pricing if you are selling in other venues.

    1. Good for you. However, that does not change the fact that there terms regarding tax liability and discounting are cloaked.

  5. Funny how people think the sale of a few paintings over a couple of years is a partial success. When I worked through the galleries many years ago I was selling over 50 a year and this was just enough to make a modest living. After moving from London to Australia I gave up being a full time painter because I could not turn over the same numbers. Now I just paint for pleasure.
    It appears that the only way you can make a living as a full time artist is through the traditional route of galleries and exhibitions. Maybe galleries have more success selling your work online because they have an established reputation.

  6. I have sold well over 100 pieces with Saatchi Art. This is my profile, you can see for yourself https://www.saatchiart.com/account/artworks/767442 When you sign up they do reveal they can offer up to 15% I believe it is discount on works – they do this mostly during a holiday or occasionally specials through the year. They do have the “Make an Offer” button which I do not like. However, you are not forced to accept anything you don’t want to. I have been selling on Saatchi Art for the last 3 years and found them completely transparent. I have had only good communications and results with them. It’s not a site where you can just throw your work up and walk away and cross your fingers. Like anything else you have to work with it. And yes there is a “mosh” full of artists – they are everywhere though, every big city, all over the world, through Instagram, etc. It’s nothing new. But they give you an opportunity to get your work out there to buyers. I live in a small town and would not otherwise have opportunities I have had even just this past year selling works to Nigeria, Brussels, Portugal, UK and throughout the states.

  7. I’m on Fine Art America and Saatchi. I don’t discount, but I also don’t sell. This discussion has flipped a switch for a tiny light bulb in my brain, a brain that seems incapable of understanding marketing in any of its permutations.

    I want to thank you for your contributions to the downtrodden sensitives among us who can’t imagine being another cog in the insatiable cultural machine.

    1. Saatchi have their own favorites as far who they promote. I’ve tried to contact the curators with no such luck. All I put up there are art prints…but, I haven’t sold one yet. It’s pretty much a joke. I also am active on IG that links to my Saatchi storefront. I’m an abstract artist with my own style. I kind of given up on it. I still make art, but, selling it is sort of whatever anymore…

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