It’s always been this idea that you want to be in a gallery.

I want to be in a gallery and yet not knowing what I’m really asking for. 

Jason Marsh

Artist, Anaheim, California

Should you be renting space from an art gallery?


Ann Rea: 00:02 How are art galleries making more money from artists?

: 00:02 They’re actually renting the wall space

Ann Rea: 00:07 and then they get continuous income each and every month. So they basically have become landlords for wall space or for display space. And then they’ve all their profit and their operational expenses, their costs are all covered by that model.

: 00:28 Why is that a problem?

: 00:28 The problem with that is that is way too much money to pay an art gallery.

: 00:34 How do they sell this to artists?

: 00:34 We’re going to not charge you 50% commission, we’re only going to charge you 35% commission, but you have to pay us this monthly fee. So it’s kind of like a, it’s kind of a switch and bait thing. Like you’re, you’re drawn in like, Oh, I don’t have to pay 50% commission. I only have to pay 35 Oh, sign me up. Right? But there’s no incentive because they’ve got this continuous stream of income of artists who will pay this.

: 01:03 Why are artists paying to rent wall space?

: 01:03 And it’s because they don’t have a roadmap. They don’t understand the basic mechanics of how to sell their art and they feel they’ve been, they’ve been tricked into thinking that having someone else sell their art will somehow make it all better. But it doesn’t.

: 01:24 Can an artist make a living through art galleries?

: 01:24 It is very rare, very, very rare that an artist can make a sustainable full-time living through art galleries. So even if you’re selling through an art gallery for a good, maybe they’re selling a lot of art and they may, that might be happening for you right now. And if that is great, take full advantage of it. Here’s the problem with it. Eventually you are going to fall out of favor because they’re running a business and their first obligation is to the business. So when another artist comes along who’s art sells better or more easily than your art, you’re going to be displaced. Or the other problem is a lot of galleries go out of business.

Jason Marsh: 02:16 Well, I had been sold this bill of goods that I need traffic to my website. And so in my mind I’m like, well, how do I get traffic? And I struggled with that. Um, it was this, this pervasive sense of I don’t know what to do next. I don’t know where to focus the business. And like I said in that introductory, uh, post on the Facebook group, um, that I feel like I’m flailing blindly and so I keep trying another thing and I keep trying another thing.

: 02:53 Where did you rent wall space?

: 02:53 It was in Laguna beach, California.

Ann Rea: 02:56 Oh man. Can they tell you how many horror stories I hear from Laguna beach galleries?

Jason Marsh: 03:03 Yeah, I believe you. I don’t, I mean I’m just oblivious to all that though now, now knowing about Making Art Making Money, it’s a whole different perspective and not knowing anything. It’s always been this idea that you want to be in a gallery. I want to be in a gallery and not knowing what I’m asking for. I was in another gallery just admiring the artwork, commenting to my girlfriend about some of the art that I saw and the person who was there, she could tell from my comment from, from my comment, she’s like, are you an artist? And I’m like, yeah. And within a minute or so I have my phone out showing her pictures and she’s like, Oh, you should go to this gallery and he sign you right up. And so I went, so long story short her, I went to the other gallery and like you said, you rent out a space on a monthly basis and then if they sell my work, uh, they get 30%. I get 70%.

: 03:59 How much money did you make?

Jason Marsh: 03:59 In the seven months of my time there. My tour of duty, um, I, I spent, what was it, $4,200 total in rent and made about $1,500 on sales. They’re begging me to stay longer. We’ll give you two walls instead of four walls and we’ll cut it in half.

Speaker 1: 04:24 What’s the name of the gallery?

Speaker 3: 04:27 Laguna gallery.

Speaker 1: 04:31 Okay. Everybody, there you go. Um, that’s that. It’s, it’s, they’re very predatory because they know, artists think that this is the only option available to them. And I mean it’s, you’re better off not selling any art if you’re going to work with organizations like this because at least you won’t be losing money.

: 04:31

: 04:57 What is your product?

Jason Marsh: 04:57 Our product is not the art itself as it is emotion, which was a whole new, whole new perspective to me. That’s wonderful. And when I said that to her, she kind of lit up like that’s true. And so it kind of creates a nice reframe.

Ann Rea: 05:12 This is why conventional marketing plans and business plans don’t work well for artists. And we have, we have MBAs enrolled in this program. We have a Harvard MBA that enrolled that was part of this program.

Jason Marsh: 05:26 Yeah. And, and I, and I haven’t heard, I haven’t gotten advice from artists from the website. They’re a bunch of web developers, marketing like you say to market goods and services. And then from the other artists who has the, his program, he’s a photographer selling prints. So it’s almost tantamount to selling goods and services anymore in a sense because it’s a lot of the same thing over and over again. I’m like, that’s not the analogous to what I’m doing. Cause you’re sending out a thousand emails to get a hundred emails open to get 50 responses to get 20 con you know all those. That’s that matters.

Ann Rea: 06:04 Yeah. So what you’re talking about right now is digital marketing and that’s digital marketing’s great. My business is built on digital marketing and Making Art Making money Program. But until you are clear about what your four part code is, and you’ve completed your final prototype project and you know exactly who wants to buy your art and why don’t exhaust yourself, it’s, it’s going to be, you’ve got, you’ll have the cart before the horse. If you’re thinking about SEO and email open rates and fun email funnels and AB testing, like it’s, it’s so not, not ready yet. You have to learn and I, you really to build your business in any meaningful way. You gotta learn how to sell your art offline first. Once you understand how to really sell your art offline, then you can think about selling your art online.

: 07:11 Who is served by this program?

: 07:11 This is not for hobby artists. This is for people who have a commitment to their art. They want to make art that’s meaningful and they want to sell their art and they’re just looking for, um, a program and a community to help them do that.

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