Mandy Nicholson

The Creative Genius Corner

Lessons, musings and advice from the author of ‘The Life I Won’

Why are artists still relying on galleries to sell their work?

I meet so many artists who struggle to think outside of the gallery when selling their work. It has become a bit of a status symbol in the creative space.

 
 

I am not saying that you shouldn’t aspire to being featured as a solo artist in a gallery exhibition, but let’s have a BIG truth bomb here, the gallery is going to make a hell of a lot money from your talent.

 

They take their cut, which can be anything from 30 – 60% of the price of your work. You have to put in all of the work creating the piece, marketing yourself, buying the materials, framing if necessary and all of the other hidden costs that only you know.

 

The gallery has to do their bit marketing etc, but they are bringing in traffic through your work that will serve them with repeat business not just what they make from your genius! I am genuinely NOT knocking galleries, I LOVE visiting them and buying original art, but there are other ways for you to create your success.

 
Imagine being able to sell your work consistently online and you being paid the full amount?
 

Sound good? Then stay with me and let’s explore why you have resistance and how you can start to embrace change…

 

‘Da rules’

It is kind of engrained into artists that the route to fame and money is via exhibiting, because it has been that way for centuries. KAWS and Banksy have changed that, but again it feels like it is the chosen few.

 

With the social media we have at our fingertips, FREE, it is time to think outside of the gallery when it comes to your work.

 

Finding your audience

The people who truly love your work are out there in society and they may not all visit galleries. But they ARE online. It is no use creating an awesome website with all of your work on it and hoping that your raving fans will find you.

 

YOU have to find THEM.

 

Then you have to remind them about who you are and what you create ALL of the time. You can’t be too visible on social media and yes, it is hard work, it’s part of being a business owner.

 

Having a plan

Posting random photos of your work with no strategy or plan behind it is not going to automatically build your audience and make you money. People want to know the ‘WHY’ behind things. They want to know you and what you are all about and they want to know about your work.

 

Everything you make or create will have its own story and so do you. So, tell the story. Tell it again and again until you are sick to death of hearing it! Only you are hearing yourself tell it 100% of the time, your audience and future fans may have only just discovered you.

 

That is who you are speaking to.

 

Getting over yourself

Whatever resistance you feel when you read me telling you this stuff, you need to get over yourself. If you think one way and it is not working for you and bringing you that six figure or even seven figure income you desire, the problem is you.

 

You need help, not with your creativity, because that is your area of genius, you need help to think differently. We all need help and learning this alone and finding the right person to help you can change your life and your income.

 

It starts with making a decision and dropping the ego.

 

Taking responsibility

When you can take full 100% responsibility for where you are now and accept that you want the future to be different and that only you can change it, you have got it.

 

So many of us struggle to do this and in a creative space, which is STILL out of gender balance and leans strongly towards the masculine, it is easy to make excuses and accept living small.

 

The competition seems fierce, you are just one person, you are a mum, wife, need to do the housework, have to work a part time job as well…. multiple reasons to not be successful. But I am going to call them out as excuses.

 

The only person in your way is you.

 

Start today, take responsibility for where you are, accept that you have done OK and then make a plan for how YOU are going to implement the steps for your future.

 

I am going to finish by reminding you that when you exhibit in galleries, it is great for exposure, getting noticed etc but the audience is limited to the reach of the gallery. It gives you a rush of adrenalin to sell your work and be noticed, but it is not predictable and recurring income.

 

Knowing that you have a level of predictable income coming in because you have a plan, a strategy, multiple income streams and that the gallery income is your additional bonus, now that changes everything.

 

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