...serenity in motion
When was the last time you visited your own work in your galleries?
I was talking to an artist and she had a long term relationship with a gallery. They had several of her pieces but she had just found out that they had only hung 3 of the 15 in their possession. Galleries love to have backstock. Moving work around and switching it out keeps the display fresh and also un-nerves their collectors as it creates a moment of panic when someone comes in to see a favorite piece. It is called creating a sense of urgency. While it is a good sales tactic, it doesn’t do an artist much good when only 30% of their inventory there is ever on display. The only way you know what is going on is if you visit the store front in person. You can send a friend periodically to look in but it will never be the same as you taking a personal interest in your work and how it is being displayed.
Galleries are one of the few business where they don’t need to purchase a large part of their inventory. There are always artists who want a place to display their art and the directors will accept what they think will sell. If they have a place to store work, they will. More often than not, art pieces end up stacked on the sales floor for patrons to flip through. I can hear the frames banging together as I type. Then comes the inevitable phone call, “I have someone who is interested in this piece but the frame is damaged. I’d like to offer them a discount.” The question then arises, do you have the right to pull your work? Yes, it is yours.
Reach out to your galleries periodically, maybe twice a year and ask them if they are interested in seeing some of your new work. Offer to switch things out so that your look is fresh and help keep their need for a back stock to a minimum. If you are easy to get a hold of or even expected to visit on a regular basis, it removes the need for them to store so much of your inventory and makes it accessible for them to put in front of their buyers. Plus, it keeps you in the fore-front of their minds when they are resetting their retail space.