Saturday, April 19, 2014

The Myth of Exposure

I'm about to sound like a cynic, but unfortunatly this is based on experience.
Artists are inundated with requests for art. 

'It'll be great exposure' they say. 

Occasionally it is. 

But more often it isn't. 

Always ask your self. Who is going to see your art?  
Will it be in a high traffic area, or is it going to be tucked away in an office to enhance someone's decor, and not seen by others? 
Will people stop to look at it, or will they be busy, or on autopilot?
Will the people who see it be aware that it's for sale?
Will they be in a position to buy?
Will they know who to contact?
Will the sale be easy for them to make?
How will you find out, and how soon will you get paid?
Is there a commission. This is not a bad thing, a commission will motivate the seller to sell.
If it's a donation to a charity, will you get a tax reciept? 
Most charities don't give receipts for goods, you'd be farther a head to donate money. You can only write off the cost of the materials you used to create the art, not its value, without a reciept. 
I've given away a lot of art, and I've NEVER had any sales, commissions or enquiries as a result of the 'exposure' I received, and I know that, this is the common experience. 
At charity auctions the art usually goes for a fraction of its worth. 
Are you OK with your art going for the minimum bid? Is there a minimum bid? And who sets it?

I do still donate to causes I beleive in, but I donate BEACAUSE I believe in the cause, not to get exposure
I also get invitations to juried shows, usually with a fee.  
Most of these are on the up and up, but ask the same questions before you send in your non refundable fee. 
If the 'gallery' is a little hole in the wall that has no traffic, no following, and no advertising budget, the answers to the above questions will be negative. Base your decision accordingly. 
If you get a out of the blue offer from a gallery, look closely. It does happen, but more often the gallery is a vanity gallery. 
A vanity gallery will have a prestigious sounding spiel, have large fees, and few sales. Their focus is on your money not your art. 
Don't confuse these with artist run galleries, which are usually run on varying degrees of the co-op model.
In a true co-op everyone works, everyone pays a portion of the expenses, and gets a portion of the profits. 
In most artists run centers, everyone pays a portion of the expenses, which may vary depending on how much they work. The artists get the profit from their own sales only, and the centre is run as not for profit as possible.  

Do your research. It will save you money heart ach, and the possable loss of, or damage to, your art. 
Chose well. 

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