Archive for April, 2014

No-No Signs Not Here

April 21, 2014 in American Made,Art,Art Gallery,Artists,Hunter-Wolff Gallery,Teaching | Comments (0)

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Do NotDon’t you hate those signs in some stores that seem obvious? Do Not Touch;  You Break It, You Buy It; Checks with Proper ID Only; No Food, No Cameras; No Smoking; No Pets; No Cell Phones; No, No, No As a responsible adult, would you ever bring food into an art gallery or engage in a private conversation on your phone without considering those around you? Yes, some people do these things but it is a rare occurrence. Personally, I don’t need a sign to tell me how to behave and I believe my customers feel that way too. I understand why some retailers feel the need to display this type of signage but it just makes me want to leave their store.  How does it make you feel? 

As a business owner, my philosophy is to give people the benefit of the doubt and the opportunity to demonstrate that they are responsible adults accountable for their own actions. If someone decides to walk into my gallery with their four year old eating a drippy ice cream cone, then it is easy enough to politely ask the parent to come back when their youngster is done with his/her treat.  I prefer to address that small percentage of the population who display bad manners in a way that helps that person understand why they’re behavior is unacceptable. 

We enjoy visitors who bring their pets and children (without ice cream) and touch the touchables. Touching is a great way to learn and almost everything is waiting for you to explore it. Of course, we prefer visitors to  study the paintings with their eyes only. If visiting an art gallery is a new experience for your family and you are unsure what is acceptable, just ask if you can pick up something to admire it or ask if it is okay to bring your refreshment into the store with you.  We don’t operate like a museum or a library where there are strict rules. Visitors do not need to feel compelled to whisper either.  Hunter-Wolff Gallery and its staff are here to share information about everything we offer and want you to experience art first hand.  Often it takes both hands to experience what a burl feels like, for example.

Bring the dog, the kids and if possible, leave your cell in your pocket and let us help you learn about something new that could possibly change your life and give you new appreciation for art made by American artists–without a bunch of signs making you feel uptight.

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Are You An Art Junkie?

April 15, 2014 in American Made,Art,Art Gallery,Artists,Events,Hunter-Wolff Gallery,Paintings,Shop Small,Small Business | Comments (0)

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PoppiesRecently, I spent an evening with a few friends at an event enjoying the NBA (No Boys Allowed), a walking tour of local shops.  Because I tend to be a workaholic, I knew it would be fun to get away from work, visiting my neighborhood small shops and meeting some other business owners.

What I did not expect was that I would be buying art. I really do not need more art, but I admit I am an Art Junkie.  Isn’t that an odd confession for an art dealer who has their own shop full of hundreds of art objects?  Plus, there is scarcely a spot for more paintings in my home. What’s an art junkie to do?

At my gallery, Hunter-Wolff Gallery, I represent 37 fine artists and there is always something coming in the door taunting me, calling my name.  But, like working in a chocolate factory where workers become immune to the smell of chocolate, I too can resist buying my gallery art every time I fall in love with a new arrival.  And, the truth is, I fall in love all the time.

What does this have to do with last evening?  It just goes to show that no matter how disciplined you are about spending and collecting, sometimes it just feels good to give in to ones cravings.  I’m glad I did.  Now when I walk by these paintings on my wall,  I see not only three delightful little oils but have a special memory of my friends and the nicest business owners in my neighborhood town. It was a great evening and I’ll cherish that night just as much as I cherish my new art.

It’s okay to be an art junkie!  If it makes you smile and helps you connect with humanity, go for it!

When was the last time you purchased a must-have painting, when you least expected it? How did it make you feel?

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Gallery Representation: A Strong Relationship

April 8, 2014 in Art,art education,Art Gallery,Artists,Development,Hunter-Wolff Gallery,Personal Development | Comments (0)

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WherepiritDaVinciAs an art gallery entrepreneur, artists frequently ask what I expect from an artist. Getting your foot in the door is one thing, but after representation is offered, the difficulty many artists have is staying on course with the gallery.  Too few artists understand that their long-term success in a gallery depends on one thing – “building a strong relationship”.

When two people come together, one business and one creative, the expectations need to be clear from the start for the relationship to thrive. Much like marriage where opposites attract, the relationship becomes an opportunity to learn from one another and appreciate each other’s strengths.  

Entrepreneurs assess opportunities and weigh the risks. They are planners and have financial goals. A new artist is a risk but their potential is important to the gallery’s goals.  Depending on the artist’s potential, the gallery determines how much time, money and display space to invest.  The artist gains an advantage when he/she comes to the table not only with potential but with commitment, personal goals, and core values that align with the gallery.

There isn’t anything more disappointing than having invested in an artist who decides to leave shortly after arrival because they decide to promote their work in a different way or do something else with their lives. Research also shows that the absentee artist and one-hit wonders are disappointments that make galleries cringe.  Galleries are also super cautious about artists who are capable, but show signs of limitations, are unreliable, change style frequently, or simply behave unprofessionally.

From a business perspective, I appreciate artists who have some knowledge of business and recognize what a successful business partnership involves. Those lacking business experience need to show a willingness to learn and accept the terms of their new relationship. Everyone values artists who understand their role in the partnership, even in times of hardship or adversity. The relationship can only blossom when players are cooperative.

After an artist lands a position in a gallery, he/she cannot assume everything is peachy because time has passed without major issues.  An artist needs to be attentive because the gallery is ALWAYS looking at the future if they want to be in the future.  Being a silent partner does not make a good partner.  Relationships will continue to advance when responsibility is shared. Communicate with your gallery and take time to ask how to make improvements. There are artists out there as qualified as you and ready to take your spot, and galleries are ALWAYS looking for opportunities to improve their future. 

Successful partners share prosperity and enjoy a rewarding, long-term relationship.  It’s not just about getting along, but showing mutual respect for what each brings to the table. Frequently gallery owners describe their ideal business relationships with artists like friendships. Personalities have to match. “It’s easy to love great art work but when personalities clash, a business relationship will never work.” It doesn’t have to be a love-fest but partners do have to get along and have respect for one another.

Here’s a few tips to keep your gallery happy and forge a relationship that will stand the test of time:

  • Become familiar with the gallery’s history, plans, and philosophy.
  • Get acquainted with all staff members and help educate your representatives about your technique and background.  Stories sell art!
  • Make promotion of your work easy for the gallery.  Provide quality images and full descriptions, videos, schedule live demonstrations, and keep up with the gallery’s social networks.
  • Stay engaged!  It only takes minutes to call or send a text message and keep communications open.
  • Be flexible about pricing and willing to work with the gallery to make sales. Do not let someone else’s advice convince you to increase your prices.  Trust your gallery; they have knowledge that can guide your strategic plans. An inappropriate price increase can push your prices too high resulting in lost sales. Be aware that it is far better to sell everything at reasonable prices than nothing at unreasonable prices.
  • Ask your gallery what they need for their clientele.  Never deliver new work without approval or push work that is not wanted.
  • Keep requests to a minimum and never make demands. Remember, you are not the business owner and the owner is responsible for the bottom-line.
  • Keep in contact without overdoing it.  Ask the gallery how often makes sense to “check-in” if you are unsure.  Some might want to communicate every week while other gallery owners are comfortable with once a month.

Stay positive and remember to recognize all the work your gallery does on your behalf. Send us tips that work for you too and they will  be shared in a follow-up post.

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Gallery Representation: Invited! Now What?

April 6, 2014 in Art,art education,Artists,Development,Hunter-Wolff Gallery | Comments (0)

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DonnaSharonHiFi2-1Congratulations, you have been invited to join other professional artists in an art gallery of your choosing! Now what? 

Now the hard work begins for you and the art gallery.  Working together your goal is to sell as much art as possible and to keep your new gallery family happy. After you signed your contract, delivered your body of work, and hi-fived, you probably thought, “I’ve done it!  I can go home and create artwork.”  Not so fast!  There’s a lot of work ahead; your job isn’t that simple.  Delivering work and waiting to collect your commissions is hardly a big step.  In fact, the big step is yet to come.

Building a strong business relationship is your most critical step and requires constant attention, commitment and desire. Rather than tell  artists how to build a relationship, I will share what Hunter-Wolff Gallery’s most successful artists do to keep the business relationship growing, the commission checks flowing and ensure long-term success.  It’s one of the most important lessons to being a successful artist. Your relationship with your gallery is a collaborative effort. The gallery  is your advocate so it is beneficial to build a strong relationship.  The top selling, highest in demand artists are the hardest working artists I know.  These artists are not only passionate and driven, they work long hours perfecting quality art  and never settling for mediocrity. They are planners, people with goals, have integrity, good communication (listening) skills, business acumen (open-minds),  good organizational skills, team players, and confidence. Aside from excellent creative skills, the one skill that stands out from the rest is business acumen.  They keep lines of communication open by taking the initiative to share information with their representatives — about what is planned and other relevant information.  They take the time to educate about their techniques and processes so information and value can be accurately shared with patrons.  They visit their representatives regularly to ensure gallery expectations are being met and needs are fulfilled.  They are honest with themselves, set egos aside, and change with economic and  market conditions. They ask how they can help.

A successful artist is accountable and takes action to correct issues when  warranted. They  manage their time,  creative energy and resources. They balance the time to produce art and to market it. They gather feedback to make better business decisions. Whether they enjoy the business aspects of the art world or not, they do those tasks responsibly to be a better team player. Successful artists are serious about business and understand how partnerships work and what benefits of collaboration are.  These are not artists who make demands but artists who delight in their shared success with business partners. They have learned the most important lesson:  with success comes responsibility!

To make a gallery-artist relationship strong and long lasting, is to understand the gallery’s role and accept the terms and conditions of your relationship. Hunter-Wolff Gallery offers consultative assistance. Take the next step to be a successful artist; call for availability 719-520-9494

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Gallery Representation: Getting Your Foot In The Door

April 2, 2014 in Art Gallery,Artists,Development,Hunter-Wolff Gallery,Personal Development,Teaching | Comments (0)

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HWGshowroomHow does an artist find the best gallery representation? … Not perfect but best?  Like any relationship, it will be more satisfying if you search for the best scenario and not expect perfection. As a gallery owner, I advise artists to think about finding a gallery like looking for a job.  It is more productive to identify a few potential galleries and determine if you are a good match, then working hard to make it happen. If you have a good body of work and are ready, take the next step to make contact.

Keep in mind before taking that step, however, that there will be a time when things don’t go exactly as planned. Like any career, if you work long enough you will experience some downs with the ups—and may have to endure a difficult boss (or gallery) for a brief period. But I believe that the majority of time, business dealings are positive and that goes for gallery relationships too. It is counterproductive to let a few bad experiences color your beliefs and attitudes about gallery relationships—especially those rumored.  Remember, dealing with an art gallery is a business relationship and it takes two to tango! As in all cases, there are always two sides to a story so don’t put much stock into the tales (gossip) from a third party.  Some people are very good at pointing fingers and blaming others when things don’t work out.

You will benefit by taking time to scope out a gallery quietly.  Visit their website, read their newsletters, attend their events, talk to their artists and visit to observe how the staff conducts business.  You will learn a ton of information just by observing.  You want the gallery to work for you and the gallery wants you to work for them. Would you work for a company that was short on integrity or had a poor reputation?  Of course not. Nor would a gallery want “to hire” someone without integrity or commitment. Make sure your prospects are a good fit and your art could benefit or contribute to the gallery. Don’t overlook the fact that a gallery has its own personality and it should fit with yours. Then call or write for a personal interview with the decision maker (gallery owner). If you can’t find information on the gallery’s website about how their submission process works, be sure to ask.  Never show up without an appointment.  Be respectful of the gallery’s business hours and the staff’s time.

To prepare for your interview, be sure to complete your due diligence ahead of time and stick to the schedule the gallery sets up for your meeting. Be professional, dress appropriately and take examples of your best work or portfolio.  The gallery will have a list of questions for you, so you too should be prepared with answers about your track record and your own questions about their processes and programs.

If and when you are invited to join a gallery, work hard to meet the gallery’s expectation and don’t forget to ask them “what can I do?” to help with sales and promotion.  Like any relationship, it takes two working together to achieve a long and rewarding experience.

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