In the recent years, internet assumed an almost indespensable role in the artist's life.
From exposure to selling, internet allows artists to show their work to a worldwide audience, something that years ago was only accessible to renowned ones. This fact has been mostly welcomed by young and emerging artists who strive with great difficulty to get there work into a gallery.
But together with the swift expansion of the internet, arrived a large number of artists with their own websites, either developed by themselves or recurring to web services that aggregate websites for artists in a common platform.
The task of getting one's work noticeable among all these websites has become a time consuming task that often takes artists from their creative process. Selling or being represented by a brick and mortar gallery is therefore a serious objective to be considered.
Many artists sell their art through several venues, including online, at their studio or through galleries.
We are not here to discuss which venue is better. Each artist will have to discover that throughout his/her career. However it's hardly arguable that being represented by a gallery is in the plans of most artists and is seen as a top achievement in one's artistic career, besides getting into a museum but that's another story.
Working with a good gallery also enables artists to concentrate on their art and artistic development, while the gallery makes its best to promote their work. It's a common interest afterall.
Although many galleries will have no problems with their artists selling online or on their own (as long as they observe certain rules), there are those that will work solely with artists who only sell through galleries, be it with an exclusivity contract or not. This will depend on several factors, including territorial boundaries that can go from a small town to a country or even worldwide.
The Art Inquirer contacted with a representative of a well-established gallery that does not represent artists who sell online or at their studi. However most of them have their art available for viewing online, which is good for gaining exposure for their work and for the gallery that represents them.
In his own words, he explains the reasons for this fact:
«We believe artists should have and maintain their own web presence and we have no problem with those who choose to represent and sell their own work. We just aren't going to represent those who do. The main reason we take the stand we do is in order to clearly define and establish the integritiy of that aritst's market.
It is not beneficial for us as a gallery to be in direct competition with the artists's whose careers we are trying to advance. This is harmful for the legitimate establishment of the artist's retail market not to mention the eventual tarnishing of the reputation of the artist as well as undermining of the gallery.
This relationship allows the artist to concentrate on being an artist and allows the gallery to focus on being a retail market.»
«We represent artists who have websites. We just don't represent artists who sell their work directly to the public. In fact most of our artists have their own website, however, we (or their other galleries) handle their sales and when collectors try to sidestep the galleries the artists refer the collectors back to the galleries.»
Artists share different points of view about this. To give you a better understanding about what they think and their experience, The Art Inquirer asked their opinion in one of the most famous and most frequented art forums worldwide.