There’s often an education gap when it comes to options for artists to make a living from their work. Many artists think it’s either self-promotion or gallery representation only, but, along with group shows, pop-ups and the annual Art Car Boot Fair, there are other ways to display your art and earn money from it. Art consultancies certainly represent a promising channel for your art to be seen and one worth investigating if you haven’t done so yet.
‘Having a body of work makes your style instantly recognisable’. Artworks by Gillian Swann. Photo by Alastair Lever
Renting your art can be an excellent way to boost your artistic career, especially with the rise of the gig economy and the trend by big corporations to prefer rented art collections, rather than outright purchases. For businesses, renting art poses less risk, whilst for artists, renting offers big benefits, including ongoing, unlimited remuneration. After all, when you rent, there’s no limit to the amount of money you can make out of an artwork. Renting can also offer multiple opportunities for exposure in places where you might not imagine your work being displayed, from luxury hotels to hedge fund offices – places with a huge amount of footfall and a lot of wealthy individuals passing by every day!
Here are some tips to gearing your art practice towards the art consultancy market:
Make it easy for people to contact you
Art researchers will definitely use search engines to try and find you! It seems obvious but having a website and a clear method for people to contact you (and then being responsive if they do) could make all the difference when it comes to having your work selected for the next big project.
Ensure your work is well represented visually
It’s incredibly important to show your work in the best light, especially when most of the act of selling – for rental or for an outright purchase – will most likely take place online. If you don’t have access to a decent camera, invest in a photographer to take good quality high-resolution images of your work. At the selling stage, the photographic image effectively IS your work
Tell your story
People love reading about the motivations and inspiration behind an artist’s work and, for art consultants, those stories really help to pitch your work to clients, so producing an interesting, intelligent and coherent artist statement is key. A short-but-sweet statement that describes you work, practice and any wider intellectual concerns is best, avoiding any ‘artsy’ jargon. As with photography, if this is not an area of strength for you, work with a copywriter to get it right.
Have a consistent style
Having a body of work makes your style instantly recognisable and means that art consultants will easily recall your work for appropriate projects. If you’re approaching art consultancies with your work, consistency will also make your submission stand out, so choose wisely in terms of what you send.
Set your prices and stick to them
A good art consultant will easily be able to advise you on where your art sits in the current market. It’s very important to price your works at the same value wherever they are being sold. Different companies might take different commission rates, but the retail value of your work must be consistent so as not to devalue what you do for a living. Whilst it’s tempting to sell your work from your studio at lower prices, art consultants and gallerists put a lot of time and energy into their sales and will not be happy to find out you’ve been selling work for a lot less. If you sell the work yourself at the same rate, you will be making more profit, as well as maintaining positive relationships with those selling your work for you.
‘Think about sizing in case a client wants to display a series of your works’ – London Heathrow Marriott fish-eye views. Photograph by Alastair Lever.
Think about sizing
Always consider the bigger picture. Collectors may want multiple works by the same artist in their collection or may have a big wall where they want to display a series of your works. Working at consistent sizes can really pay off.
Consider your audience
If your art consultancy sells into the workplace or hospitality sector, you should at least be aware of the sort of artworks they’re most likely to buy. We would never suggest that you deviate from your practice, but being aware, at the very least, means you know which artworks are more likely to be attractive for corporate clients. Some artists work in different ways for different audiences, with bodies of work that are more conceptual, as well as works they know will be snapped up more speedily for these type of environments.
Don’t forget to be nice!
An art consultant is there to help you advance your career and is looking to forge a positive working relationship with the represented artist, as well as being an expert in the industry and a potential door-opener to a multitude of corporate clients you might not otherwise have access to. Treating art consultants with courtesy and gratitude, as well as having some flexibility in your attitude can only help further your career, whilst a bad attitude means it’s unlikely they’ll work with you again. It’s a pretty basic point – but, you know – be professional!
Helen Buckley, Head of Arts, ARTIQ