So you’re an artist and have fantastic, museum quality work but either don’t how to get your work represented or out there to the global art community? Or maybe, you’re a new or established art collector and find the art gallery experience intimidating or worst case scenario, they reject your wallet and ability to pay and won’t even sell to you because you’re either “too popular with the masses” or too crass to be seen as a client of the artist or dealer!
There are many trials and tribulations for artists and art collectors who just enjoy participating in the art world either as a creative or as a buyer and get frustrated by the many “gated community” type mentality gallery’s and dealers are well renowned for. I’ll give you an example; In an interview with Time Out London, the actor Daniel Radcliffe of the Harry Potter fame (as if I have to mention that) stated that he was once rejected by a Frieze Art Fair dealer because he wasn’t exactly what the gallery was hoping for in a buyer.
The relevant quote, courtesy of The Art Newspaper: “I went to Frieze Art Fair and saw a painting by Jim Hodges. The guy said, ‘No, we’re waiting for a more prestigious collector to take that.’ I was like, thanks, thanks a lot,” says the miffed movie star in Time Out.
The story does end in a sort of happy way (depending on your POV on the subject), Radcliffe only managed to buy the painting after the artist personally lobbied the dealer as he was a huge Harry Potter fan.
Grace Windsor is an art dealer and founding member of WorldwideArtDealers.com (WWAD)- a very down to earth and approachable online gallery who, if you are a buyer of art, would love you to acquire an original piece of artwork from their gallery. If you are an artist and your work is good, she has a handful of agents who will work with the artist to promote their artwork and make them into a brand that maybe even the gate keepers of the art world may take an interest in eventually; however that is not her goal.
“I understand the art market wants to protect the integrity of their artist’s work and maintain the multi-million dollar figures they get for their artists in auction sales, but I think that the world is changing so fast these days that they overlook then next generation of art custodians and what is important to them. These buyers are looking for art that moves them. Art buying for them is an emotional choice and not whether they broke the bank getting it. Whether it’s a $500 photograph by a relatively unknown artist or a $200K sculpture by an established artist – they purchase the work because it moves them, they enjoy it, and it needs to be on their wall or in their space so that they can look at it every day and say – that’s a really nice piece of art that speaks to me.” says Windsor
She should know, she has spent the last 7 years quietly cultivating relationship’s with artists and with collectors that the gallery’s and dealers mostly ignore or that in some cases artists who won’t deal with a gallery for the commissions they charge – and in their opinion – challenges their spirit as a true artist. As is the case with one such WWAD artist La Jib ( La- Jeeb). La Jib sells maybe three or four artworks a year, depending on if she’s in her studio in California or if she’s immersed in exploring the deserts of the Sierra Mountain range. La Jib is dual nationality American/Brit and of Indian and African descent. She mostly creates charcoal drawing on paper, which sell between $300 and $3000. She was offered representation by galleries in San Francisco and California. “They wanted between 60-70% commissions on every work sold. They also demanded many works from me to prepare for their exhibitions. I am not a machine, or a printer. You just don’t press a button to create instant gratification art.” she says. La Jib also wasn’t too keen with the galleries not allowing her to have any input or say on who her art goes to. “My work takes time to create and I want to sell to people that actually want to buy to put it on their walls, to live and breathe the essence of the special gift artists like me are given to be full-time creatives. I want to meet them on my terms and study them as much as they study me and my work, in purchasing my work. I want to know who buys my work and if they truly enjoy what I create and not what future value I or my work may bring “she says.
Admittedly, not all artists are like La Jib. At the end of the other spectrum of artist’s WWAD represent, Grace Windsor landed a coup by negotiating a deal to represent the sales of artwork created by Nicholas A. Price, an established artist and modern day renaissance man, as he also writes poetry and has published several books. Price, until now, has never publicly allowed any dealer or gallery to sell his work and has an enviable list of commissions and sales under his belt that since 2000 that means he never has to try and sell his work for the sake of making money.
When I spoke to him via his publishers then by phone at his studio in New York (he also has a studio in Nevada), he was in the middle of promoting his latest children’s books, which are doing rather well in the publishing sector. I asked him what convinced him to run with an outfit like WWAD gallery; “Well, Miss Windsor is very convincing in the fact that she understands that my success has come from having the kind of management and attitude of people around me as I have seen she also has around herself. I sell my work to people who are passionate about the piece. They want it on prominent display as it is a conversation piece. Who will still love it fifty years down the road. That kind of passionate collector, means that the legacy of my work will be taken care of by people who love my work and not looking to flip it to make a profit. My work takes a lot of time, skill and knowledge to create because I am a perfectionist and my collectors are appreciative of that. It’s one of the reasons I have limited my work to only one edition or no more than say ten, because that’s my “thank you” to the collector that they own the only one or a very limited number edition of my work.” says Price.
An interesting perspective from an established artist. I recently attended an art event in New York of a private viewing of Price’s retrospective collection of one hundred of his fine art photographic works. I am a veteran of art museums and galleries and I was able to see first-hand the genuine enjoyment and passion his collectors have of his work and to see that maybe we will have to rely on the passionate collectors of art who collect for the art and not for the profit. Almost everyone I met and spoke to have a working knowledge and perspective of Price’s work – some of these loyal collectors have followed Price’s career closely for many years. I also spotted a few well known faces in the art collecting world, which I can’t name as every one of Prices Private V.I.P. events means you sign a confidentiality agreement agreeing that you cannot take pictures or disclose the names of other guests.
One unnamed but very elegant guest of the New York Blue Blood Circles, remarked to me when I asked her reasons for buying ( when I asked if it was for love or profit) replied; “His work is simply breath-taking, so of course it has a current and future value” the lady gushes, then drops to a confidential tone, “but frankly my dear, I am buying something that I know will have a genuine value for my family’s art collecting legacy, that hasn’t been manipulated and falsely talked up about by those parasites in the art world that flip art like those rehabbed overpriced real estate projects in the swamps of Miami!” then promptly walks off to elegantly grab a glass of champers from the bar.
Well, a fascinating insight to how the art world moves today. In a market that is changing daily and which the landscapes of buying and selling are not as clear cut as they were thirty or even ten, years ago. Even the artists are savvy in terms of the representation they want and not apt to tolerate the high commissions and shady dealings and shenanigans of the typical art world we all once knew went on (and in some cases – still do – another story for another day).
More than ever, I have a genuine hope that art buyers and artists will actually be the saving grace of the future preservation of our art and culture.
To see more artworks and artist’s;
Gallery Link: http://www.WorldwideArtDealers.com