Yesterday I took a trip up to Prescott to stop by the Ian Russell Gallery. I went up to pick up the last of my prints, a few canvases, and a few framed pieces. I’d decided weeks ago to stop showing in galleries. So, if you’re looking for any prints from my travels, Prescott, Arizona…well, they’re only available online now.
They’ve always been available online in addition to showing in the gallery. But going forward for the near future at least, online will be the only way to order prints, canvases, Foto Floats, etc.
I first teamed up with Ian back in 2008. After landing in Prescott I really didn’t know what to do with myself. Interviewing for positions through 2007 I kept getting the same thing. Overqualified. Seriously, one college told me it would be a waste of their time to interview me because I’d want too much money. So I had to find something to do with myself to stay in the community I found and enjoyed. That’s when I partnered up with Ian.
The friends I had made in town all had one thing in common. Small business ownership. So I took the risk. And it was a rocky road from 08 – 12 when I finally decided to shut down my studio, giclee reproduction, and head off for a contract that could right the ship financially again.
Yesterday brought a final close to showing my work hanging in a gallery. Ian had been asking me to make some more canvases and prints, but I decided that it was time to stop altogether. Dedicate capital to more productive uses as it were.
What many people don’t understand about galleries is the huge investment you see when walking into them. See, it cost me with every print I made and hung on the wall. Every canvas, stretcher bar, frame, ink on the print, etc. It was an investment and a product that you didn’t know how long it would take to sell.
When you see a painting on a wall in a gallery selling for $1000 you think, “Wow, that artist will make $1,000.” Not true. The gallery takes a percentage for showing them (normally 40 – 50% in most cases). The artist paid for paints, canvas, stretcher bars, frames, etc. They paid with their time invested in the painting, in learning their craft, and in foregoing other jobs that have a more consistent revenue stream. So, when it’s all said and done that piece after expenses probably yields $300 to the artist. And they have no idea when it will sell. Could be weeks or months, or could be years.
In my case, what I picked up yesterday was still a substantial investment. Hundreds of loose prints, several framed pieces (done in 2008…no return on investment there), a few canvases I liked, and a few I wish I’d never printed. In the end, thousands of dollars invested without return. They’ll be marked up as a loss this year.
Not complaining. Just explaining some of the behind the scenes when it comes to what you see in a gallery, and why I’ve decided to stop showing. With overhead, sunk costs, and all the rest those expensive pieces don’t yield a lot of revenue to the creators. That simple.
So, going forward for me it is so much easier to just go with online sales. See, no overhead. No paying for a print that may or may not sell. But the downside. No “Wow” moment when you see a 40×60 on the wall.
Want to help offset my losses today? Stop by my Zenfolio page and pick a print or two. The prices are lower, you have more options (greeting cards for instance), digital downloads for smartphones and tablets, etc. Or you can also stop by MagCloud and get my Ghost Town or Favorite Landscape publications.