Change #1? I will be getting out of the gallery business.
What? Seriously Rich, out of the gallery business? What are you going to do?
Well, here’s the short answer. I’ll continue doing Giclee Print services, I’ll continue to sell my own images, and I’ll be expanding my portrait and commercial work. But I won’t be a gallery owner any longer.
Currently Ian and I split the rent here at the Ian Russell Gallery (I know, most folks in this town think I work for Ian, but not the case). The bulk of the space here is dedicated to artists hanging on our walls. And my work space is…..well, rather small. Actually, I’m working in an area the same exact dimensions as the Airstream…… And given the fact that paying retail space prices has led me to spend more than my former mortgage on a 2600 square foot house with 5 acres, cost reductions are a must!
Yeah, it’s a small space that I currently operate out of. But since this is a gallery the bulk of the space has to be dedicated to artists hanging on the walls.
For me, not a good business proposition. See, the majority of my income comes from Giclee Printing, Photo Workshops and Software Workshops, and now portrait work. The gallery just doesn’t feed enough income to me to be worth while compared to the other facets of my business. Honestly, in the case of my personal business model a retail space isn’t what I need. What’s really needed is a warehouse space. Big open areas for printers and tables. Space to conduct classes. Space to do studio work for clients. Retail space is far too expensive in the case of my business model.
Additionally, I’ve been very “split” here at the gallery. As I grow my giclee business for painters looking to do reproductions I need more time to dedicate to my clients. See, I don’t just image and color correct clients’ pieces. I work through it with them. Some painters are extremely exacting. There are times when I spend several hours on very small detail work with them. Other painters aren’t as exacting, but the do some fine tuning. Sometimes I have folks that actually want to enhance from the original image. Punching things up that they wished they had in the original. It runs the gamut. And no matter which category a client falls into, they all need my time and attention. Unfortunately the gallery side distracts from that. Every time the door opens and someone walks through I have to table the work for my clients and do the retail side. That makes it tough on my print clients often!
So, how are these changes coming about?
Several months ago Ian got wind of an opening on Whiskey Row. The Book Worm’s location was for lease. And Ian knew who to contact. Weeks ago he signed a lease and he’ll be moving the Ian Russell Gallery to the Row. Given how this town works, being on the Row is a big deal. So I understand his decision to move.
I’d already let him know, no more gallery work for me. It’s a business decision based on what pays my rent. My goal is to move to an appointment based business model so I can dedicate my time to my clients properly. Not in a rush, not with other clients waiting in the wings while I work through a color match, etc, etc. And not interrupted with folks walking into the gallery to look around.
Second week of February Ian hopes to be finished with his renovation of the Book Worm and Buckey’s (he signed up for both sides of the building). And we’ll be moving out of our current location. If you’re looking for a retail space close to the Row with curbside visibility, let us know. We need to sublet this place quickly so nobody is spending on 2 locations! 🙂
The Gallery will more than triple in space. And Ian will be bringing many new artists in along with the artists we currently show. Hopefully the move will work out for the gallery and make the move worthwhile. Given the traffic on Whiskey Row, success is highly probable.
What happens to me? Well, Ian’s offered to sublet a back space in the building with a rear entrance as well. I can move toward that appointment model I’m looking for. And I can spend more time in the field doing location shoots for clients and my own personal shoots for my landscape work. That will be nice. And we’ll see how the space works out for me. Worst case scenario, I might end up hunting for a warehouse style space down the road. There’s a ton of space around here for very little ($600 per month for 1100 square feet is one example). We’ll see where it goes. But what I can tell you is my focus will be on printing, classes, and client work. No more distractions from what works for me. I’ll also be increasing the number of workshops offered through the Art Store this Spring, so watch for that as well.
There’s one more change….but I’ll tell you more about that later……
So there’s the scoop in a nutshell.
Ian Russell Gallery moving in February.
RL Charpentier Photography moving in February.
RL Charpentier Photography is going to be more appointment oriented, so call ahead. 928-493-3600 🙂