Wednesday, July 11, 2012

A Rant About New Business Ventures

I am getting a little behind on posting the plein air pieces from Michigan. There is never enough time to do everything you want to do. Yesterday I worked all day, dropped off paintings to (better leave this unnamed) a new gallery in Swanton, then drove to Bryan for an impromptu art show with the Williams County Art Guild on the courthouse lawn. The initial impression at the gallery was not too pleasant, although the space is lovely and elegant. But I may not be able to do business with them and I'll tell you why. When I arrived at his door with my paintings the owner did not have a consignment agreement ready. In fact, he had absolutely no paperwork on hand. I was sort of prepared for that as I knew this was all new to him, but still.... it made me stop and think about what I was getting into. So I had quickly pulled together a contract of my own that I had copied from the internet and amended a bit. He instantly balked at signing it- calling it "so much legalese". The real issue seemed to be the fact that I wanted to be sure he had insurance to cover my paintings. The contract also stipulated the basics of when and how often I would be paid if a piece sold and that the copyright for the art belonged to  me. That's it... fairly standard stuff. Or at least it seemed pretty standard compared to what I have worked with in the past. Apparently it was not-- to him! Why would I leave thousands of dollars worth of work somewhere without a contract or assurance that I would be compensated if his building burned down? I did a bit of research before writing this agreement and galleries generally have insurance to cover their contents if there is a loss. He did not feel like purchasing any, although he would happily take a commission for allowing my art to decorate his walls.

I left the paintings but I will  pick them up and take them to the Silver Lining Gallery tomorrow if he does not come up with a contract that we can both agree on. Questions I need to have answered include: Is he is willing to treat this as a legitimate business venture? Is this the kind of person I want representing me? Currently he seems to think he is doing artists a favor by allowing them to hang their art on his walls. There is surely a lesson here for me. I think it might be that first impressions do matter. When I first met the owner I was a bit dismayed with his organizational skills. He also didn't seem to have any idea how to judge the quality of professional art. He seriously thought if it had a boat or water in it that was a good painting. One thing I do know is this: you need to be comfortable with the people you do business with and I have not reached that stage with the owner of this gallery yet.

Here is a small 8"x10" painting I did last night on the town square in Bryan. They had a bluegrass band playing and some spectators were sitting in lawn chairs listening to the music. I found this guy pretty interesting. Maybe it was the beard or maybe it was the hat. Either way, you have to paint what intrigues you.

He stayed for an hour and I was just finishing the painting when he got up and left. This is a piece I will list in my eBay store for starting bid of $9.95 as a loss leader to get some views. And I won't feel awfully disappointed if it sells for that.

Bluegrass Fan
8" x 10"


jimmie white said...

Love your "Rant" as much as your paintings.......

Nora Sallows said...

It does get it out of my system though... Better than yelling at somebody lol