I was reading a blog by a very skilled traditionalist or figurative painter, how many names can we give something? She posits a question to her readers asking what people reading her blog think of gallery directors asking an artist to make changes to their work, for reasons such as my customers like blue paintings this year. Or my customers are very interested in cloud paintings. All the responses were inarticulate, I mean seriously bad grammar. (This is another one of my pet peeve subjects, I am a terrible speller and my grammar is colloquial at best, so I make a strong effort to be correct.) After which I read through them all and it hurt. I tried to understand what the point of this question was? It reminded me of a woman I knew who was able to deflect the fact that she had no idea what to say to people by deftly saying ”Tell me more, tell me more”!
Just as anyone who has to fill airspace or newspaper space or Internet space 24/7 this blogger asked a mundane and innocuous question. And true to speculation, there were plenty, albeit poorly written, responses.
So I posit, do you think you want to be an art dealer? NOT a gallery owner or director, that is another sub species, but an art dealer. The art dealer sells his expertise on art to clients and acts as a buffer, an expert, a firewall against the moronic people out in the art world who don’t know anything, really. An art critic with a salesman sensibility is really what the job entails.
As an artist who has worked in many genres, and been represented by many galleries and have had and still get commissions from so many different people and companies I can say something to this bloggers question that rings true for all artists, the point of view from someone who can make you money telling you what they think you should paint is a good thing because it means they will make you money!!!! They will work hard to sell what you do. And BECAUSE they have had a say, a part in the final piece, they are more invested. REALLY this is selling 101!!!
I ran a mural business in LA for thirteen years. I had people looking over my shoulder for every one of those years telling me what they think!!! Albeit Mural Mural On The Wall was a commercial business it was still my artwork on the wall and I struggled to maintain some control! But I understood from my many years in the big leagues of advertising you do what the customer wants, period. But if you want to have complete control, complete say over your work product then don’t put it out for review or critique!
I had a client who will remain unnamed for obvious reasons (she was a very famous TV actress).
She wanted certain murals, faux finishes and painted furniture throughout her home in Westwood, California and I did exactly what she wanted and was well paid. I received great referrals and was on two TV shows because of the work I did for her. The work was as good as anything I painted as a fine artist because she, like most of my mural clients had strong opinions but the painting was executed by me. To my standards, to allow me to get more work and more press.