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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Up Front

Jimi Hendrix - (i) inspired by photo by Donald SilversteinShelley has my work up front in the window at Wild About Music on 6th in Austin, TX. Very cool. Hendrix sold last month so I get to replace it with another piece on consignment.

She's been wonderful to work with from the start. The start is, after all, the important part in a relationship with a gallery, or really between any two parties.

Getting the issues squared away upfront sets up the guidelines and framework for the entire relationship, the whole tone. WAM's contract is stellar, and they even added a couple clauses on my request that clarified some additional points. I felt trusted. Even though they have an online presence, they don't yet sell my work online, but Shelley certainly wants to ensure that neither of us is undercutting the other. We even went through a price increase on her end successfully.

Now, I had the opposite happen with another gallery. I should've known, again, from the start as I was treated with suspicion and my integrity questioned based upon that gallery's experience with other artists. Among other things, they didn't want my last name to be associated with my work, and they wanted me to ultimately stop promoting myself online.

After some back and forth communication, we did initially arrive at an agreement and they signed the first contract they'd ever signed with an artist. Yep, they'd never made contracts before. I modelled the agreement after mine with WAM. So I was protected, if not insulated from their distrust. Eventually we ended our relationship as they couldn't understand me or look beyond their own hangups.

It's that communication that enables understanding. Yes, the structure of the relationship between artist and gallery, musician and record label, creator and distributor is changing, but if the issues are addressed at the outset, then both parties feel comfortable enough to readdress those issues and to consider new issues as they arise. Creatives and middlemen might live on different planets, but if Venusians (women) and Martians (men) can relate successfully, then we can too. Just be upfront.


ON CONSIGNMENT - Jimi Hendrix 04/21/09


Miserere said...

I'm so glad I bumped into your blog after following your link to a Led Zep Vinyl Art.

You do well to be so upfront with galleries; you're saving yourself so much grief (and money). There's a lesson there for every artist.

I promise that one day I will buy a Jimi Hendrix LP print from you. Would you like to sign an agreement for that, Daniel? :-)

d.edlen said...

Thanks for the comment! Glad you found me too.

I wish every artist could avoid learning this lesson the hard way. And I wish galleries would avoid teaching it.

I'll look forward to painting Jimi for you!