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Sunday, May 15, 2011

To frame or not to frame?

Something I did not include in the book, was the issue of framing? Do you spend serious $$ and get your work framed, only to have the client request the painting sans frame. (Has happened to me several times and have been left with a frame that didn't really work on anything else.) To avoid the issue I, and many other artists, started using deeper frames - 5-10cms meaning that framing was not needed. Given the cost of framing this made sense. Lets say a frame cost you R500. The gallery would double that cost and add 14% meaning an additional R1,140 added to the cost of the work. The R500 you would have to carry until the work was sold. Fine if your work sells for R15,000 a pop but not fine if your work is in the below R5,000 region. The extra cost could be the difference between a sale and a no sale.
Many clients have strong views on framing, even if its only to match the decor. Your choice may not be their ideal. So they may ask for the painting sans the framing cost. Leaving you (as mentioned) with a frame you're going to have to match with another work.
If you are not going to frame do make your edges neat - either carry the painting around the sides, keep them clean (masking tapped wrapped around the edges while you paint works well for this), or paint a complimentary colour around the edges.
Occasionally galleries want to frame work at their cost. It can make certain work really look good and if they're carrying the cost I don't complain. Problem comes though, if the work doesn't sell and whilst you own the painting, the frame is theirs. Hasn't happened to date with us, but its a possibility. There are some more conservative galleries that won't take unframed work, so you may be forced to frame simply to get on the wall. many of them have a sideline framing business and may offer a discount for the job. (Just be careful not to frame all your work for their profit, rather than your promotion.)
For overseas clients framing is usually a big no as it adds considerably to transport costs and many not allow for the cheaper option of rolling your work.
Personally, apart from watercolours, I avoid if possible, leaving the client free to decide for themselves.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

NY Arts magazine, The Broadway Gallery NYC and Beijing Gallery Scam

Ah the delight of getting an email waxing lyrical about your work and inviting you to participate in a New York art exhibition PLUS be included in the latest edition of NY Arts magazine.. (All for only $1,900!)

The email: 
Dear Ann,
I am pleased to inform you of an exciting opportunity to exhibit your artwork in New York City.

My name is Abraham Lubelski, the publisher of NY Arts Magazine, and owner of The Broadway Gallery NYC and Beijing Arts Space in China. Recently my staff came across your works while researching for upcoming projects, and by their recommendation I would like to invite you to exhibit your works in New York City in July 2011. I am interested in your work "The Diet" and I believe it would be an important addition to our program.  Your figures are so funny and so thought provoking and true at the same time. They show us so much of our reality through nice interpretations. By paying close attention to the intuitive works of each artist, we are hoping to construct an exhibition of works that truly speak to the viewer. 

The promotion/publicity project also offers an exhibition and an international publicity program for a fee ($1,900 see details below). This promotion/publicity is a media driven event and offers both emerging and established artists the broadest media coverage possible.

*Exhibit your work in the major art capital of the world.
*International media exposure/publicity on web & in print
*Two (2) catalogues within our magazines, with bookstore distribution, web, and print directories.
*3 million plus Internet hits per month (major Internet sites).
*Three major international print publications.

Thank you,
Abraham Lubelski
NY Arts Magazine 
473 Broadway, 7th floor, NY, NY 10013 | 212-274-8993

However, I've been around long enough in the art world to sense SCAM. So I Googled it and lo and behold, the words 'Lubelski' 'NY Arts Magazine' and 'scam' appear together rather more often  than is comfortable. Certainly enough times to make me keep my cheque book in my handbag. So be warned, it appears this setup is just legal enough to allow it to continue to operate, but its not all it appears to be.

Here's some of the info I received:
World Art Media in New York is absolutely a scam! They target impressionable naive artists thousands of dollars to be a part of NY Arts Magazine. The introductory fee is $500. But they charge thousands for articles and other silly projects like having one slide shown on a screen during an art fair for 0.5 seconds. Don't give into them..they will buy your soul and shame your artwork.”
And from:!!/
And finally, after I out a few questions myself out on line, a anonymous person was kind enough to write to me and tell me what I really needed to know:
Dear Helen I saw your question in the blog about NYArtmagazine and World Art Media. I worked for them, don`t make any agreement with, it's a scam company Wish you Good Luck a new yorker friend”

and then another email;

"Yes, World Art Media is a completely scam. Besides they deceive naive artists, they do the same with naive candidates who apply for a position.They promise you a high comission (10%) that you must achieve in a short period of 30 days(impossible goal for so short period) and a payment of $ 1,00 for each  e-mail you send. You must send 40 e-mails by day, besides research,( the time you spend looking for web sites of artists), what means that you work 8 hours non stop in front of a computer and in the end of the day you receive the fantastic amount of $40,00 dolars.After a month sending 800 e-mails and receiving the "huge" amount of $ 800,00 dolars for 160 hours of work,  without close any deal, of course! So, as you couldn't reach the "golden goal" of 10% comission, you are fired! After I left the company they post in craiglist at least one/two adds by month looking for a "energetic sales associate" with a promise of a great  earning based on comission,goal that you never will achieve in a periodo of a month. After 30 days you ended with a misery salary of $ 800,00 dolars and leave to them a big data base of artists around the world, this list they keep forever in their files.What a "great deal".! Better to get a job and work in Mac Donald's, so you can get a higher payment by hour(more than $ 40 dollars by day) making a mindless work and at least you won`t be working under stress, pressure and  won`t be deceive with promisses of high comission percentual, a impossible goal that you never will reach in a short period of 30 days."
And from another blog:
It appears World Art Media and NY Arts magazine (same company) send out thousands of unsolicited emails each month to artists on their websites promising art representation via online sources, publications, gallery shows etc. for a FEE. They do not advertise their fee on their website anymore, but I learned from other artists the fee starts at $500 and goes up from there to $4000 and $6000 depending on what they say they are doing for you.

World Art Media does publish your work in the NY Art magazine. However, it does not have the millions of viewers, buyers, and following that they claim. One New Yorker said it is sold only in the newstand down the street from their NY office.
NY Arts Magazine promises promotion, publicity and articles in their magazine and an art show in their gallery, 450 BROADWAY GALLERY, which, although it exists is in the inaccessible, interminable, unclimable 4th floor walkup at that address. The gallery isn't even listed on the local Gallery Guide. However, It is listed in, where else, the NY World Arts Magazine.
It is also my understanding, that even the so called 'Marketing Associates' get ripped off. Most of their positions are continually advertised on Craig's List. When they sign on, they are promised wonderful commissions. After working like crazy soliciting artists, they are not given these commissions. One guy wrote, that after working for World Art Media, he could have made more money had he been employed flipping hamburgers at McDonald's.
World Art Media seems to be just 'legit enough' to keep from getting arrested. However, they operate in an unethical manner. They don't tell the entire truth about what they can/will do for artists and actually charge you ridiculous fees for their services. This is not the kind of company I choose to do business with ever! My advice? far away.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Whose work is it anyway?

Called a Gauteng gallery who has had a few pieces of my work for some time with no recent sales. Would have left it there, but for the fact that I had heard that other artists were having extreme problems getting payment from them. (We're talking lawyers letters etc). Throughout my dealings with them, struggling to get payment has also been my experience. An email to the gallery owner was replied to via a cc to the manager asking her to display my work more visibly. (No direct response.) So, as the message wasn't being heard, I called and asked if they could return the work.The response was: "Will ask the owner and get back to you." I'm amazed! The work is consigned and so belongs to me, yet the gallery seems to feel they have a right to withold it. Having dealings with galleries like this makes me treasure my relationships with those galleries who do pay timeously, who do tell you when work is sold and who do value their artists. Creates a mutual respect and trust which is the foundation of a good and winning relationship. Whats' your experiences with galleries been like?