exclusivity

Discussion in 'Presentation & Marketing' started by omalley, Apr 25, 2005.

  1. omalley

    omalley Member

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    I need some advice. I was just (last week) taken on by a gallery in the city, which I am very excited about. This will be the first time I've been represented by a gallery- I've had several shows, mostly groups, but they've all been invitational (one month) shows. So, we haven't talked about exclusivity yet, but I feel like maybe it is supposed to be implied. I'll be involved in group shows for now, and solos when I've been with the gallery through this year's schedule. They've also got a booth at Photo NY every year, and I'll have three framed prints and a portfolio in that. Hurrah!

    The thing is, a friend who works at a coffee shop has invited me to hang some work there. It's not anything big, just a coffee shop, but that's good enough for me. So I'm chicken to ask the gallery owner if it's okay for me to do this, since I've just been taken on there very recently. I don't want to offend. The owner is a nice person and not one of those typical snotty Manhattan gallery owners. What do you think I should do? Wait a while?
     
  2. chuck94022

    chuck94022 Subscriber

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    OK, let me preface by saying I have *no* experience in this...

    But either you have a contract with them, which should state any exclusivity rights you have granted them, or you don't in which case it is more about custom. If it is the former, I'd start by checking the contract. If it is the latter, I believe I would approach the gallery owner and say that since this is your first time doing this, you want to discuss what the owner's expectations are regarding the exposure of your work. Use the coffee shop friend as an example.

    Perhaps you could help the gallery owner out (if s/he approves) by putting up the images in the coffee shop but on the artist card below the image indicate the name of the gallery where your works are shown. It would be free advertising for the gallery.
     
  3. Ed Sukach

    Ed Sukach Member

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    I would - very quietly - hang my work in the Coffee Shop... probably even including little notes saying, "Now Exhibiting at XXX Galleries".
    I would NOT expect the management of a "Posh Gallery" to view a few works - especially different pieces - in a Coffee Shop - to be anything like a competitive threat. If it was me. I would appreciate the extra added publicity - no matter how weak. However, tread lightly - anything can happen.

    One area where I would be careful ... Pricing the work publicly in the Coffee Shop. It would be far better to have "Price Upon Request" on the work, and negotiate privately than to undercut the prices in the Gallery.
     
  4. geraldatwork

    geraldatwork Member

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    Even if your relationship with the gallery is not exclusive they may feel uncomfortable with their members or selected artists having work in a coffee shop which is typically for lesser or more amateur artists. (I personally would have no trouble hanging there) Having the gallery's name may be helpful. I don't know where you live and how close geographically the coffee shop is to the gallery. That may make a difference.
     
  5. david b

    david b Member

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    Hey... I too show my work at the XXX gallery.

    :smile:
     
  6. rogueish

    rogueish Member

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    What if the prints you hang at the coffee shop are different than the ones at the gallery?
     
  7. Jorge

    Jorge Inactive

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    I would not do it for selfish reasons. Presumably the gallery owner is going to take an interest in selling your work and will expend some effort doing so. If you form a good relationship with the gallery he will continue to promote your work for years to come ( assuming you continue to present fresh new, quality work).

    You will (hopefully) most likely sell more prints through the gallery than the coffe shop, in a gallery the owner/ employees have a personal interest in moving your work, in the coffe shop you are providing free decoration and nobody there cares if a print is sold or not, maybe your friend will, but I am sure he has more interest in running his coffe shop than in selling your prints.

    It is hard to tell a friend "no", but I would ask myself what is more beneficial to my photography and the promotion of my work? I would definitly try to work more with the gallery than with a coffe shop, it would be on my best interest.
     
  8. c6h6o3

    c6h6o3 Member

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    Jorge's right. You are known by the company you keep. Some galleries will drop you if they even suspect you've been on a coffee shop or bookstore wall.

    Don't even think about it. The first word out of your mouth should be "no".
     
  9. Shane Knight

    Shane Knight Member

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    I would be very careful about showing your artwork with the gallery not knowing. You need to decide right now...do you want to show in galleries or coffee shops. I don't think you want a reputation of "going behind their back." Since gallery owners communticate which each other it might be hard for you to find another gallery to represent your work.

    If you are very intent in doing the coffee shop show, communicate with the gallery and let them know that you want to make them part of it.

    Good Luck
    www.shaneknight.com
     
  10. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

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    I have never been requested or had an exclusivity obligation, unless there was a signed contract in place, when ever I place something in a gallery, one of the most important questions you can ask.....is this an exclusive agreement we are entering into, if it is, then the commissions and percentages you receive when an image is sold should reflect this fact, I never hang without discussing the details, and making sure, that I always know all of the facts that concern the hanging, but if the gallery did not sign an agreement with you, based on my experiance, then you are free to display in other areas as well..

    Dave Parker
     
  11. smieglitz

    smieglitz Subscriber

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    If this is a close enough friend, why not give them a print? That way your work will be on display, your friend will be happy, and they can direct people interested in your work to the gallery.

    Joe
     
  12. Graeme Hird

    Graeme Hird Member

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    Ask the gallery owner. All the advice we give you means nothing if the owner doesn't agree with us, and you are the one who will lose out if we are wrong.

    In any case, I think Jorge's advice is on the money - don't hang your work in a coffee shop.

    Cheers,
     
  13. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

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    I don't agree, I sold over 500 posters out of a coffee shop at $29.95 each over the last two years, that is a bit of change for a starving artist, and don't get me wrong, I respect Jorge 110% but if your in this for the long haul, selling prints and posters is one of the most important goals we have, yes, I undrestand and stive for the art, but with out the income the art can't happen..as the media we deal in, is expensive...

    Dave
     
  14. Early Riser

    Early Riser Subscriber

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    I have been, and am, represented by quite a few galleries. Even if there is no contract, which is common, there is usually an understanding that the gallery has exclusivity on your work for that city or region. Also if you are at the point where your work is now hanging in a NYC gallery, it may undermine your image or the perceived value of your work to be hanging it in a coffee shop. The gallery may feel that this undermines their efforts to promote you.

    As for selling your work to the public behind the back of the gallery, or selling it at a lower price than the the gallery,it is not a good idea. The only people who may get discounts or who may deal directly with you are people within the art industry, dealers, other artists, art consultants and interior designers who buy in quantity, etc. And even then if they have seen your work in a specific gallery, they should always be directed back to that gallery for their purchase.

    The general public should always be directed to one of your galleries. If you choose to sell to the public yourself, and provide discounts to them, you will soon find that no reputable gallery wants to represent you. Most galleries have a serious overhead, why should they hang your work only to have someone who has seen it at their gallery contact you and buy it from you at a discount?
     
  15. c6h6o3

    c6h6o3 Member

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    Sure is. That must be some picture.

    I think posters are a little different. I've been referring here to handmade prints.
     
  16. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

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    I am also represented by quite a few different galleries here in the west, and we always sign an agreement that spells out the rights and requirements of the artist and the gallery, but I know here in the west, unless there is an agreement in place in writing, then the artist is free to display elsewhere, as most galleries don't want to pay the extra involved in exclusivity rights over the artist(at least here in Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, etc). And yes it was quite a picture, in which the first 50 in the hand made prints sold out pretty quick, before we offered the posters. I personally from experiance, think that getting stuff in writing, so that no one gets mixed up on what should and should not happen is really short cutting themselves, of course I won't do a wedding without a signed agreement in place, it leaves far to much in the fuzzy area and leaves you open for to many problems.

    Dave
     
  17. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    There is of course a happy compromise. You could show work in the Coffee shop stating that images are available for sale via the Gallery, and giving details.

    However on the other hand you could offer prints for sale as long as you keep the prices at the same level so as to not undermine the gallery's prices.

    In reality it can only be benificial for your work to be seen in as many places as possible, but you do have to adress how you handle sales, prices and gallery's cuts.

    Perhaps its important to remember that most of the public doesn't visit galleries, and a far higher percentage visits cofee shos, restaurants etc.

    Speak to the Gallery, show in the coffee shop, all publicity can be good publicity if handled in the right way.

    Ian
     
  18. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    I would agree with the folks who say *no* I think this would be a big mistake and affect your new relationship with the gallery who you hope will represent you. Don't even think twice say no.
     
  19. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

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    Handshake agreements in the current economic market will lead to mis-understandings and hurt feelings..It is always a thrill to be shown, I am in awe every single time someone wants to represent the work that I have done, but have learned over the years, that leaving it to a handshake will leave you very disapointed with the outcome.

    Make sure and know, what the rules and the boundries are, on showing your product and you will be far happier with the outcome.

    Dave