How do I help my fine artist friend?
September 28, 2012 7:04 AM   Subscribe

I'd really like to help support my neighbor, a fine artist, in her search for commissions, management and new students. Unfortunately, outside of just helping her navigate networking sites online, I have no idea where to start. Specifics after the jump.

My neighbor has been a good friend to my family during some tough times. She's a painter and sculptor who has taught and had work displayed at some prestigious galleries here in the US and abroad over the years, but over the last decade her commissions have dwindled as her output has increased. She has stacks and stacks of beautiful new work, and she's rapidly running out of room to store them all. She's had occasional interest from collectors (who were already aware of her), and she certainly has plenty of very high quality paintings to show, but I don't think she's had proper management in years and without somebody advocating for her I don't think she'll get the kind of exposure she needs to start selling consistently again. Because I do graphic work and know a lot of commercial artists, she thought I'd be able to get her some gallery 'ins' or some contacts, but it just hasn't been working out. She's sort of a classical expressionist, not a really great fit for the few people I know who buy art here.

She's also older, and very resistant to new technology. My partner & I (and several of her other friends) have been helping her get an online presence; she's on Facebook, LinkedIn and some other sites, and she has an okay (not great) portfolio website. She's having some high def video slideshows made, and she's got a book (maybe two?) that she's written, explaining her teaching philosophy and her methods. I think she could self publish these, and work them into her wider self promotion. But I'm terrible at self-promotion myself and I'm dealing with an entirely different sort of market. I think she needs gallery introductions, but which galleries? How would she go about finding a good fit for her work? Should she even be looking in this city (LA) or should she checking out other regions?

Sorry this question is so vague, but I'm at a loss here. Any artists out there with insight into this high-falutin' fine art world? Thanks in advance!
posted by biddeford to Media & Arts (3 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
If she is interested in selling the work, maybe look into listing on Ugallery? I've linked to the faq for artists thinking of listing there. The site seems to take a 50% commission. She should be able to tell you if this is good/bad/standard.
posted by subtle-t at 8:01 AM on September 28, 2012

It sounds like she needs an art dealer/gallery to represent her. Most of the galleries in San Francisco that I've visited have had a small inventory of work by certain artists. There is an art walk the first Thursday of each month. Is she involved in the local LA arts community? She should network to get her work in other cities.

A big part of success for artists is marketing; she has to be participating in exhibitions, art coops, open studio events, etc.
posted by shoesietart at 8:47 AM on September 28, 2012

You might try browsing through the Art Business forum on WetCanvas for ideas, too!
posted by Ostara at 9:05 AM on September 28, 2012

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