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Art & Culture

Auld Lang Syne
Frank Stack
PS:  Gallery
Strength in Unity
Hallowe'en Fright
I See Nekkid People
The Muddy Mural
Livin' Large, Kinkade Style
Eliciting an Emotional Response
www.Art
Marie Hunter
Out, Damned Spot
Danielle Eldred
Local Museums Thriving
Art in Stephens Lake Park
JD King
Strike a Blow for Liberty
No Vail of Tears
Ammanford Sculpture Controversy
Bear Creek
Larry Young
The Lowest Common Denominator
A Different Kind of Success
Taking Risks
Out of Her Gourd
Hey, GalleryMan!
Harry Potter and the
    Superstring Revolution

Investment Grade
Giving Thanks
Auctions
One Free Minute
Odds & Ends
Monkeys with Car Keys
Sharon Kilfoyle's Wearable Art
Farewell Betty
Happy Birthday, Naoma
Back to School
Take the Pledge
Canopy Conundrum
Columbia's Stonehenge
It takes a Village
Hope Springs Eternal
Dorrell review
Growing Season
If the Shoe Fits
That's Not Art!
Elite Appeal
The Hunger Artist
Opportunity
What Sells
Gallery Ettiquette

Bookbinding & Conservation

lessons learned from this profession

Humor

ok, I'm not the guy from SNL,
but I still have a sense of humor

'Jim Downey' Stories

mostly true stories from my
adolescence

Personal Essays

more "it's all about me"

Politics

Iím at -7.13/-7.33 on The Political Compass.  Where
are you?

Society

observations on the human condition

Travel

take a trip with me

Published in "Legacy Online" May, 2003


What Sells?

I've mentioned before that hardly a day goes by without someone asking about showing their work at Legacy.  While everyone gets the same answer (see submission guidelines at http://www.legacyart.com/protocol.shtml), some folks will get more of my time and attention than others, depending on how they present themselves when they inquire about showing with us.  Occasionally, the conversation will be prefaced with a question put to me:  "What Sells?"

Now, if someone is just visiting Columbia, and is curious about the market here, I'm happy to enlighten them about what our experience has been in terms of sales.  However, when this question comes from someone who is looking to show with us, it sends up an immediate red flag.

Why?  Sales are critically important to both the artist and the gallery, right?

Well, yes.  As I've said before, without sales we can't survive.  But I want artists who have a passion for what they're doing, not ones who are just looking to make a buck.  Without that passion, chances are that we won't sell the work anyway.  I think this goes to the very heart of what Legacy is all about:  promoting real art by real people.  If we handled just decorative works without passion, then we might as well sell mass-produced prints by old dead guys, or over-hyped work by people who have figured out the lowest common denominator to appeal to the public.  That wouldn't do anything to help support the local arts community, and we'd lose our reason for existence.

So, I look for works by artists who have a passion for what they produce.  This means that we might not be the right venue for some artists, and they should seek gallery representation in other cities.  That's OK.  But to betray their artistic impulse just in an effort to make sales is a sure path to artistic stagnation and frustration, and is a benefit to no one.  Any artist who presents themself as willing to do whatever style or theme work that is likely to sell is not an artist I want to show.  I owe you, and our artists, no less.  That's my passion.


contact me:
jim@afineline.org
all work © James T. Downey, 1993-present
photos © Martha K. John, 1994-present
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