PDA

View Full Version : to "opening" or not to "opening"?



Darin Boville
20-Feb-2014, 21:00
And if "opening" do we serve wine?

I'm pondering all aspects of running a gallery at my new, almost-painted space, including the institution of having an opening--and of serving wine.

First, the confession. I don't like openings. I don't like the people who come to openings. I never see people looking much at the art. I never get the impression that much sells at the opening.

So do I have them? Or do something else--maybe just a private party for invitees only?

And if I do an opening do I serve alcohol? Doing it right would be expensive and wouldn't I just attract all the wrong people?

Thoughts, experiences? Would love to hear from folks who buy art if the opening is a factor in their purchases.

--Darin

Erik Larsen
20-Feb-2014, 21:16
From my limited experience openings are just a schmooze fest, especially if everyone knows each other. I think it's good to do as far as pr goes though. Make new friends and be introduced to potential buyers is always nice. If you haven't done so, you might check with the local authorities to be sure that it is legal to serve alcohol or if you need some kind of permit. One gallery in town here had the cops make the poor gallery owner poor a crap load of wine out in the gutter outside because they had no permit, embarrassing the gallery owner for being ignorant of the law. They now have that permit:)

Vaughn
20-Feb-2014, 21:28
Openings are not cheap, but I would look at them as an effective advertising expense. Many artists like the chance to talk with people about their work and/or celebrate the successful effort of getting their work on the walls. For me it is just traditional -- a show includes an opening...or sometimes a closing instead. An opening can be an educational opportunity -- with the artist(s) giving a short talk about their work, or even a demonstration of some kind. Such things can create in the community's mind that your place is just not another gallery...but with value added.

As a gallery owner (well, as part owner in an artist cooperative...30 members), our gallery has been well supported by the community in exchange for being a monthly meeting place where community folks can meet the artists (and as a small community, it seems like everyone knows one of us members), and chat, look at new work, etc. Sales are not especially high during the openings, but people come back -- or come because of word-of-mouth.

Have a trusted person at the door who can act as a bouncer -- kicking out or keeping out the obvious riff-raff coming in for free wine and food.

The second Friday of the month is ArtsArcata...when all the galleries (and stores with art on the walls) in town stay open from 6 to 9pm to have their openings. I do not know if your area has something similar.

Generally, group shows (especially of local artists) draw more people into the gallery during openings than just one artist. This would be a good way to introduce your gallery to the community.

Kirk Gittings
20-Feb-2014, 21:39
I think every show I have ever been in had an opening. I used to hate them, but over the years pretending I liked them took over to where I actually do like them now. Though they may not do a lot of sales that night they definitely impact on sales. I know discussions I have had at openings with attendees have led to sales later on. AAMOF a discussion I had with a collector at an opening at a show in Louisville some 11 years ago led to a sale just a couple of months ago. He couldn't get our talk or the image out of his mind. Of course if he had bought it eleven years ago it would have been half the price......

Darin Boville
20-Feb-2014, 21:46
I think every show I have ever been in had an opening. I used to hate them, but over the years pretending I liked them took over to where I actually do like them now. Though they may not do a lot of sales that night they definitely impact on sales. I know discussions I have had at openings with attendees have led to sales later on. AAMOF a discussion I had with a collector at an opening at a show in Louisville some 11 years ago led to a sale just a couple of months ago. He couldn't get our talk or the image out of his mind. Of course if he had bought it eleven years ago it would have been half the price......

Funny how things look different from different perspectives. Kirk, i think you are trying to make the case *for* openings but from my (new, embryonic) gallery owner perspective you are really making the case *against* openings. :)

Or at least making the case against inviting artists to their own openings!

--Darin

Kirk Gittings
20-Feb-2014, 21:54
FWIW that recent sale came through the original gallery where it showed 11 years ago. So they benefited too.

There is a group show here that I do every year. I hang three prints and have sold as many as 10, 8 from one negative once. There is a kind of buzz or feeding frenzy sometimes that gets going at openings. You have to make an effort to get collectors to come-not just photographers. Photographers (though yes I have sold a lot of prints to photographers) want to trade with you a lot of times. Collectors are the key. You need to develop a good list and work them.

David A. Goldfarb
20-Feb-2014, 22:24
An opening is a chance to send out a press release, organize interviews with the artist and potential reviewers and members of the press, and generate buzz about the show. Maybe it's not the part of the art business that most artists like, but if you want to sell work in galleries, it's part of how one communicates to the world that the work is there and available for purchase. Even if interested parties don't attend the opening, they are likely to find out about the show from the publicity associated with the opening.

AtlantaTerry
20-Feb-2014, 22:51
Vaughn, as an obvious riff-raff, I'm represent that remark. :p

Darin, inquire about a company coming in with 3 or 4 wait people who will carry trays of drinks and food and 1 who will operate a bar. In some jurisdictions part of their service is an alcohol-serving license. It might not be too expensive if you supply the beverages and food.

A true story... about 20 years ago there was a gallery opening in a small suburban town nearby. One of the photographs was by my friend Atlanta photographer Chuck Rogers. It was a classy tasteful photo Chuck had created for the American Cancer Society to promote female breast self-exams. The newly installed chief of police stormed in and wanted to shut the place down for "exhibiting pornography". When shown the cancer society brochures he became quite embarrassed and left quietly. :)

BradS
20-Feb-2014, 23:02
I am very frankly baffled that it would even be a consideration....honestly, if you're thinking of having an art gallery without opening shows with sparkling wine...maybe, you not right for the business.

jnanian
20-Feb-2014, 23:09
yup
openings with wine and little bite size food things
i used to own an a gallery with a handful of people too
and openings were a great time ( every few weeks! ),
nothing to hate, it was all good.... ( i miss it, but my pockets aren't deep now )

( don't forget the after-party ! )

StoneNYC
20-Feb-2014, 23:16
I think an opening with an entrance fee and a small gift print would be a good way to get your name out there and get a buzz going, skip the food, but charge at the door. :)

BradS
20-Feb-2014, 23:21
John, clear your PM's

Also, I think an opening with an entrance fee and a small gift print would be a good way to get your name out there and get a buzz going, skip the food, but charge at the door. :)

yer joking...right?

StoneNYC
20-Feb-2014, 23:29
yer joking...right?

To an art gallery exhibit opening? Not at all, but compensate with an equally valuable small print.

For one this gets your art into the hands and homes of potential buyers of bigger prints, it starts their collection of "X photographer" prints. And you make it numbered and signed.

Most of the famous people are good photographers but you gotta have a gimmick and have good and innovative marketing techniques too.

Look at Peter Lik, he's not a bad photographer but he's also not the best, he just figured out how to make himself a name, and so people spend more for highly saturated color panoramics. I can make those too, but no one would buy them at peter lik prices even if mine were better because I'm not a name (yet), it's all in the gimmicks... Why not make a fee bucks guaranteed at the opening but also give people something that makes them feel they've gained value from going. Heck make it a first come first choice deal, so people come early and can choose the mini-piece they want best, plus it gets the place "packed" sooner.

Just saying it's an idea to think about.

AtlantaTerry
20-Feb-2014, 23:34
An alternate to charging for admission would be a "blind bidding" for a couple of prints. The money would go to a charity.

That would get your work into the hands of people with money and be better class than charging for admission.

StoneNYC
20-Feb-2014, 23:36
An alternate to charging for admission would be a "blind bidding" for a couple of prints. The money would go to a charity.

That would get your work into the hands of people with money and be better class than charging for admission.

Good point

BradS
20-Feb-2014, 23:39
Just saying it's an idea to think about.


I guess it depends on what the target market is....

jnanian
20-Feb-2014, 23:50
LOL

the OP might as well have it set up as a PEEP SHOW if he
is going to charge admission.

David A. Goldfarb
20-Feb-2014, 23:54
I think the only thing to be gained by charging admission is to make all the people who are comped (which will be most of them--press, potentially buyers) feel like they're getting something even more special for not having to pay admission. Someone is going to have to be a fairly big name with a significant publicity budget to get anyone to pay to get into an opening.

Even museums that charge substantial admission to regular patrons don't typically charge admission to openings, which are by invitation and are promotional by nature, and in addition to the party, guests will likely go home with a gift bag containing a catalogue of the exhibition and other swag.

dsphotog
21-Feb-2014, 00:07
You might partner with a local winery, bakery, restaurant, and or caterer, willing to showcase their products.

Darin Boville
21-Feb-2014, 01:21
I don't want to shoot down any ideas at this point--just want to think (and re-think) out of the box.

I also want to address the question of what to serve--wine or no?

As with all this questions, it isn't just a matter of having or not having an opening, or serving or not serving wine--but what are the alternatives. What could be done *instead* to serve the same need, or to better serve the same need.

Here's one idea we're sort of kicking around:

Half Moon Bay, the town where the gallery is, is a coastal down a fair drive from more urban areas. It has essentially no night life and no art crowd. However, it has a large number of visitors, most of which will drive by the gallery on the way in and out of town.

So perhaps a format like this would work:

Friday night--private, invitation-only event, with alcohol served.

Saturday *afternoon*--public, drop-in event with finger food and non-alcoholic drinks.

?????

--Darin

Mark Barendt
21-Feb-2014, 04:06
Depends on who your clients will be.

The significant (higher dollar) sales of the gallery close to me (also in a tourist town) actually seem to be more to new residents or others with new homes rather than tourists.

If I were starting a gallery and wanted to tap into that "new local" market I might be inviting Real Estate people and Home builders and Restauranteurs and ...

I don't know that any tourist would be tempted by an opening. I know I don't drive to Santa Fe because there's an opening, but it is nice to know the range of dates of when something I'm interested in will be there.

DrTang
21-Feb-2014, 08:57
NOW... that is one opening I might attend


LOL

the OP might as well have it set up as a PEEP SHOW if he
is going to charge admission.

matthew blais
21-Feb-2014, 08:59
I would definitely do an opening Darin...advertise a month out or at least a few weeks.
Wine, beer and snacks.
You've gone this far....Contact local press outlets and write up a PR piece...

I had a donation box to "keep art alive" which compensated in part for the beverage and food costs

Maybe invest in a 2x8 banner (about 30-40$) and hang facing the traffic prior to opening as well...

Postcards distributed at nearby venues where applicable.

Even look for a local solo musician to work for tips..

Make it an event to help spread the buzz...

Maybe a drawing to receive a free print

ROL
21-Feb-2014, 09:55
And if "opening" do we serve wine?

Get 'em just drunk enough to buy, not spill.

ROL
21-Feb-2014, 09:57
NOW... that is one opening I might attend

How about serving wine and Tang. Call it Dr Tang.

Kirk Gittings
21-Feb-2014, 09:59
Funny how things look different from different perspectives. Kirk, i think you are trying to make the case *for* openings but from my (new, embryonic) gallery owner perspective you are really making the case *against* openings. :)

Or at least making the case against inviting artists to their own openings!

--Darin

I fail to see the logic of your interpretation of my statement. I used to be uncomfortable with openings I suppose because I lacked confidence. One way to change a behavior is simply to act differently till it becomes second nature. Somewhere around 50 of about a 100 openings I got comfortable with them.

Frankly if someone wanted to show my work and there was no opening I would not take them very seriously as a venue. I might do it if I had some previously shown framed prints around in storage-rather see them hanging somewhere than gathering dust, but I certainly wouldn't invest time and resources into producing new work for such a venue. Yes people buy art but they also buy into an artist which is easier to accomplish if they have had the opportunity to meet the artist in some format.

Vaughn
21-Feb-2014, 10:10
A well-known photographer moved up here to Humboldt County from Monterey. Built a beautiful house and incredible darkroom (with climate-controlled storage and all that) on a wonderful ocean property. He and his wife ended up moving back to Monterey -- he found that without the face-time with customers/collectors he could have in Monterey, his print sales were dropping quickly.

djdister
21-Feb-2014, 10:28
From what I've seen over the past 30 years, running a gallery and holding openings go hand in hand. If you don't want to do "openings" then don't run a gallery.

ROL
21-Feb-2014, 10:38
I fail to see the logic of your interpretation of my statement. I used to be uncomfortable with openings I suppose because I lacked confidence. One way to change a behavior is simply to act differently till it becomes second nature. Somewhere around 50 of about a 100 openings I got comfortable with them.

Frankly if someone wanted to show my work and there was no opening I would not take them very seriously as a venue. I might do it if I had some previously shown framed prints around in storage-rather see them hanging somewhere than gathering dust, but I certainly wouldn't invest time and resources into producing new work for such a venue. Yes people buy art but they also buy into an artist which is easier to accomplish if they have had the opportunity to meet the artist in some format.

+1, except I would add that people mostly (if not entirely) buy the artist.

I've noted quite a few, what in my hard won experience are, unrealistic notions and unyielding statements regarding likes and dislikes by the OP in this seemingly never ending process of polling members. In my original list of concerns "never say never" was subtly numbered first.

Lenny Eiger
21-Feb-2014, 10:54
Darin,
As much as this is fun, you're asking the wrong people. There are plenty of good ideas. However, there is one question I don't see asked: who is the opening for? I presume you want to do well financially. Who will buy the photographs? Have you identified you target market?

Once you do that, you need to find a few of them you can approach and ask them what they want.

David Silva is on the money when he suggests partnering with a local winery that wants to showcase their wines. Pair it with a wine tasting and a good caterer and you can lower the prices.

Have fun,

Lenny

bob carnie
21-Feb-2014, 11:04
plus one

Actually two openings or more for each show... Private and General Public is the norm here.
The more private openings the better.

From what I've seen over the past 30 years, running a gallery and holding openings go hand in hand. If you don't want to do "openings" then don't run a gallery.

John Olsen
21-Feb-2014, 11:30
An opening is a chance to send out a press release, organize interviews with the artist and potential reviewers and members of the press, and generate buzz about the show. Maybe it's not the part of the art business that most artists like, but if you want to sell work in galleries, it's part of how one communicates to the world that the work is there and available for purchase. Even if interested parties don't attend the opening, they are likely to find out about the show from the publicity associated with the opening.

Our galleries around here use First Fridays and Openings as ways to get free announcements in the "Events" section of the local papers. We feel this brings much more attention to our efforts than our paltry advertising budgets can buy, although we do that too. These events don't have to be expensive, nor have professional catering. Mostly people just want an excuse to feel like they have an art community and in the process they see work that they may consider buying. If you don't have some kind of events, I think you fall off of the art customers' radar entirely.
Of course, be aware of local laws. In Washington we can now serve one glass of wine without a permit. Previously we paid for $10 event permits, which was a very affordable arrangement. Now our expenses are rising a little because health regulations require store-bought snacks instead of gallery-prepared finger food. We're adapting to that.
Good luck.

DennisD
21-Feb-2014, 11:54
From what I've seen over the past 30 years, running a gallery and holding openings go hand in hand. If you don't want to do "openings" then don't run a gallery.

True words, well stated.

Dariin,

You've asked about having "openings", but there's more to it than that one question.

With all due respect, I admire what you are doing, but suggest you always remember to "wear two hats" -- think like a "businessman", (not only an "artist") while managing gallery affairs.

You've received some excellent suggestions from our forum members. Running a gallery requires that you generate a good deal of PR through special events, openings, contests, promotions, etc, etc. You must do whatever it takes to promote your business and get publicity (with as little expense as possible). Openings are certainly part of the mix.

As a new business you are in a great position to get free publicity in newspapers and local magazines, local radio, tv, etc, but you must do the legwork required by telling your story to editors and others who have the means to BROADCAST your story.

In many cases you may find yourself doing your own write ups and articles to feed to your media contacts just to get the ball rolling, but it will be worth the effort when you make the proper contacts. Perhaps you know someone with a PR background or experience to help in this area.

In addition, and as suggested earlier, having events where local vendors such as restaurants, caterers, wineries, either participate free of charge with appropriate recognition (and/or at reduced cost) will benefit all participants. Your success in this area will be as great as your creativity and ability to collaborate with others and generate enthusiasm.

Partnering with other local businesses in any variety of ways creates a wonderful synergy. Is there a local business group you can attach to ? Also, start creating a database, mailing list, and emailing list of publicity, business and customer contacts for your promotional efforts.

I wish you well in your efforts.

Dennis

DrTang
21-Feb-2014, 12:09
I've thought about this before.. in fact.. I thought about doing a show like this to get around the whole 'framing expense' thing


but.. grocery stores can 'print' a photograph onto the frosting of a sheet cake


so take a print or file or whatever they want..from one of the prints in the show and have them put it on the cake


then you can cut up the 'art' and serve it as a snack instead of the whole wine and cheese thing

everyone then gets a small part of the print.. and then eat it

Darin Boville
21-Feb-2014, 12:19
I fail to see the logic of your interpretation of my statement. I used to be uncomfortable with openings I suppose because I lacked confidence. One way to change a behavior is simply to act differently till it becomes second nature. Somewhere around 50 of about a 100 openings I got comfortable with them.

Frankly if someone wanted to show my work and there was no opening I would not take them very seriously as a venue. I might do it if I had some previously shown framed prints around in storage-rather see them hanging somewhere than gathering dust, but I certainly wouldn't invest time and resources into producing new work for such a venue. Yes people buy art but they also buy into an artist which is easier to accomplish if they have had the opportunity to meet the artist in some format.

Some gallery owners don't really want the artist at the opening. Either the artist is not so social or they are worried that the artist will make side deals with their clients. I was joking about your post in that regard--you mentioned you had made several sales from people you met, some many years later. But you have already responded that the gallery got a cut of that sale--not sure the meaning of this second post...

--Darin

Darin Boville
21-Feb-2014, 12:27
Thanks for all the ideas.

Just a quick comment. I know that having openings (usually with cheap wine and little cubes of bad cheese) id the normal thing for galleries but i am also aware that most galleries don't really make any money. And the reasons why museums and non-profits have openings might be very different than why I might. So I'm questioning/pondering/re-thinking all of these assumptions.

Looking for an interesting twist on an old idea or a few good new ideas!

--Darin

bob carnie
21-Feb-2014, 12:56
Sorry but I don't agree, Most gallery's worth their salt want to talk the artist up and insist they are present, and as well artist making side deals, really?

Some gallery owners don't really want the artist at the opening. Either the artist is not so social or they are worried that the artist will make side deals with their clients. I was joking about your post in that regard--you mentioned you had made several sales from people you met, some many years later. But you have already responded that the gallery got a cut of that sale--not sure the meaning of this second post...

--Darin

Kirk Gittings
21-Feb-2014, 13:37
Sorry but I don't agree, Most gallery's worth their salt want to talk the artist up and insist they are present, and as well artist making side deals, really?

Absolutely. Any buyer with a lick of effort (and little integrity) could look the artist up on their own and try and buy something from the show at a discount. Having the artist there is an asset. I have NEVER heard of a gallery not wanting the artist there except one friend who was an anti social nutcase and would do things like throw a punch bowl at a guest who annoyed him.

Drew Wiley
21-Feb-2014, 13:47
Hard to predict what will happen. In a town like Half Moon Bay, certain types of subject matter might sell to casual walk-in passerbys. Other types do best if you
invite a target audience to help spread the word. Back in my Carmel days, I did far better in the latter category because it was mostly wealthy locals and pro
photographers who bought my prints, and not tourists. In fact, I broke even on openings around the first twenty minutes, then the gravy added bit by bit,
but mostly in the first two days after the opening. Just all depends on the demographic and specific appeal of the work. Getting an attractive front door and some nearby signage would help. A completely different game than auctioneering famous dead bearded people (or unbearded).

matthew blais
21-Feb-2014, 14:05
Most my sales (90%) happened at the receptions.

dsphotog
21-Feb-2014, 14:17
Roman Loranc sold 2 prints at his gallery talk in Turlock, 3 wks ago.

ROL
21-Feb-2014, 16:24
...you can cut up the 'art' and serve it as a snack instead of the whole wine and cheese thing

everyone then gets a small part of the print.. and then eat it

Absolutely brilliant! – the closest I'd ever get to having my prints be my bread & butter. ;)

Greg Y
21-Feb-2014, 17:02
....are you suggesting that they might want the 'exposure' by giving their products away?....for the opportunity to 'showcase'?...did I misunderstand your statement?

Drew Wiley
21-Feb-2014, 17:23
Now I know what to do with my work prints and test strips instead of tossing them. Just spread a little brie cheese on em and serve em to the folks who show up only for the free eats.

Kirk Gittings
21-Feb-2014, 18:09
Now I know what to do with my work prints and test strips instead of tossing them. Just spread a little brie cheese on em and serve em to the folks who show up only for the free eats.

:)

Peter Gomena
21-Feb-2014, 18:23
An opening, especially for a new gallery, is not for you - it is for the community. People who might not otherwise step into your gallery will become aware of it. Friends who come to visit them might be told about the gallery. Celebrate your new place and its place in the community.

A friend of mine once had a photo gallery. Most of her sales happened either just before, during or just after each show's opening.

ROL
21-Feb-2014, 18:48
but i am also aware that most galleries don't really make any money.

Darin, you are certainly aware of how to make small fortune in the gallery business?!? Start out with a large fortune.






…RIMSHOT. I told you I'd be here all week.


;), Shecky ROL

Darin Boville
22-Feb-2014, 00:01
Darin, you are certainly aware of how to make small fortune in the gallery business?!? Start out with a large fortune.


If I was really crazy I'd just go buy a boat. [Rimshot alert....] The second happiest day of any boat owners life is when he buys the boat. What's the happiest?

--Darin

Darin Boville
22-Feb-2014, 00:02
An opening, especially for a new gallery, is not for you - it is for the community. People who might not otherwise step into your gallery will become aware of it. Friends who come to visit them might be told about the gallery. Celebrate your new place and its place in the community.

A friend of mine once had a photo gallery. Most of her sales happened either just before, during or just after each show's opening.

I guess the real question is, not whether to have an opening or not but what are the alternatives to a traditional opening?

--Darin

mathieu Bauwens
22-Feb-2014, 01:02
I've done a lot of exhibition during the past 2 years. Something that become usual in these part of the world, for small galleries, is that the bar is open but not free. You present some snack (vegetables or so...) and free water, but if people want to drink alcohol, they have to pay. That works pretty well.

Randy Moe
22-Feb-2014, 01:07
Restaurants have 'soft' openings where they don't invite everyone and their uncle. They try to start slowly. That can backfire. You may be disappointed if few come to an under advertised opening, or you may be swamped with people who love to find the next great thing.

The second happened with a small restaurant here last week. The owners opened quietly and were extremely surprised to serve 800 the first weekend.

A hard thing to play just right.

Peter Gomena
22-Feb-2014, 10:38
Ask for a donation to your local food bank at the door, and have a kick-ass party inside.

Randy Moe
22-Feb-2014, 11:21
Most of USA has strict rules on selling booze, usually cheaper to give it away. Check your local laws Darin.


I've done a lot of exhibition during the past 2 years. Something that become usual in these part of the world, for small galleries, is that the bar is open but not free. You present some snack (vegetables or so...) and free water, but if people want to drink alcohol, they have to pay. That works pretty well.

Darin Boville
22-Feb-2014, 11:56
Most of USA has strict rules on selling booze, usually cheaper to give it away. Check your local laws Darin.

Not allowed to sell wine. No legal, no insurance. But I can give it away. Insurance no problem.

--Darin

Kirk Gittings
22-Feb-2014, 12:00
You know all of this is totally secondary. The main question is what art to sell and building a collecting audience for it. One can do one great opening of art that no one can relate to and that might be your last opening. One can do the easy (and lowest common denominator) pretty color landscapes, but if you market to the cutting edge art types they won't be back or vice versa.

You know I like your art but let me play the hard ass a minute.

My wife is a professional chef with a long family history in the food business going back generations. She has owned, and operated restaurants and taught the restaurant business at the college level. One of the things she really gets concerned about is good home cooks who think that translates to opening a restaurant. Every one who's a good cook dreams about opening a restaurant. They have virtually nothing in common. Making food for your family and friends is not selling food to the public. My wife suggests they go and work in a restaurant to learn the business and see if they still have an interest.

So an obvious question that hasn't been asked. Have you had much success marketing your own art? Your website is anti sales in that there is absolutely no mention of sales in any way shape or form on your site. Have you even shown much? There is no list of shows on your website so I don't know. Ever worked or volunteered in a gallery? If not, or even if you have, what makes you think you could market other's art since you seem unconcerned about selling your own art? What have you been doing for a living as an adult? Does that translate to marketing art? I always got the impression that you could care less about sales as I never remember you ever posting anything here related to sales and I follow your posts because I think you are an interesting photographer. There is no mention even of your photographs even being available for sale on your site-not a hint. How do you price your photographs? How would you price others' photographs?

Is the sole experience you are drawing on here that you love photography and have gone to a lot of gallery shows?

paulr
22-Feb-2014, 12:05
I used to think openings were just for schmoozing and drinking wine. But I've been told by people in the gallery world that a big chunk of their sales are made (or made final) at openings. And I've also learned how valuable schmoozing is. Buyers, curators, and other artists happen to be people, and while this may be inconvenient in some ways, it also means they like human interaction, and like to connect faces and personalities to the artwork. It's just easier to get people who know you interested in your work.

I also think openings serve some of the same purpose as readings in literature world. Pursuits like photography and writing are mostly solitary ... it's easy to get starved of contact with other artists or with the people who like your work. Openings and readings are easy ways to get some togetherness.

QT Luong
22-Feb-2014, 15:28
In my opinion, running a gallery is much about creating a community. If you don't like openings, you might rethink the whole enterprise, because they are the most obvious way to gather that community. Some established galleries (which are in the minority) invite only their existing customer base rather than the general public, but since you don't have one yet...

ROL
22-Feb-2014, 16:45
All kidding aside, I can be an even bigger hard ass, with a considerable dose of pessimism as it turns out, then anyone here. Everyone here offering their valuable experience are likely wasting their time, as The OP seems tone deaf to it all. But hey, what's a forum for anyway? :p

I was late to the game of offering opinions, because I initially thought that this was vanity gallery and was playing nice, not that there's anything wrong with that. A 400 sq. ft. space doesn't seem logical to me for anything but a single person. Where it went south for me is when the OP began soliciting interest regarding renting a printing station to other photographers. The whole project then then began to look like some variant of the rent-a-gallery scheme (e.g., artists buy wall space – not to be confused with a community gallery where artists share costs), the OP culling hopeful artists from this forum. During the "economic recession" many traditional gallery models were forced to go this route to keep their doors open. I personally don't consider it a very forthright business model, but that just may be as ridiculous a statement as any considering it is the art business. So there you go. Harsh – and I sincerely hope the OP proves my suspicions wrong on every count.

jnanian
22-Feb-2014, 16:57
Ask for a donation to your local food bank at the door, and have a kick-ass party inside.

i love this idea.

i often times sell work and donate the proceeds
to the food bank, or some sort of charity
( disaster relief ) its a win win situaiton ///
work gets sold and people get helped ...

getting a donation at the door ( and a rep from the food bank to take the money INSIDE )
is nice, people WANT to help others i have found, and people like looking at photography
and having a good time ( party ).

if this happens maybe a local wine shop and caterer can cater the event.
thats what we did years ago, caribbean open invitational, and a local
restaurant steeped in caribbean culture catered the event. it was great ...

tgtaylor
22-Feb-2014, 20:10
Exhibiting Photography: A practical guide to choosing a space, displaying your work, and everything in between by Shirley Read, Focal Press, 2008. I picked this up this afternoon while looking for a print hardening formula in another book. I've read the first 15 pages and it looks worth while.

Thomas

Darin Boville
22-Feb-2014, 20:20
Exhibiting Photography: A practical guide to choosing a space, displaying your work, and everything in between by Shirley Read, Focal Press, 2008. I picked this up this afternoon while looking for a print hardening formula in another book. I've read the first 15 pages and it looks worth while.

Thomas

Thanks--placed an order for a copy!

--Darin

Darin Boville
22-Feb-2014, 20:43
To Kirk and ROL....

You guys are tough! If I followed your way of thinking I'm afraid I wouldn't be able to get up in the morning... :)

When I look out at the gallery system, the "business model" through which we as photographers sell our work, I see a broken system. What kind of a business model starts off by giving half of your gross sales to your "representative"? And then pushes "limited editions" down your throat so you'll never have your own *Moonrise, Hernandez*? It's crazy. You know the math. If you exhibit your work you are, in all probability--if you are really doing your accounting--running a charity. It's a joke. I thought it would be fun to experiment with the idea of an artist's business model. And I think (correctly, I believe) that some of the people here on the LFF would be curious about my little experiment (I'd be curious, too), others might be able to offer suggestions (thank god for them) and others would exhibit...well, a different range of emotions.

But it's just what I said, an experiment. My goals are to have fun, meet a few interesting people, and learn a few things. If I make money, fine, if not, that's fine, too. I'm paying for the whole thing--a year's rent, the furniture, the frames, the utilities, the paint, the mailings, the everything from the proceeds from the sale of my work--money in hand, not wishes. I just started offering my work for sale a few months ago, I'm doing fine. No need to worry.

I think it will be fun. It's been fun already, to tell the truth. I have a lot of (I hope) cool ideas that I hope to implement. I hope something that I do, something that I learn, will spur others to try out their own ideas on alternatives to the current "business model" for art photographers.

No, I'm not renting my walls, trolling for customers (photographers don't buy photographs, duh), or doing anything else nefarious, ROL. No luck on the printer/scanner rental idea (though it is a good one). No room right now. Maybe I'll try that at some later date.

I believe in art, I believe in photography. I don't think people who like to view and buy art--or the photographers who make art--are being well served by the current system.

If it is no fun after all, if I don't really meet anyone all that interesting, if I don't learn anything that wasn't already obvious then my little experiment has failed. But I don't think it will. As for the money? Only a fool would think opening a gallery would generate sufficient ROI to make it worthwhile compared to all the other options for investing money.

I have other plans.

--Darin

Randy Moe
22-Feb-2014, 21:00
Go for it Darin, as you are, if we all just followed 'logic' we would still be in a cave. Dreamers often win.

bob carnie
23-Feb-2014, 06:17
Darin , they are giving you some good advice if you are opening a gallery to represent artists.

From what you are saying at least what I can gather from your posts , you are creating a Vanity Gallery which is 100% supported by your own finances
There are many models like this and they are fantastic.

See Clyde Butcher in Florida, Peter Lik in Las Vegas - It is done all the time and well.

I see it much like Kirk and have similar experiences. But the model of Gallery I am talking about is different and quite complex.


To Kirk and ROL....

You guys are tough! If I followed your way of thinking I'm afraid I wouldn't be able to get up in the morning... :)

When I look out at the gallery system, the "business model" through which we as photographers sell our work, I see a broken system. What kind of a business model starts off by giving half of your gross sales to your "representative"? And then pushes "limited editions" down your throat so you'll never have your own *Moonrise, Hernandez*? It's crazy. You know the math. If you exhibit your work you are, in all probability--if you are really doing your accounting--running a charity. It's a joke. I thought it would be fun to experiment with the idea of an artist's business model. And I think (correctly, I believe) that some of the people here on the LFF would be curious about my little experiment (I'd be curious, too), others might be able to offer suggestions (thank god for them) and others would exhibit...well, a different range of emotions.

But it's just what I said, an experiment. My goals are to have fun, meet a few interesting people, and learn a few things. If I make money, fine, if not, that's fine, too. I'm paying for the whole thing--a year's rent, the furniture, the frames, the utilities, the paint, the mailings, the everything from the proceeds from the sale of my work--money in hand, not wishes. I just started offering my work for sale a few months ago, I'm doing fine. No need to worry.

I think it will be fun. It's been fun already, to tell the truth. I have a lot of (I hope) cool ideas that I hope to implement. I hope something that I do, something that I learn, will spur others to try out their own ideas on alternatives to the current "business model" for art photographers.

No, I'm not renting my walls, trolling for customers (photographers don't buy photographs, duh), or doing anything else nefarious, ROL. No luck on the printer/scanner rental idea (though it is a good one). No room right now. Maybe I'll try that at some later date.

I believe in art, I believe in photography. I don't think people who like to view and buy art--or the photographers who make art--are being well served by the current system.

If it is no fun after all, if I don't really meet anyone all that interesting, if I don't learn anything that wasn't already obvious then my little experiment has failed. But I don't think it will. As for the money? Only a fool would think opening a gallery would generate sufficient ROI to make it worthwhile compared to all the other options for investing money.

I have other plans.

--Darin

Drew Bedo
23-Feb-2014, 06:36
Sure: Do the opening. If you don't like the" regulars",also Invite the folks you do want to be there. They may not come though . . .kinda like trying to move into a different crowd in highe school, the "cool" kids may not show up.

Wine? that's up to you. why not go alcohol-free, gluten-fre vegan (Ok, I was being a smart-ass there, sorry) The reception can be any way you want

.Just remember that going to opening receptions is how some art students survive the cold winter.

Darin Boville
23-Feb-2014, 12:33
From what you are saying at least what I can gather from your posts , you are creating a Vanity Gallery which is 100% supported by your own finances
There are many models like this and they are fantastic.

It will be a mix, i hope. My work and I also want to carry a few (six? ten?) photographers who do California landscape, with a special emphasis on images made in the nearby area (near to coastal Half Moon Bay). And the word "vanity gallery" was, I think, invented by traditional galleries as a put down. It works against the photographer's interest. I've also noticed the explosion is self-published photo books in the past few years. Even traditional publishers often require a little fund raising on the photographer's part.

Funny how locked into an outdated model we seem to be.

--Darin

Darin Boville
23-Feb-2014, 12:35
.Just remember that going to opening receptions is how some art students survive the cold winter.

Winters not very cold here--10 degrees above normal, I think! I'll keep a stack of warm "Intro to Programming in iOS" books to hand out to the art students who look especially needy... :)

--Darin

StoneNYC
23-Feb-2014, 12:46
Winters not very cold here--10 degrees above normal, I think! I'll keep a stack of warm "Intro to Programming in iOS" books to hand out to the art students who look especially needy... :)

--Darin

How do you program your LF film cameras in board and out board %-0

Kirk Gittings
23-Feb-2014, 14:10
Winters not very cold here--10 degrees above normal, I think! I'll keep a stack of warm "Intro to Programming in iOS" books to hand out to the art students who look especially needy... :)

--Darin

At both universities I teach at we still teach analogue along with digital. Students love analogue.

Darin Boville
23-Feb-2014, 14:35
At both universities I teach at we still teach analogue along with digital. Students love analogue.

No, I'm serious! I mean real programming, not digital photography.

--Darin

Randy Moe
23-Feb-2014, 14:43
The programmers I know, do not want their children to study programming.


No, I'm serious! I mean real programming, not digital photography.

--Darin

Randy Moe
23-Feb-2014, 14:49
I recently became aware of this quote, John Adams, second US President. I found it revealing.

'The science of government it is my duty to study, more than all other sciences; the arts of legislation and administration and negotiation ought to take the place of, indeed exclude, in a manner, all other arts. I must study politics and war, that our sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. Our sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history and naval architecture, navigation, commerce and agriculture in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry and porcelain.'
Letter to Abigail Adams (12 May 1780)

Mark Barendt
23-Feb-2014, 15:20
I recently became aware of this quote, John Adams, second US President. I found it revealing.

'The science of government it is my duty to study, more than all other sciences; the arts of legislation and administration and negotiation ought to take the place of, indeed exclude, in a manner, all other arts. I must study politics and war, that our sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. Our sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history and naval architecture, navigation, commerce and agriculture in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry and porcelain.'
Letter to Abigail Adams (12 May 1780)

Thank you.

Darin Boville
23-Feb-2014, 15:22
The programmers I know, do not want their children to study programming.

Oh wait! I thought it was artists who didn't want their kids to grow up and be artists? Ha!

--Darin

Drew Wiley
24-Feb-2014, 09:57
My great-grandmother was an Adams, descended from the above clan, so just for interest, I've read thru a number of the biographies of the life and times of that
president, and can summarize that the only thing for certain is that he was very smart and very much a politician, so I don't know if I really want any of the latter
characteristic in my own gene pool. Fortunately, it's been pretty diluted by a lot of distinctly scruffier ancestors, some of which were pretty good at shooting, though
not necessarily cameras.

paulr
24-Feb-2014, 12:21
I don't think people who like to view and buy art--or the photographers who make art--are being well served by the current system.

There are many kinds of galleries, many systems. The commercial gallery model you're singling out has its downsides, but there are reasons it dominates the high end of the market. It's just more effective, in that setting, for making money. Both for itself and for the artists. I don't hear photographers with good representation complaining about the 50% commission, because they've learned the high cost of sales—in the form of marketing, overhead, time, and work. It's also the most effective model at generating publicity. When photographers have bad representation, there are usually worse things to bitch about than the commission.

I don't believe it's engraved in stone that commercial galleries require limited editions. I know gallerists who encourage the practice, because it's effective at making money. Again, both for you and for them. Collectors know that scarcity is a primary factor of value, which is why one-of-a-kind mediums will always lead mediums of reproduction in price. I don't think the convention of limited editions is what's stopping anyone from having their own Moonrise, as much as the fact that it's no longer 1941, and everything about the photo art market has changed. Like, for example, that there's such thing as a photography art market. But my guess is that if you have good reason for an open edition, you'll find dealers who will work with you.

But there are many other models for galleries, all with their strengths. There are artist-owned co-op galleries, non-profit art spaces, commercial vanity galleries, commercial galleries that serve as fronts for frame shops ... and many that combine features of these.

If you haven't done it already, I'd research what other people have done. Check out the Blue Sky gallery in Portland, Soho Photo Gallery in NYC, Gallery Sink in Denver. These are all non-commercial spaces based on different models. You could probably find a dozen others, all different. See what appeals.

I'm with Kirk that building a community is probably the best thing you could hope to achieve. Which leads to the short answer: budget for some wine and have openings.

Drew Wiley
24-Feb-2014, 12:32
Nearly every high-end photo gallery I've encountered was a tax write-off for someone who made a lot of money some other way. A few exceptions, and of course,
as well as many failures by those who weren't backed up by lots of financial reserve. But unless you can pull that kind of risk, galleries to tend to work best an as
"auto row" model - enough of them in proximity to attract an audience willing to go there specifically to shop art. But artiste colonies aren't exactly the same thing.

StoneNYC
24-Feb-2014, 13:26
My great-grandmother was an Adams, descended from the above clan, so just for interest, I've read thru a number of the biographies of the life and times of that
president, and can summarize that the only thing for certain is that he was very smart and very much a politician, so I don't know if I really want any of the latter
characteristic in my own gene pool. Fortunately, it's been pretty diluted by a lot of distinctly scruffier ancestors, some of which were pretty good at shooting, though
not necessarily cameras.

So now you're a decedent of a president too? Man your "epic-ness" never ends :munch:

paulr
24-Feb-2014, 13:53
Nearly every high-end photo gallery I've encountered was a tax write-off for someone who made a lot of money some other way.

Name three of them, and we'll see if anyone else here agrees that these are representatives of "high-end."

The ones I know were mostly started by people who worked for other gallerists for years, learning the business and slowly building a roster of collectors. That roster is a gallery's main asset, by the way. The storefront is more an accessory. Most high end galleries make a big chunk of their money—sometimes the majority—as private dealerships. The display space plays a more supportive role, even though that's the only part of the gallery most people are aware of.

Erik Larsen
24-Feb-2014, 13:58
So now you're a decedent of a president too? Man your "epic-ness" never ends :munch:

Didn't you know they made a movie about Drew? It's a great flick called Forest Gump:)

djdister
24-Feb-2014, 14:04
So now you're a decedent of a president too? Man your "epic-ness" never ends

Umm, surely Drew isn't a deceased person ("decedent"). Maybe "descendant" :confused:

Drew Wiley
24-Feb-2014, 14:10
Paul - so you think you can just lease a downtown or prime location space based on sales forecasts? Dream on. Not around here. .. not by a long shot. I'm down here
in the "industrial" side of town and the parking lot across the street just got put up for sale for 75 million. What do you think the ground floor leases are going to look
like? Robert Redford wanted to turn the adjacent lot into a movie screening venue and they turned him down. .. not good for the local economy. But by high-end galleries, I'm implying places the public can't just walk into, at least not without passing a security checkpoint. But even in photo galleries interspersed among
"tourist trap" painting galleries in a town like Carmel, do you think the average business can secure a lease or buy a hole in the wall? Never could. ... ya have to
go back to when it was mostly famland and somebody like Weston managed to scrounge up a little left over acreage.

Drew Wiley
24-Feb-2014, 14:15
Make up your mind ...."decadent", "decent,etc", "deceased", "descendant", "disentransciagent" (made that one up)... At least I can blame my typos on arthritis,
don't know what the rest of you have for an excuse.

Greg Miller
24-Feb-2014, 14:23
Popcorn popping. Almost ready. This should be fun.

Drew Wiley
24-Feb-2014, 14:26
New Yorkers. Figures.

paulr
24-Feb-2014, 14:51
Paul - so you think you can just lease a downtown or prime location space based on sales forecasts?

Jeffrey Fraenkel wasn't rich when he opened in S.F.. He said if he hadn't had good fortune in the art world he probably would have been a mail man. His is probably the highest-end gallery in your area.

Karen Jenkins-Johnson was an accountant who quit and then worked for other Bay Area galleries for six years before opening her gallery. Nine years later she opened in NYC.

Scott Nichols was a private dealer for 12 years before opening his S.F. gallery.

I don't know about Robert Koch.

These are all the Bay Area AIPAD dealers. I could make a real long list of NYC gallerists and their backgrounds: Howard Greenberg, Bonni Benrubi, Yossi Milo, Yancey Richardson, James Danziger .... but it would get monotonous pretty quickly. Who are the high-end tax write-off dilettantes you're talking about?

Drew Wiley
24-Feb-2014, 15:00
Wasting your breath... Wasn't it Stieglitz who famously made the idiotic comment that NYC was the center of the universe? According to the current edition of NG,
the center of even the Milky Way is a black hole; and the center of my little piece of real estate is a cozy dark room. How's that whiteout doing for you at the moment? Even Forrest Gump had enough common sense to run west.

Kirk Gittings
24-Feb-2014, 15:04
Whatever you do don't bother trying to pin Drew down on the facts behind his sweeping generalizations. Been there many times. He will simply change the subject or become so obtuse that the conversation loses its direction.........

Greg Miller
24-Feb-2014, 15:05
New Mexicans. Figures.

Kirk Gittings
24-Feb-2014, 15:07
Guilty...........I think, but of what? :)

Greg Miller
24-Feb-2014, 15:11
Guilty...........I think but of what? :)

Ask Drew. It's probably the same as for New Yorkers. Goodness knows whatever that may be.

;)

StoneNYC
24-Feb-2014, 15:21
Make up your mind ...."decadent", "decent,etc", "deceased", "descendant", "disentransciagent" (made that one up)... At least I can blame my typos on arthritis,
don't know what the rest of you have for an excuse.

You are so amazing you are like Schrödinger's Cat you can be thought of as both alive AND dead at the same time :munch:

As for typos... I'll blame the tiny keyboard on the small screen of my iPhone

paulr
24-Feb-2014, 15:45
Wasting your breath...

As is anyone who tries to confront your prejudices with facts.

I'm still waiting for the names of some high-end gallerists whose businesses are tax write-offs. I think you pull this stuff out of your ass.

Drew Wiley
24-Feb-2014, 16:33
It's called "Do the math". I'd like to see any one of you try to support the overhead of a gallery in any prime urban or suburban environment around here. You might
know of the 2% that survived just because they survived. What about the other 98%? Otherwise, affordable leases mean some place no client in their right mind would want to walk around. I've supplied stuff to some of these galleries and have no intention of airing out the laundry before the public. Every high-end builder in this area knows me (though not high-rise contractors - different supply chain). But do I have schemes of my own? Of course. I obviously won't say where, and obviously won't say how it might be capitalized. But then, I won't have to support myself, just supplement a retirement income. That's a big difference. Will it work? I'd give my own odds only 50/50.

Drew Wiley
24-Feb-2014, 16:53
... people seem to forget that this is one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in the world, and guess what kind of people control the availability and pricing of a lot of
the prime location real estate? Duuuh.

paulr
24-Feb-2014, 17:13
It's called "Do the math". I'd like to see any one of you try to support the overhead of a gallery in any prime urban or suburban environment around here. You might

You can't do the math if you don't know the business numbers. Hint: you don't know the business numbers.

If you've changed your point to "very few new galleries surive," I'll agree. But that was not what you said. You said that the high end galleries that DID survive did so as tax write-offs for rich people. You can't provide a singel example of this, while I can provide dozens of counter examples from among the top galleries in the country, including every AIPAD gallery in your city that I could find out anything about.

In short, you continue to talk shit when you know nothing about the subject. Nothing.

StoneNYC
24-Feb-2014, 17:14
:devil:

Peter Lik's galleries make money and are not write offs...

:munch:

Darin Boville
24-Feb-2014, 17:26
Funny thing. As I run into people I, of course, mention my gallery project. People not involved in the art world, just regular people.

Guess who's name keeps coming up? Clark Little. http://www.clarklittlephotography.com

There's a lesson there, somewhere.

--Darin

Drew Wiley
24-Feb-2014, 17:30
Peter Lik is not a photographer. But I'd say to Paul that it's pretty naive to think that overhead in this area can be overcome just by selling photographs. It's not a
particularly art-collecting culture to begin with, even in 'Frisco, and I don't know how long your life savings would last in any prime commercial lease around here.
Yeah, I could give a number of specific examples, but that might piss off a few people I don't want to piss off. I'm well down that food chain. It takes capital, period.
Not the same thing as renting an empty space for a week or two, until the real tenants move in, or of hanging a few things in a live/work space (which costs more
than most home payments anyway, unless you like living in a closet!). I don't know a single photographer around here who makes a living just selling prints - not even close to it! Maybe 20% of income, tops? So what are all these galleries allegedly selling, and to whom?

StoneNYC
24-Feb-2014, 18:05
Peter Lik is not a photographer. But I'd say to Paul that it's pretty naive to think that overhead in this area can be overcome just by selling photographs. It's not a
particularly art-collecting culture to begin with, even in 'Frisco, and I don't know how long your life savings would last in any prime commercial lease around here.
Yeah, I could give a number of specific examples, but that might piss off a few people I don't want to piss off. I'm well down that food chain. It takes capital, period.
Not the same thing as renting an empty space for a week or two, until the real tenants move in, or of hanging a few things in a live/work space (which costs more
than most home payments anyway, unless you like living in a closet!). I don't know a single photographer around here who makes a living just selling prints - not even close to it! Maybe 20% of income, tops? So what are all these galleries allegedly selling, and to whom?

Ok so, that's like saying Stephen isn't a real photographer, they both carry cameras to remote locations and create ultra saturated images of nature.

Peter even used to shoot on film, he may still, I know he shoots digital for his TV show, but that may be because it's easier to show the "public".

Many of his panoramics were shot on 120 film in a pano camera.

He has photo galleries of real prints on real print paper that actually sell... For big money...Do you Drew?

How is he not a photographer?

He may have a gimmick, but he's still a real photographer...

StoneNYC
24-Feb-2014, 18:06
Funny thing. As I run into people I, of course, mention my gallery project. People not involved in the art world, just regular people.

Guess who's name keeps coming up? Clark Little. http://www.clarklittlephotography.com

There's a lesson there, somewhere.

--Darin

Get a diving camera rig? :)

Darin Boville
24-Feb-2014, 18:07
Just for fun, in little Half Moon Bay--nowhere near the art galleries in the City, a 1500 sq ft space goes for about $4500 a month plus utilities, etc. So you are north of $5000 a month before buying your first bottle of wine for that opening...

--Darin

StoneNYC
24-Feb-2014, 18:17
Just for fun, in little Half Moon Bay--nowhere near the art galleries in the City, a 1500 sq ft space goes for about $4500 a month plus utilities, etc. So you are north of $5000 a month before buying your first bottle of wine for that opening...

--Darin

You're a brave soul...

Don't sell my prints, the 8x10's don't even cost $100.... :(....

paulr
24-Feb-2014, 18:17
You could give a couple of examples, but it would violate your NSA clearance.

Drew, you're just wrong. Many of these galleries have been paying their rents in Manhattan and downtown S.F. for decades. You can't write off a business for that long. It would only even make sense if you had gobs of other income. Some gallerists might, but none of the dozen I've looked at do.

I don't know why you keep talking when you know nothing about any of the high end galleries, their business model, or the economy they operate in. You aren't fooling anyone.

Darin Boville
24-Feb-2014, 18:42
http://www.bizjournals.com/sanfrancisco/blog/2013/01/tech-boom-is-putting-the-squeeze-on.html?page=all

fyi, 49 Geary is where all the top photo galleries are...

--Darin

QT Luong
24-Feb-2014, 23:34
The ones I know were mostly started by people who worked for other gallerists for years, learning the business and slowly building a roster of collectors. That roster is a gallery's main asset, by the way.

Do you mean they took their boss's collector list to start their own gallery ?

Rodney Lough sued Peter Lik (or vice-versa) for "poaching" a gallerist who brought with him the collector list.

Kodachrome25
25-Feb-2014, 00:10
He has photo galleries of real prints on real print paper that actually sell...

There are lots of places you can go like Costco or Walmart that have real digital photos printed on real digital paper too....

Some two weeks ago my wife and I were walking around town running errands and decided to go into his gallery, my wife's idea. Upon close inspection, nearly every print had the look of a mass produced item, sometimes the pixelation was outright bad. But in one particular scene, a high key shot from dead center under a pier with the usual foggy ocean, I saw something rather disturbing.

It would seem one of his hired photoshop minions in that great big warehouse of an operation outside of Vegas had goofed up the selective contrast layer about three pilings out from the center on either side. It was not only noticeably different in color scheme and tonality, it was also at least 2 stops brighter than the outer portion of the picture and then the center was 1 stop darker.
In short, it looked like some of the digital garbage I see on Flickr.

Yeah, he sells lots of prints, but other really talented photographers who insist on keeping a higher standard sell prints too, for big bucks. That being said, I did play dumb and picked up some excellent marketing tips during the visit.

I know you despise Drew, but my god, pick another example of success....

Kodachrome25
25-Feb-2014, 00:31
I think you pull this stuff out of your ass.

Well...in keeping with the title of the thread...that *is* an opening...:o

StoneNYC
25-Feb-2014, 08:40
There are lots of places you can go like Costco or Walmart that have real digital photos printed on real digital paper too....

Some two weeks ago my wife and I were walking around town running errands and decided to go into his gallery, my wife's idea. Upon close inspection, nearly every print had the look of a mass produced item, sometimes the pixelation was outright bad. But in one particular scene, a high key shot from dead center under a pier with the usual foggy ocean, I saw something rather disturbing.

It would seem one of his hired photoshop minions in that great big warehouse of an operation outside of Vegas had goofed up the selective contrast layer about three pilings out from the center on either side. It was not only noticeably different in color scheme and tonality, it was also at least 2 stops brighter than the outer portion of the picture and then the center was 1 stop darker.
In short, it looked like some of the digital garbage I see on Flickr.

Yeah, he sells lots of prints, but other really talented photographers who insist on keeping a higher standard sell prints too, for big bucks. That being said, I did play dumb and picked up some excellent marketing tips during the visit.

I know you despise Drew, but my god, pick another example of success....

I didn't say he was good anymore, I think he might have once been a decent photographer who shot his 6x12 and 6x17 with Velvia and made a name for himself, and now he just does what the marketing people tell him to because he's learned that at this point they will make him the most money. It does not mean he is a GREAT photographer, I wasn't saying he excelled at photography, I said he excelled at keeping his galleries open.

Drew said he wasn't a photographer, and I was saying he was certainly a photographer but just not very appreciated by anyone who actually shoots photography.

I like Drew I just think he's over the top and I like to tease him because he talks a lot, and I talk a lot too, but I don't make outlandish claims unless I can back them up.

And Drew DOESN'T have a gallery, so what would he know about running one?

Has Drew ever even sold a print?

BTW I used Lik because he is the most hated photographer ever lol, but everyone knows him, and he is still successful... So it was more about his success as a gallery owner than his success as a photographer.

Anyway the point of this whole thread is should the OP have an opening, of course!!! But do it like a store does it, be open for a month and THEN have a GRAND opening. Maybe have a "private" opening for "select guests" first... Like your friends and maybe a few fans of the work in the gallery, but for the most part just wait till people know you exist and invite them to the grand opening the ought the first month of being opened, get emails from people who might visit and send them a reminder the night before.

Serve wine if you want to spend the money on wine, and make sure to have an attractive sales girl who actually knows sales and she can do the selling while you can do the schmoozing.

Drew Wiley
25-Feb-2014, 09:30
Sorry Stone, but I did all my commercial gallery gigs before you were born. Got sick of seeing valuable collections of famous vintage photographers getting ruined in some of them, and the inevitable lawsuits afterwards, and of galleries being bought for trophy wives just to get them out of the house. Not much different than all the "botique" wineries popping up various predictable places in this state (not to be confused with the real deal). Afterwards I had a fair amt of momentum selling
right out of my home. Too worn out now. Had a bunch of property to remodel, and just tying to tie up all the loose ends until I retire, get my lab up up to snuff,
and back into the game. ... But regarding that other topic, I do not consider anyone who uses a mouse to smear around fluorescent kindergarten finger paint to be
a photographer. Maybe something else, like a Fauxtographer. Peter Lik's business model seems to be inherited from Tom Kincaid (sp?), and everyone knows should
know by now how dramatically those little empires can come crashing down fast. Why bother? What satisfaction is there is making schlok? I was in the home of
some friends the other nite, and here they've got some big frame 40x60 digi print of a Toroweap sunset, fairly realistic but stunning in a postcardy way, better
looking than the cheesy way somebody like Lik would have done it, and $200 at Ikea. Mass-produced decor either way. Take your pick. I'm not personally interested in that kind of game myself, but if I was, it wouldn't be to sucker people.

paulr
25-Feb-2014, 09:37
Well...in keeping with the title of the thread...that *is* an opening...:o

Great point. Will someone please start a thread about closings?

Drew Wiley
25-Feb-2014, 09:43
Darin - I do know where there are cute little leases that are reasonable, but always a catch - like Pt Richmond (nice litte Victorian community) - right across the
freeway from the refinery, so risky to your own health as well as anything resembling print permanence. You can smelll the sulfur dioxide in the air. I could cite several similar examples, one of which just happens to have a lot of small meth labs in those cute little spaces - great for catching fire. Same reason I'd never put a
gallery in the same building as a restaurant. Even Chez Panise caught fire last yr. During the depth of the "recession" what a number of sucessful contractors I know
did, since residential jobs were temporarily not profitable, is rapidly buy up a lot of the bargain commercial spaces in nice communities, remodel and flip them in a
matter of just a few months. I was amazed at how fast it happened, and how fast the leases for those vacant properties shot up and got occupancy. So now I'm
waiting to see what will happen with the big govt properties being renovated. Everyone was expecting Alameda to gain a wonderful little arts community opportunity, but the carbon-fiber yachting crowd pretty much bought up the whole thing cash, and the leases skyrocketed to around twenty bucks a square foot,
not the fifty cents everyone was expecting. There's a huge squabble about that kind of thing about to take down a bunch of SF turf too - but more like going from
expensive already to extremely expensive. So I'm keeping mum on the area I'm tracking, but if anything significant opens up I will spread the word once I've got my
own foot in the door, because galleries do work best when a number of them are in proximity. But a small space in Half Moon Bay ain't bad. Lots of moneyed traffic
goes thru there.

djdister
25-Feb-2014, 12:09
So -- openings are about ultimately about marketing, and a number of folks have mentioned the surge in sales during or after an opening. If your intent is to sell some of your work, then certainly you should have openings several times a year or when you change your exhibited photos. Openings are merely a way to generate new buzz every now and then in the hopes of driving new or repeat foot traffic (== $$) to your gallery.

paulr
25-Feb-2014, 13:52
So -- openings are ultimately about marketing...

And about community. Which itself helps with marketing, but is valuable to many of us on its own merits.

bob carnie
25-Feb-2014, 13:56
I have always attended my artists openings, I have lost count now, but I always end up standing by myself and feeling quite uncomfortable.I have
never been able to figure this out.
My own work well its a different thing and I quite enjoy being front and center.




And about community. Which itself helps with marketing, but is valuable to many of us on its own merits.

Randy Moe
25-Feb-2014, 14:04
Not all of use schmooze as well as others. I need a mission, like selling something, to schmooze, otherwise I revert to my technician mind and simple look at the insanity.

I can't stand art openings and seldom stay 5 minutes.


I have always attended my artists openings, I have lost count now, but I always end up standing by myself and feeling quite uncomfortable.I have
never been able to figure this out.
My own work well its a different thing and I quite enjoy being front and center.

Tayne
25-Feb-2014, 14:27
To the opening I would say cheese squares and rootbeer, but I am from Utah and know nothing about wine :)
I would strongly recommend you use social media to advertise your gallery and opening.
Good luck I hope you do well.

Drew Wiley
25-Feb-2014, 14:30
In a moderately small community like Half Moon Bay, hosting get-togethers from time to time can be quite valuable even if the event itself it not initially a home run,
simply because it's important for the neighbors to know you're there and what you do. Somebody could be sitting in a restaurant and commenting about the view,
and the waitress might mention that they might like to see the things in your gallery. Word of mouth can be the best advertising out there. But ya gotta start somewhere.

paulr
25-Feb-2014, 16:02
I have always attended my artists openings, I have lost count now, but I always end up standing by myself and feeling quite uncomfortable.I have
never been able to figure this out.


Not all of use schmooze as well as others. I need a mission, like selling something, to schmooze, otherwise I revert to my technician mind and simple look at the insanity.

I can't stand art openings and seldom stay 5 minutes.

Yeah, openings can be awkward and alienating and annoying. I'm in a big city with a big art scene, and when I go to ones where I don't know the artist personally, it often feels like crashing a party in a loud white room with crowds blocking all the art.

I'd suggest that if it's your own, though, you can push it in a more positive direction. For one thing, you can personally invite the people you'd like to have there. Friends, other artists you're acquainted with but don't see ofen enough, artists you admire and would like to meet. Anyone who's ever bought anything from you. Anyone who's every written you a nice note about your work. Then there's the more aspirational list, like the people you hope to sell to, or to have write about you, etc... That part is just work, but if you're at all ambitious (and no one says you have to be) it's something to get used to.

You should plan the opening as a party you'd want to go to. If you're sick of wine and cheese and urbanity, you could have barbeque and a jug band. Your uncle's barbeque and your best friend's jug band. Or whatever. It's an opportunity. Make it what you want it to be.

The biggest probelm I've had is exhaustion. The opening generally happens after a long push from a final edit with prints all over a studio floor to a framed show on the wall. I've fallen into a couple all-nighters trying to get it together. If this problem vexes you, another option is a closing party. It sounds funny but a lot of people do it. I did it once, when I just couldn't handle the thought of a party when the show opened.

Darin Boville
25-Feb-2014, 16:57
The biggest probelm I've had is exhaustion. The opening generally happens after a long push from a final edit with prints all over a studio floor to a framed show on the wall. I've fallen into a couple all-nighters trying to get it together. If this problem vexes you, another option is a closing party. It sounds funny but a lot of people do it. I did it once, when I just couldn't handle the thought of a party when the show opened.

The exhaustion issue is something that has recently occurred to me. I'm just finishing up painting, will move the furniture in in a few days, a million little details--and then I have to mat and frame all that work! And then an opening? Oh my god. Not to mention the need to keep making new work, which is sort of above all of this.

The good news is that this workload is largely a problem of the first month when everything is happening at once. The better news is a lot of this burden will, hopefully, be alleviated after I hire someone. But that won't be until April or so.

An interesting experience so far. And if anyone else is interested in opening a photo space in Half Moon Bay I'll share all I know... :)

--Darin

Drew Wiley
25-Feb-2014, 17:14
Your "opening" does not have to be a "grand opening". Give yourself a little breathing room and plan for a nice May or summer evening when people will want to be walking about. I learned that right here next to the Bay. Any event timed for April or earlier is doomed by the cold wind. Get fifty times the turnout during nice weather. That gives you time to design and send out postcards, gives people a more realistic chance to do a little Hwy sightseeing along the way, etc. Having friends and fellow photographer there during an opening is nice, but not necessarily lucrative. By owning your own gallery operation you don't have to worry about proving any instant marketability, but just covering your overhead. But I'm sure you wouldn't complain about any extra profit. Gotta get there somehow. And fresh paint ain't all that good for the prints themselves. Another big rainstorm on the way, so you'll need some extra time to outgas the residual ammonia. If furniture is new, it also needs to outgas a little while. Not much you can do about gallery guests outgassing, however. Just be careful what kind of cheese you serve!

Drew Wiley
27-Feb-2014, 13:36
Right smack on the front page of SF Chronicle today: a whole list of "prominent" art galleries that are officially being evicted from downtown as the tech companies
buy the real estate out from under them.

Greg Miller
27-Feb-2014, 13:41
Is that shocking? That's pretty much how it works. In NYC, artists and galleries moved in to lower rents in SOHO. After they made the area chic and attractive, businesses that can afford higher rents to be an a chic area displaced them. So the artists and galleries moved on to Chelsea. Once the rents go up there, they'll likely move on to the lower east side.

Drew Wiley
27-Feb-2014, 13:54
No it's not shocking whatsover... It's just that I got so much flak when I mentioned the risk factor of breaking even, and the fact (known to me, but apparently not
to others) that certain cases galleries are subsidized as tax-writeoffs, otherwise some of them wouldn't still be around. But in this particular instance we're not
talking about going from a grubby area and then making it "chic" through renovation, but about a finanacial power play just cause they can get away with it. It's a
huge food fight right now in Frisco, and not just downtown. Neighborhood improvement is more an issue right where I am now, as industrial spaces are being taken
over by botique "live work" spaces leasing for ten times what they used to. So the artists keep moving into less safe neighborhoods, which aren't exactly suitable for public galleries. No new story there either. But originally, some of these areas were deliberately zoned for mixed use, for a "neighborhood" rather than just a 'highest bidder takes all" scenario.

Randy Moe
27-Feb-2014, 14:06
While my coop is far from high end, we did buy our ancient factory and convert it to legal live/work spaces to be owned only by board approved artists for 99 years, at a controlled price. First and only example in Chicago and perhaps a much wider area. I call it our house of Marxists. I got in last and late. The founders wanted permanent artist space in an area of ever increasing gentrification. Many had lost their rentals a couple times. Ownership is key, renting gets nobody anywhere.

We are now in year 11 and we started in a ghetto, now there is a $2 million SFH next door and more to come. Chicago's High Line is being built right in front of us. I am lucky, I got a sniff of this operation and chased it down, to get, as I said, the last unit.


Is that shocking? That's pretty much how it works. In NYC, artists and galleries moved in to lower rents in SOHO. After they made the area chic and attractive, businesses that can afford higher rents to be an a chic area displaced them. So the artists and galleries moved on to Chelsea. Once the rents go up there, they'll likely move on to the lower east side.

Greg Miller
27-Feb-2014, 14:07
Photographers looking to open a gallery for the first time, like Darin, hardly correlate to established galleries getting pushed out of much higher rent districts. Two entirely different scenarios that mean absolutely nothing towards each other.

If you want to speak to me, I can tell you about about 4 local photographers I personally know who make a very nice full time living as nature/landscape photographers. And then there are the galleries around Fifth avenue north of Grand Central in extremely high rent districts that are not tax write-offs. You might want to give Edwin Houk (http://www.houkgallery.com/) a call to ask about his finances. That's just one of many in a very high rent district. Of course most of them do not have ground level storefronts. They are in upper level units that you have to get past the doorman to get access to (not hard, but you do have to do it). Pace/Macgill and Throckmorton are others in the area. Then there are very successful newer galleries like Robin Rice, Jen Beckman, ClampArt,... To my knowledge they have no trust fund to draw from but they have been very successful in running galleries in a tough economy in a high rent area.

So who, again, are the tax write off galleries that you know? You still have not mentioned a specific one yet.

Drew Wiley
27-Feb-2014, 14:18
So these guys can afford twenty bucks a square foot selling photographs? plus payroll?

Greg Miller
27-Feb-2014, 14:22
I don't know what they pay per square foot. But they do very nicely. PM me and I will send you their contact information so you can discuss it with them. But one of them is on vacation in Central America so you may have to wait to speak to him.
I'm not saying it is easy, but its funny how there are galleries everywhere you look run by artists and photographer who are just regular people. You don't have to put your gallery in the high rent district to be successful.

bob carnie
27-Feb-2014, 14:28
Drew - I am about to sign on a lease to re open the Dylan Ellis Gallery, before that we had the Elevator Gallery.

Yes you can make money and pay staff, just need to have the right stuff and a good client base that believe in you.

I wish Darin success , he seems to be able to handle finances and he can take it anywhere he wants to take it.

I will post pictures shortly like Darin did , showing the raw space right up to the opening event, which I hope is in Sept 2014.



So these guys can afford twenty bucks a square foot selling photographs? plus payroll?

Drew Wiley
27-Feb-2014, 14:33
... OK, I get it... yeah, there are dealers around here too selling commodity names for tens of grand a pop, sometimes far more than that .... sorry; but let's talk about living people selling their own work, something realistic, not about someone's grandmother passing along a stack of Stieglitz folios and cashing in. I don't
personally know a single photographer living in this area on anything remotely approaching print sales alone. They all either do something else for their primary income
or live in a vastly less expensive areas of the state... But per Randy, the whole flaw with what you describe is the nature of remodeling here... Upgrades have to meet current seismic and hazmat standards, so often it's far more cost-effective just to level everything and start over, and obviously lease at far higher prices.
The remarkably successful shopping community across the tracks here started out by a few clever carpenters getting Fed money to restore some otherwise hopeless Victorian cottages and turn them into commercial properties. It took over twenty years, but they all became millionaires doing that. But a 400 sq ft flat
in one of those spots would now sell for close to a million buck, and go figure how much higher a lease would be... So once again, all the locals have been pushed
out... When a very successful local business once was, now there's an Apple store, just cause they can afford to drive someone else out.

bob carnie
27-Feb-2014, 14:41
Drew did Timothy Leary just drop by your house?

Drew Wiley
27-Feb-2014, 14:43
Bob, it better be really right stuff for twenty grand a month overhead. I wish you well. But around here the competition for footage is in a different league - people
who are capable of buying entire islands cash! ... so we schemers keep our mouths shut about any potential gaps in the map that might work out. Unfortunately,
some of my daily customers are experts in finding those very gaps and redeveloping them, and have the money to do it. ... I'm not overtly worried, cause as you
already know, I'm just interested in supplementing retirement income. If I do partner up with certain people, they have the clout to play hard ball. The only reason
it didn't happen already is that they got burnt out jumping thru endless hoops with city hall and constant regulation changes. It can take a couple years just getting
the blueprints approved for anything really creative, and then there will be an avalanche of last minute changes. Easier to look elsewhere in such cases.

Greg Miller
27-Feb-2014, 14:49
Drew - you should do your home work. These galleries are showing living photographers work too. Here's another in Chelsea you should look at: http://robertmann.com/.

There are all sorts of galleries. Some in high rent (I only mention those to refutre your claim that it cannot be done- there are dozens in the Fifth Avenue alone area doing it), some in low rent. All making money the real way. You continue to posture, but you can't name a single tax write off gallery.

Greg Miller
27-Feb-2014, 14:51
And it is a good thing, here in the land of opportunity, that most people don't have the defeatist, negative attitude that you have. Otherwise nobody would try to do anything hard.

Drew Wiley
27-Feb-2014, 14:51
... Oh, I missed that Leary remark, Bob, posting at the same time. But no, I wasn't exaggerating whatsoever. When the Colgate plant closed down the street it would
have hypothetically made a great little arts venue. But the permit fee for just the hazmat report was $600K, the actual hazmat remodel around 12 million, the total
remodel, way up there in the stratosphere. Only Bayer could afford the property, and they currently occupy it. It's like that all over here, unless you simply sell out
of your own home. Sure, there are plenty of commercial vacancies once you get into downtown Oakland, but .... And even in between, almost all the properties are
being snatched up by Pharmaceutical and tech giants who can afford to drop a billion dollars here and there. I was looking at one cute space but really couldn't handle the seismic ugrade... but sure enough, one of the tech film bought the whole block and leveled it, and started over. They'll do the same thing to a rural
property when they want a vineyard hobby or racehorse farm, or whatever. This ain't Kansas.

Drew Wiley
27-Feb-2014, 15:05
Well, thanks for that link, Greg... but that is a commodity gallery, and we've had plenty of exactly the same kinds of venues around here, and I know damn well that the last one I ever saw that looked like it was being financed at a loss by a techie jillionaire. Tried to break even by charging for the picture framing, and certainly wasn't ever there. I got put up in Gump's gallery in SF once, smack between Motherwell and Winston Churchill paintings (no joke, the real deal). That traded hands quite some time back, but you didn't get much higher end than that, back in the day... Doesn't make sense, theme-wise... (Some nobody's Zen-ish Cibachromes between abstract expressionism straight from the museum show and some decent impressionism by someone else famous for another reason), but whatever.. connections, really. All that crowd have literally passed away... But do you really think any photographer per se could afford a space like that, even then? Nothing defeatist about it.... This is just as different part of the world where prime space is rapidly getting to be off limits to any kind of gallery, unless you're
some dicey "investment" type dealer down on the waterfront. I won't mention any names, but they usually only have three letters in them. ... And Greg, the situation is quite different here. Far less people buy art. The successful painters and sculptors I know sell nothing here - some to NYC, most to Germany or Seoul
or Toyko (not so much the latter anymore). Gotta go.

Greg Miller
27-Feb-2014, 15:11
Chip Hooper is a commodity? Michael Kenna is a commodity? I've been in that gallery so I know what is there, have you?

And have you looked at Jen Bekman or Clampart?

Like I said, there are many types of galleries. And people who are successful in each.

You can shoot down all you want, but at the end of the day, you claim that most high end galleries are tax right offs, yet you cannot name a single one that is. You just try to obfuscate the fact that you have no clue by righting run-0n paragraphs about unrelated topics.

It's a good thing you weren't around to coach the settlers moving west. It's too hard. It will never work. Harrummmph!

bob carnie
27-Feb-2014, 15:11
Burtynsky sells out in San Fran... just sayin

Greg Miller
27-Feb-2014, 15:13
Which of these are commodities? http://robertmann.com/exhibitions/past.html

paulr
27-Feb-2014, 15:51
So these guys can afford twenty bucks a square foot selling photographs? plus payroll?

Yes.

More than that (http://www.nycartspaces.com/west-chelsea-c-23.html), usually.

The photography world they occupy is not the one you occupy.

Randy Moe
27-Feb-2014, 16:18
Man, am I glad I live in Chicago and not NYC or SF.

It is cold and snowy here, but almost everything is still priced right.

Heck we are even going to build a new tallest Western Hemisphere building, sorry One World Trade Center. The Chicago Screw will fix our loss of Sears tower stature.

btw, It's a 'left hand thread'!

Drew Wiley
27-Feb-2014, 16:24
OK. I've been working in this town for forty years. All kinds of businesses have started as tiny hole-in-the walls and have grown to be stunning successes, even
natl brands or household names, but I have yet to see a single gallery survive more than a few months - two years tops. Not even one. There are a couple of gift
shoppy venues that sell a bit of framed work on the side, along with jewelry and knicknacks, that have survived, but that hardly equates to what you would call a
gallery. Several people have done well selling lithographs by appt out of their homes or a small office, but not in the framed gallery sense. Plenty of very wealthy
people around that will spend fifty grand for a single garden gate or bench or a dresser. But not one surviving commercial gallery in the immediate area... a couple
of struggling ones down in the thumbtack and gunshot area, or out in the burbs. Not even one. And it's not for a lack of visual sensitivity. Some of those "commodity" photographers live right in this community. I know them; and they don't even attempt to sell locally. And everyone of them has a "day job", even if
it involves teaching or techie consulting. So Paul, to sound snooty just because that's what NYC is known for is going against the grain of sheer photographic history. We've got more than our fair share of famous photographic heritage here too. It's just a different culture when it comes to purchasing, so therefore
often warrants a different model of selling. That's not discouragement. It's reality. There are street fairs and temporary rental events, blah blah. Or else you do it
like the litho etc print dealers, out of your home. Or you dabble in the outliers. .. SF is slightly different because you get a certain number of emigrees from NYC
and elsewhere that bring along a few of their decor habits. But it makes little sense to consign work to the reckless handling of some of these gallery venues which
want 80% of the take - a lot different world than I remember. There's a reason why some better known dealers and not only startups are fishing around quiet
coastal towns for retail space. I could get an affordable lease right here on the water - but that's the worst place because the humidity issues would be hell for
the mildew risk. Move a few blocks in, and the prices skyrocket. The odd of a multimedia gallery doing better are higher, esp if one adds sculpture or art furniture;
but I don't know anyone who has survived that way locally either. A couple designer art furniture showrooms have done superbly well. But they've sold zero framed
art, even attempting to do so. And you are utterly full of beans if you think I'd be embarrassed to hang my own prints next to anyone's, period. Done there, did that. Some of those apotheosized deceased saints of the medium have purchased my prints! So don't give me some NYC diatribe about not occupying the same
world. And the fact is, all ya gotta do is scroll down the fortune five hundred list to see how many live and work around here. But techie geeks just aren't much into art! They'll collect and maybe even sell something like a Warhol, cause that's what you're "supposed" to do if you're rich, will spend tens of millions on a barn
or yacht, but then buy their clothes at Goodwill and drive beat up old VW vans. Different world here. But it certainly doesn't mean people are less visually educated. They just spend their money on different things. Got it? ...

Darin Boville
27-Feb-2014, 18:26
Yes.

More than that (http://www.nycartspaces.com/west-chelsea-c-23.html), usually.

The photography world they occupy is not the one you occupy.

Not quite as bad as it looks--that price is per sq foot--per *year*. On a yearly basis Half Moon Bay, in the downtown 400 block (not where I'm at), is at about $36 sq/foot per year.

But still very expensive.

--Darin

Darin Boville
27-Feb-2014, 18:37
I will post pictures shortly like Darin did , showing the raw space right up to the opening event, which I hope is in Sept 2014.

I would love to see your pictures, Bob, and hear about your experiences.

--Darin

bob carnie
28-Feb-2014, 05:43
Is that gross or net Darin... you are in a pretty pricy spot for sure so you need to consider that for your price point

Not quite as bad as it looks--that price is per sq foot--per *year*. On a yearly basis Half Moon Bay, in the downtown 400 block (not where I'm at), is at about $36 sq/foot per year.

But still very expensive.

--Darin

bob carnie
28-Feb-2014, 05:44
I would love to see your pictures, Bob, and hear about your experiences.

--Darin

I followed your first post with interest as I am also building a space to display work, so yes I will post.

I have not signed the lease yet but will do so in a month and then the progress shots will happen.

Bob

Drew Wiley
28-Feb-2014, 09:32
OK... get it? I was talking sq ft PER MONTH ! Cheap spaces are around seven bucks/sq per month (back in the recession), and really ugly office partition spaces down to around two bucks. Now they're trending back up to the stratosphere. The really sad thing is that downtown Oakland was wonderfully renovated as an
affordable arts and cafe scene, but then the drug scene and then repetitive political riots pretty much spoiled it. A lot of hard working creative types pretty much
lost everything opening shops that way. However a friend of mine has retained an extremely successful and unique "art bar" down that way; but he has a proven
track record of very successful expensive restaurants. Not so much framed stuff. He like employing starving artists (otherwise pretty damn creative) as waiters etc, and lets them display their work in house. But not framed pieces. Nothing sells. But the place sure looks cool.

paulr
28-Feb-2014, 10:19
Manhattan real estate prices surpassed San Francisco years ago. Brooklyn and Stamford Connecticut are more expensive than SF. As of last year, commercial real estate in NYC was over a third higher (http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/227319) .

I agree that a lot of new galleries fail and that it's a tough business, and that rent is part of what makes it tough. None of this supports your conjecture that most remaining galleries survive as tax write-offs. There are no facts to support this, and streams of facts about galleries and their owners suggesting otherwise.

You're just not considering the amount of money out there. Cosmopolitan cities concentrate that wealth. The population in NYC that can afford a few thousand or few hundred thousand for art is stupefying. It's great for the art world; in other ways it's wrecking the city for regular people. I just got priced out of a neighborhood that was too dangerous to visit just 15 years ago. This is an old and boring story for NYC artists, but it's not going away.

But the explanations are unimportant. The facts speak for themselves. And you ignore them. If you're curious, and want to do more than just waste everyone's time with BS, get on the FLAK photo network and engage with some of the gallerists there. Or read blogs by some of the succesful gallerists who are generous with their time and ideas. Like Edward Winkleman (http://www.edwardwinkleman.com/).

And all of this is irrelevant to Darin, I suspect. I don't think he's trying to build a business on the same model as Fraenkel or Bonrubi or Gagosian. I don't think anyone succeeds at that anymore, unless they've spent years working in galleries at that level, learning the business and building a client list.

Drew Wiley
28-Feb-2014, 10:53
Numerous burbs around here are far more expensive than SF, even prime rural properties. I've talked enough to the owners of those surviving long-term NorCal photo
galleries to know their business model well. Not only long client lists, but the possession of significant inventories of now-famous photographers aquired very cheaply
way back when, now worth a very great deal, along with ownership of the actual gallery property from way back when. Had one of those very types, inheriting quite
a valuable collection, try the same game with a lease up the street. He sold two vintage EW prints, got all excited just how educated print collectors were here
compared to his past experience in Santa Fe... and those were the only two prints he ever sold. Was out of business in six month, bleeding the whole rest of the
time. And no... this has little to do with Darin's game plan, but does give a good idea where the parameters lie - either well outside of town, or with someone who
has a significant pile of cash to risk.

Drew Wiley
28-Feb-2014, 11:22
Thanks for such links, Paul.... but those kind of gallery models I personally have zero interest in. And it would be a mistake to imagine that the SF downtown demographic even resembles most of SF itself, let alone the greater population here, which still has significant interest in the "West Coast School" of style. I've
done enough commercial gallery gigs to know what works and what doesn't, and scuse me if I sometimes think out loud. But even bouncing ideas off a resistant
backboard has its benefits at times.... and even a forum like this can be helpful, even if its a lesson in contrasts in taste, demographics, and marketing styles.
After awhile I learned that selling out of my own home was just as reliable as galleries, and I didn't have to fork out a 50% cut. But that was a lot easier to do before I was married, and namely, before a little abandoned kitten wandered up to me out in a rural shoot and I took it home, and my wife get real into animal rescue. So what was once my studio space has been shared with even rescued tree squirrels ever since. My lab and frame shop is in a separate facility completely, which I own, so no issue with that, but no extra showroom space left either. And we love the climate here, and own our property outright, so one more reason
to stay and figure out some whatever marketing plan. It's different heading into retirement than being in Darin's shoes, but any success by any of us in the area
would be an enouragement of a trend. We might have survived the recession better than any other place in the country around here, but it still had a significant
impact on the middle class. The rich will always have their toys.

paulr
28-Feb-2014, 11:49
I don't even know what point you're trying to make anymore. Why does anyone care what gallery models interests you? Why does anyone care if there's expensive real estate in some suburbs?

I'm addressing your statement that most high-end galleries lose money and survive as tax write-offs for rich people. You're changing the subject to god-knows-what.

Drew Wiley
28-Feb-2014, 11:54
Sorry if the rest of the world does not exist in your NYC stereotypes, Paul... but that's the way it is.

Kirk Gittings
28-Feb-2014, 11:59
Don't bother Paul. Its not possible to pin Drew down on facts behind his opinions.

sanking
28-Feb-2014, 12:13
Kirk,

Francis Bacon summed up this problem in Novum Organum some four centuries ago. "The human understanding when it has once adopted an opinion . . . draws all things else to support and agree with it. And though there be a greater number and weight of instances to be found on the other side, yet these it either neglects or despises, or else buy some distinction sets aside or rejects."

Sandy

Drew Wiley
28-Feb-2014, 12:15
Have you ever tried acquiring a little piece of real estate action around here, Kirk?.... think you'd be in for a bit of a shock. I make my living integrated with the
remodel business, both high-end residential and light commercial, as well as supplying all kinds of things to makers of art furniture, designer furniture, museum installations (including the local museum shops where the displays are made), the NPS projects, art auctioneers, and the homes and toys of the very very wealthy. This is my bread and butter. And I'm not bluffing anyone. Name me one photographer - just one - who actually lives around here making his primary income on prints, or who gets more than a passing glance from any of these allegedly successful galleries. Yeah, a little butter on the bread is nice form time to time, but every one of these guys makes their primary living some other way, or else wouldn't even dream of trying to leave here on the coast anymore. A number of people
are doing rather well selling various kinds of art, but it's not the traditional gallery model whatsoever - it's right out of their home or a dedicated small office. Rare
book dealers are getting close to the same business model. No need for retail staff when your serious clients know who you are already. But it's still important to
have an appropriate viewing environment.

Darin Boville
28-Feb-2014, 12:19
Or read blogs by some of the succesful gallerists who are generous with their time and ideas. Like Edward Winkleman (http://www.edwardwinkleman.com/).

And all of this is irrelevant to Darin, I suspect. I don't think he's trying to build a business on the same model as Fraenkel or Bonrubi or Gagosian. I don't think anyone succeeds at that anymore, unless they've spent years working in galleries at that level, learning the business and building a client list.

Funny, it was old post on Ed's blog blog that started off my question on whether to have alcohol at openings or not--http://www.edwardwinkleman.com/2008/05/alcohol-at-openings-open-thread.html

I am certainly NOT trying to become the next Fraenkel--my timing isn't so good, for one!

--Darin

Drew Wiley
28-Feb-2014, 12:40
Well ... don't think I'd want to serve what they were showing Denver galleries passing around during openings on the news last nite.... but maybe loosening people's inhibitions helps loosen their wallets too.

Greg Miller
28-Feb-2014, 15:48
Sorry if the rest of the world does not exist in your NYC stereotypes, Paul... but that's the way it is.

Sort of like the rest of the world does not exist in your uber-expensive SF stereotypes? As if all galleries have to fit that mold, or your mold.

Drew Wiley
28-Feb-2014, 16:33
The world ends at Denver. Everything east of that is flat. Don't want to fall off the edge.