Saturday, 25 August 2007

Sliding Doors

Last night I was propositioned. Nothing unusual in that. It happens occasionally..... enough to make life interesting anyway. But this was different. Not a sexual proposition - but a business one........

A guy I met for the first time a couple of weeks ago and have not seen since, has offered to go into a business partnership with me. He's willing to invest a lot of money into building up my art business, promoting it and backing me as an artist. He knows, as well as I do, that I'm not going to sell my work in the area I live in, I need to go to London, Birmingham or Manchester - where the big money is, and the people who have the inclination to buy my sort of erotic art go. He's talking about a showroom, where people can visit and where I can exhibit my art properly. And his offer has come at exactly the right time - I've been looking for a good gallery for a while, one that is suitable to my needs, where they can promote my art and I can get a good price for my art, which I know is good, and has appeal to a wide audience. But if I go to a large gallery, they will ask a high percentage commission on my art - I'll be lucky to get 30% of the value they sell it at, my framing costs will also soar and I may get less money than if I sell my art privately. This has always been a problem for me - do I sell my art though a prestigious gallery and get less for it, but get fame and acclaim, or do I stay private and reach a smaller audience but keep a higher percentage of the proceeds? Plus there's my website to consider - technically I'm advertising to the world on it, and although my work resides in other European countries and the USA, I'm not known, as yet, as an international artist. I want to reach a wider audience. If I open my own showroom, I would be doing that and I would be taking the profits (or losses) and would be able to reach a richer audience perhaps, but would they be willing to spend the large amounts a venture like this would need to be profitable?

This businessman is willing to invest a lot of money in me, but he also wants a large slice out of it - he's in business after all, and that is to be expected. But do I go with him and invest a lot of money and maybe make a huge pile of money with his backing, or possibly even lose a lot through unforeseen bad decisions, or do I carry on as I am, slowly building up my business, pushing my work through the channels that are interested, and selling well enough to keep a steady income, but not necessarily a vast one. Or even keep on looking and maybe another offer better than this will appear around an unsuspected corner. Or is this as good as it gets? Should I snap his hand off and get him signed up before he changes his mind? I have to consider all angles, and run the two scenarios as parallel universes - as in the film Sliding Doors - one of these open doors leads to success and the other leads to ignominy - but which is which?

14 comments:

RONJAZZ said...

Jackie, honey, if you are soliciting suggestion, I hope you don't mind this one...TAKE IT.

The idea is to invest at the beginning in as much as you feel you can part with. Get your art, your experience, your name in the contemporary annals. If it takes more than one show, okay. Your responsibility is to put your own Jackie out there, and if someone will back you up...we'll, I wish I had someone like that for my writing and acting.

THEN...

You show your rebel cause and OPEN YOUR OWN GALLERY. In London. If you have an interest, get a couple of other peers to show their work along with yours. YOU control the costs, YOU show what you want to show. I'm convinced that the artist's best move is to find that way to be in charge of their own fate. If you have a fellow spirit who wants to help you financially, hell, talk to THEM about the idea.

I'm enthused. It offers three different goals for you: notoreity, opportunity and independence. Keep us posted.

Jackie Adshead said...

Ronjazz - I'm always happy to listen to advice - particularly from people who have some knowledge and experience on the subject Ron, so I'm grateful for your help on this. I agree that its best for an artist to be in charge of their own fate but not sure if there will be a catch in this that doesn't keep me independent. I've been thinking heavily about his offer since he made it and need to be sure of every aspect of it before I make any decision to go forward with him.

Lucy Felthouse said...

I don't blame you for being cautious Jackie. I'm naturally not very trusting, and I admit I've probably missed a couple of opportunities myself because I've held back - but I think you should go for it. You have everything else in your life sorted, why shouldn't you have fame and fortune too?x

Luka said...

I have no advice to offer on this one, as only you know what your gut instincts are telling you is right for you. Whatever you decide it bodes well that you have someone who wants to invest!

Jackie Adshead said...

Lucy - Fame and Fortune would be lovely, but it depends what the price is! That's why I need to think carefully about it.

Jackie Adshead said...

Luka - my gut instincts are pulling me in different directions at the moment! And yes, whichever decision I make, it does bode well that someone wants to invest a lot of money in me.

Cherrie said...

Here's what concerns me: will this man exhibit any control over your choice of subjects or technique, or your pace of painting? We all know art should not be rushed to enhance a quarterly financial statement, or to pay the rent.

And who will own the copyright to your works? If he does, where will he sell them? Would you be comfortable with his decisions?

I'd investigate this opportunity, certainly, but move slowly and carefully to make sure the result is to your liking. Money is good, but is it worth selling out your independence as an artist?

Jackie Adshead said...

Cherrie - He won't exert any control over my choice of subject matter or technique but he may affect the pace at which I produce paintings.

I retain copyright for all my artworks unless I choose to sell it.

I'm not sure if I would be happy with his decisions or can trust him enough to make the right plans for me. I won't be making any hasty decisions about this, certainly.

And you're right about being cautious about selling my independence for the sake of money.

hornymaleuk said...

Jackie
I don't know much about the world of art, but I see many studios that don't seem to make much money (if any). Having said that, it's a very interesting and tempting proposition.
However, you need to look at it coldly as a business venture. Be realistic and even pessimistic about the costs and sales. Only invest as much as you can afford to lose.

Jackie Adshead said...

Hornymaleuk - thanks for your good words of advice. I agree that it is a very interesting and tempting proposition and that I need to look at the worse case scenario as much as the proposed magnificent highs. As far as investing as much as I can afford to lose - if I feel that I'm going to lose anything on the deal then its not the deal I want!

Sage said...

I think that it really depends on what you want or need the most right now. Only you know what is best for you at this time. But personally, I think that you should do your own thing - controlling everything yourself to reach the audience that you want, with the work that you want to do, in the pace that you want to do it. If you can afford it financially on your own, I would go that route. But, that is just what I would do. And, Cherrie has a valid point about being careful what you are signing. You can always make a counteroffer to try to get the deal more to your liking. I am imagine it is probably not a take-it-or-leave-it situation...or is it?

Jackie Adshead said...

Sage - I didn't get the impression that its a take it or leave it type offer and its also a first offer so it may well be adjusted either way when I next speak to him.

As regarding what I want - I know exactly what I want, I'm just not fully sure the route to take to get to it!

And I do know control of my work and my own destiny is very important to me too!

Indigo said...

My advice is tread carefully! There's got to be a catch some where...

Jackie Adshead said...

Indigo - Thanks for your advice - and I think the same as you, there's a catch in his offer. I just haven't fully worked out how big yet!