Art sales?


El Framo

We have been a frame shop/art gallery for over twenty five years. In the past five years we have seen our art market slide off considerably. Three years ago, we began offering mostly original artwork, and that worked great for about 18 mos. So, my question is this, how are art sales going in other parts of the country? I know that due to the still sluggish economy, I can expect sluggish sales, but enough is enough already. My babies need shoes.

Limited Editions are way down.
Originals are also down but not as bad.
Posters have increased, but not great.

We have alot invested in Art Work. What is going on?

I'm sure the internet has alot to do with it.
Originally posted by El Framo:
We have been a frame shop/art gallery for over twenty five years. In the past five years we have seen our art market slide off considerably...
We, too, have been around for this long. Aside from our own gallery, we've dealt with many, many others over the years.

Although there are many exceptions to every rule, and at the risk of sounding self-serving, here's what we've found:

"Galleries" which carry "limited editions" from the big, mainstream publishers have seen their markets die a slow and painful death.

The shops which seem to do well are ones who carry truly unique works - works that are not readily available in so many hundreds of competing shops...

As a printmaker, I'd love to say that the fact that the art is "original" is the main factor. I hate to say it, but this is not the case, although it does help. It is the unique nature of the work or, at least, the perceived unique nature which is most important, not necessarily that it is original art...

We've seen this scenario, first-hand, a number of times: a beautiful (!!!) gallery go out of business - a gallery which carryied all the beautiful mainstream publishers' reproductions, sculptures etc. Shortly thereafter, another gallery will open in the same location, or a few doors down and thrive selling unique works of art and or craft. The difference in sales figures can be staggering.

Taste in "art" varies from region to region. Having said that, if you can get together a unique line of work, a propos to your clientelle, I suspect you'll be far further ahead than flogging the same slick limited edition posters to which everyone else has access.

Choosing appropriate art and artists is not an easy process. If it were, there would be many more highly successful galleries around. When it comes to art, not every client is a Wal-Mart shopper.

Best of luck with your shoe shopping! ;)
Printmaker, you are absolutely right on target, if it is different, it will sell. Unique styles and sizes will make a huge difference, as will subjects and the type of framing.

Not to many people are feeling wealthy right now, for them to part with their money, it has to be something truly special.

We are lucky if we sell ten prints a year now, and I have a lot of prints, it's frustrating. The only "art" we are selling on a regular basis are original paintings.

We were an art gallery that started framing a year ago because of weak art sales. We only carry original works and some Giclee prints but only prints by the artists we represent.

Publisher's prints don't work in our high-end Palm Beach market. We try to offer unique art by mostly local and well known/connected artists.

Our sales this season have been better than last year but if it wasn't for the framing we do we'd be out of business...the framing operation is currently paying the (very expensive) basic rent/phone/electric bills.

With the economy the way it is I think that it is almost impossible to predict what will happen next. We just keep "dancin' as fast as we can"!

If the bad guys don't blow anything up and the economy improves, maybe next year will be "our year"!
The local artists tell us that in the New Mexico area, art sales are down across the board - from originals to prints.

What we're seeing come through the door for framing are older pieces pulled out of storage and reframing older documents, photographs, and collectibles. We're not seen nearly as much original artwork come through as we did a year ago.

It seems like we're all in the same ship. If it weren't for framing, we'd be goners as well.
All I've been selling is erotica. Originals and open edition prints. (available ONLY through the Unseen Gallery!)

Oh, and exclusive art on note cards is moving. Everything else is gathering dust, but it's the slow season.
Originally posted by El Framo:

It seems like we're all in the same ship. If it weren't for framing, we'd be goners as well.
From what we've seen over the years, this is certainly not a new trend.

We used to deal with quite a few frame shop/galleries. Art sales in most, dried up slowly but surely.

Today, we deal primarily with a few select fine art and fine art & craft galleries. The "worst" of these, in its worst year sell more artwork than the best of our former frame shop/galleries, during their best years.

Location has much to do with this. Needless to say, it is not as simple as merely choosing the right location...

Their respective success, amongst other things, has resulted from a shrewd insight into what their clientelle responds to, as well as to what their "potential clientelle" (!!!) would respond.

They do not "dabble" in their choice of art, but have made a huge commitment to its promotion and sale. This is not an easy task...

It would seems far easier to promote "known artists" from the "big publishers" - publishers who have already put the bucks into promoting their stable of artists into "known commodities".

It seems that, unfortunately, making money off these "commodities" is as solid an investment as the stock market has been, for most of us, as of late.

Just one person's observations.