So you want to be a dealer well you’ve got to know how to deal, you got to know how wheel and deal.
You’ve got to be a lot of things to be an art dealer one of the main things you will need is a ruthless attitude. It’s really important to note an art dealer is NOT an art manager they are basically opposites the only thing they have in common is that they both think a particular artist is very talented and worth trying to sell. This guide is about art dealing I will do another on managing artist too as I’ve done both the first part of this guide is how to make money as an artist this is part two of 4.
So, you want to know how mafia works?:
Being a dealer is pretty simple on paper you buy low sell high simple enough right? Well, not quite the first method of being a dealer is really easy other than for the fact you’re going to need about 100k to get started. This way of dealing goes something like this you go to auctions, private views and get in touch with galleries with good connections and stock. So, you buy your artwork from an auction you get a pretty good deal now how do you sell it? Well, remember that gallery we got a good relationship with they might be interested they may even have a client lined up.
This can work in reverse too so you might see a gallery with a great work of art and have the perfect person to buy it in that case as you’re a dealer you can work out a great price for your client with the gallery and some commission for you.
The main reason why art dealing isn’t done by everyone is you need to know a person who is interested in buying art at a high price. Being a dealer is pretty high risk if you are indeed buying the work in the manner set out above. A less risky but still difficult way you could go about it is going to all the student art shows and finding that special one in a million artist, offer to buy their work at as low cost as possible if they have never sold before they will take anything over 150 but normally you can go lower.
Do this a few times gather yourself a collection of good art that cost you next to nothing when you sell it for as much as you can to a person gallery or any way you can make a profit. This way of dealing as the drawback of making you an arsehole as you are basically ripping off the artist and selling for the highest price you can without giving them anything. Remember though you are still helping the artist you’ve created what is called a secondary market for that artist which means you have increased their value to whatever you sold the work for. You’re still an ok person and an incredibly important part of the art market process.
What to look for:
This is the hard part; what art should you be looking out for, well that is down to you just like stock traders read FT you need to stay on the cutting edge of the art market news who is winning prizes this year, who is the paper talking about? These are things you should always be watching. In the end, your selling a product for you it just comes down to is there a demand for this kind of art if the answer is yes and you think you can reach that demand then buy it and try and sell it on.
As an art dealer, you are not trying to change art or create the next Andy Warhol you’re just trying to make money. To be a great art dealer you’ve got to think of the artist as commodity production artwork as a commodity and every even mildly rich person you meet as a buyer.
As a dealer you may be called upon to find an artwork that no one else can this is a great gig as it requires a lot of work but the pay off can be huge. You get to set whatever price you wish on top of the price you find it at as the client is looking for only this artwork. How to find an artwork? Easy check Artnet for artwork that is close or by the same artist then call that gallery and start your journey there, rinse and repeat until you find it.
Bonus tip: when selling artwork to married couple your target audience should always be the person who takes on the wife role(2019 in’it) they decide what goes on the walls of the home.