Thursday, January 06, 2011

It's an Epidemic

Yesterday's post on people's rudeness in ignoring messages and emails prompted several Graces to share their horror tales in this realm.....

Grace J., artist extraordinaire, contracted with a gallery in another city to sell her work. The director did not display J.'s paintings, and did not plan an exhibit, nor did he seem to be doing much of anything on her behalf. She emailed him several times over a month period asking for updates and offering to assist with the sales in any way he deemed appropriate. She finally learned that he had suggested her paintings to two of his regular clients. They both liked the art but declined to buy and he felt that his work at that point was done. J. disagreed and emailed to ask for a phone meeting to discuss next steps and alternative strategies.

Gallery Director ignored the request and never responded to her email. It really made her want to , well, scream.

Ultimately, J. broke up with this gallery and is now carried by a more proactive and productive group--to date they have sold three pieces for her.

When ignored thus, What's a Grace To Do?

Grace J got it right. Send periodic 'check in' emails with inquiries on status and decreasingly gentle nudges to get moving. In each of these, offer to assist in any way possible. If nothing productive transpires, examine seriously whether you want to continue your affiliation. Then examine seriously any contract you may have entered, and make sure you can escape. Consult a lawyer if necessary. Before you jump ship, however, consider the why.

If the gallery director is simply not interested in promoting your work, preferring instead to flog the flavor of the month white on white with invisible bicycle tire artist phenom, then cut and run. If, however, there are extenuating circ's, well, Graces don't burn bridges. Unless, of course, they are being crossed by your ex, who, while you spent a loyal and celibate 4 months on a consulting job in Romania, consoled himself in the arms and company of someone named 'Bunny'. But I digress.

Reasons to stick it out--or at least have a little patience:
--the majority of regular clients were heavily invested with Bernie Madoff, and the Gallery is actively seeking alternative markets.
--unforeseen personal difficulties (illness, bereavement, etc.) Graces don't dump someone because he had to attend to his mother's funeral arrangements.
--unforeseen logistical challenges (shipping woes, leaks in gallery roof, computer crash).

Reasons to seek greener pastures:

--failed to distribute your press release because manicure was not dry.
--bereavement occurred 5 years ago.
--logistical challenges are chronic and costly--leak destroyed inventory, computer bugs repeatedly infect your computer, shipping label sent framed watercolor to North Dakota (ND) instead of New York (NY) more than once.

When you do decide to sever ties, be honest but not brutal. I am a firm believer in "you never know". This chap could seem like the worst agent in the world right now, but five years from now he might be the toast of the town and in a position to help you. You don't have to resort to "it' not you, it's me"; go with a simple version of "we don't seem to be a good fit" or "I am going to explore other avenues". Send a thank you for his efforts on your behalf and move on.

I've said it before but it bears repeating: sometimes it's tough to be a Grace.

Speaking of the art world, I got a chuckle out of the following spoof. The images toward the end of the clip are quite amusing. Enjoy.

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