“Hard work over talent”, was one of the advises that gallerist Sasha Wolf gave in today’s inspirational lecture. Sasha currently owns the Sasha Wolf Gallery in Tribeca, New York, which primarily focuses on photography, her obsession, more specifically on post-documentary photography. She explained how there are some very talented artists that haven’t made it because they do not know how to promote themselves, while other not so talented artists have gotten very far because of hard work, networking, and connections.
Sasha shared with us some very refreshing, and down to earth advises during her lecture. She spoke with an educational and straight the the point perspective, from a gallerist to an artist. She opened with a clear statement on how gallerists are not corporations, and explained that sometimes artists are intimidated by gallerists because of this notion. She stressed out that gallerists are simply persons, (yes, just like you and me!), and that we as artists should not be so intimidated to approach them with a correct and polite attitude.
Sasha explained to us how difficult it is for an artist to make a living out of only creating art. She says that there are millions of artists in the world, and very few collectors that are willing to buy art. So she strongly encourages artists to get a day job, one that you will enjoy doing. She says that this doesn’t make you a lesser artist, and that you should find a way to do them both. She believes that sometimes an artist could feel scared of creating art when they are economically unstable, so they do better art when they can pay the rent and put some food on the table.
Some advises from Sasha to artists are:
Set an alarm!
Have due dates.
Continue getting into this habit, even if there is nobody over your shoulder! Find someone in your life that will help you stick with this. You must stick to your goals and get them done. This is your job.
As a gallerist, she is not attracted to small sized post cards she receives in the mail, because she thinks that the work presented simply gets lost. So if the artists wants to send post cards, she encourages sending oversized ones (5×7 inches for example) with your work and very simple graphics.
As far as pricing a photograph for a gallery, she mentioned three key elements that determine the price:
1. The costs of creating the piece, both the materials and the time it took for the artist to create it.
2. The cost of maintaining a gallery, and the cost of making a show.
3. How much the market is willing to pay.
She also says to never assume who the collector is, because one never knows who will end up buying your photograph. Many times the buyer simply falls in love with the piece for different reasons, and even if they don’t have the money to pay for it at the moment, they will be willing to save some up to invest in it. She reminded us that collectors are also persons like you and me, and feel emotionally attached to a piece when they buy it.
The lecture completely shook me and was a wake up call to smell reality. We have to get our work out there! We have to promote ourselves! Sasha strongly believes in artists who create good work, and wants them to succeed.
“Shoot on whatever you want, print on whatever you want, just make good work.” – Sasha Wolf.
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