Mindy Yanish, Owner, Offerings Gallery
What do artists have to know about working with retailers and gallery owners?
- Don’t think having friends and family like your work means you can succeed in selling to others on a regular basis.
- Know that being talented is not enough to be successful.
- Don’t treat all retailers or gallery owners the same; like artists, every retailer or gallery owner is unique and should be approached that way.
- Don’t assume the store or gallery owner doesn’t understand what it is to be an artist. Just because I own or run a store doesn’t mean I haven’t lived that struggle – in fact, I have and it’s been a double roller coaster.
- Don’t believe if you’re an artist you can’t be good at business. Operating a successful business is as creative as anything else you do in art. It’s a living thing like a painting, and you have to be very creative to make it work – the skills are very complementary.
- Realize that the relationship is not just about selling art – it’s much more than that. It’s collaboration between the store or gallery owner and the artist. The more I understand about you and your work, and the more I love it, the better I can translate and convey that to potential buyers.
- Understand that for the relationship to be successful there should be an emotional and I believe a spiritual connection between you and the person selling your work. Your work is much more than a physical product.
- Know I need to be able to convey information about your art and about you as an artist – art is part of a person’s soul, and if the artist realizes I’m not just a business person, and we connect, I can sell and speak about who they are in a meaningful way.
- The art world hasn’t to do with proximity (where you live), who refers you, or how much you sell. If you are producing art true to who you are, you are succeeding. You must, as an artist, do your most authentic work.
- Someone else can’t tell you how much you can get for your work. I can guide people, but it depends who you’re painting or creating your work for. Ask yourself: Who do you see as your audience? Are you doing it for the masses as a product, or are you creating for another type of buyer? How much time have you put in? What do you think your art is worth?
What, in addition to quality of work, makes you want to work with a new artist?
One word – Humility!
For me, that’s the sign of advanced art making. Once an artist thinks they’re past the point of accepting feedback and critique, then they’ve hit a wall and boxed themselves in. Those who are going to grow more are open to teaching.
How can an individual help you once her or she becomes one of your artists?
The artist should be willing and able to nurture the relationship with me through ongoing dialogue and communication as their work evolves. I want to know how and why that is happening.
This continues an exchange of ideas and keeps the relationship alive. It enriches both of us and lets me be part of the evolution of the person’s work. The artist’s authenticity must be heart-felt, and that can’t be faked. It’s about connection, not just the piece. Creativity is a gift you can’t own it.
Mindy Yanish is proprietor of Offerings Contemporary American Craft & Fine Art Gallery located in Katonah, New York north of New York City. Offerings specializes in local art as well as American hand-made jewelry and antiques, collectibles and contemporary fine crafts. Mindy holds a Master’s Degree in painting from the School of Visual Arts.