I recently was fortunate enough to listen to a presentation given by Annika Bennett, a highly experience Artist Agent, Art Dealer and Art Management consultant. Annika Bennett studied a Bachelor of Business at Victoria university, and then went on to study a Bachelor in Photography in England before seeking out an internship with an Artist Agent. Within a few years she was running the company that had employed her, and eventually decided to start her own company in competition, which has blossomed over years of hard work. Annika current manages A+E Art Gallery in Napier, New Zealand.
After describing what her job description entails, Annika spoke a lot about professionalism, which is very relevant for this time in my studies. Here are some keys points I took away from the presentation.
-When presenting ones self to a dealer gallery and/or artist agent, keep it short and sweet, a link to a website is vital in this day and age and if your website is not up to date and professional, don’t bother using it, the first impression the Artist Dealer will have will not be a good one, and first impressions are key. Annika also spoke about a list of do’s and don’t’s, this information was relatively straight forward and obvious, however it was helpful hearing it straight from a professional.
-“Under promise, over deliver”. It is important not to exaggerate the truth, letting down a client and wasting their time. This is not good for one reputation and could potentially damage your career. It is always best to promise less and deliver more.
-Don’t be afraid to seek the expertise of others, this includes legal advice/accountants, industry bodies, tax specialists or financial advisors, public institutes, community forums etc. Sometime it is a lot more beneficial to have a “team” of people under your belt who are looking out for your best interest and may specialize in something that can help you communicate your creative vision.
-Professional images should be used always when presenting ones work online or on a business card,. If the images are unprofessional the dealer is likely to discard your work after the first impression that you present work sloppily. Also the correct terminology is very important.
-If given the chance to work under a professional artist as an intern or studio assistance, it is a fantastic idea. Annika stressed that this is the most efficient way of learning and gaining experience and highly recommended pursuing this.
Overall the presentation was very informational and helpful. When presenting ones self, in any of the various way’s to a potential employer/gallery it is very necessary to treat it with the upmost respect and importance, after all, your work is your business.