As Kenneth Yarus and Richie Carter prepare to head to Great Falls, MT to exhibit at the Out West Art Show alongside Nate Closson during the annual Western Art Week celebration, we take the time to talk about the art business. Often considered an oxymoron by artists, the fact remains that it is a business, albeit an unusual and subjective one, and those who do not treat it like a business or don’t have someone to take care of that side of it for them will have a hard time surviving as a professional full-time artists.
More often than not, in the western art world at least, art collectors are buying a personality, a story and/or a brand. This means that the most successful artists tend to be personable and capable of socializing and networking at major art events like gallery openings and museum sales. In my experience, artists in the eastern US market tend to focus primarily on providing plenty of work to galleries and allowing art industry professionals to do the marketing and sales side, preserving their mystique and eccentricity. This is a luxury few western artists can afford, perhaps because of less concentrated populations and money, so most of the successful artists I know have a business manager (often a spouse or family member).