An Artist's Take: Working with Galleries and Designers

Posted on 25 April 2017

Oh gosh, what can’t I say about this incredibly talented artist? She has been an award-winning artist at our annual ACA, Art Comes Alive Awards four times! (Psst, Artists entries for ACA are now open!) She is one my top sellers, and over the years she’s become a personal friend. I met her just five years ago through a friend who is an interior designer and was just blown away by her talent. (I couldn’t get over the fact that Lisa didn’t discover her talent as an artist until her thirties. And, boy, has she been making up for lost time ever since!)

For the past twenty years, she has painted hundreds of paintings spanning vast genres and mediums using countless techniques. What I love about Lisa is she is one of the most ethical and grounded artists I’ve ever worked with. She’s been extremely successful in her career, and I think it comes down to the way she has approached the business side of her art. She knows what she’s doing. And she understands how this business works and how an artist can thrive by working in it.

The Pillar of Art Careers Are Relationships

“Like most thriving relationships, a strong artist-designer relationship begins with initial mutual attraction,” Lisa says about finding the right people to represent her work. And I couldn’t agree more. Artists and gallerists have to have good chemistry. You need the person who is representing your work to be genuinely interested and passionate about your work. She adds, “The designers that look most alluring to artists are those who are genuinely busy; they have multiple designers on staff and continuous and multifarious projects. They are the ones repeatedly featured in local magazines and other media. Ideally, they will have a brick and mortar showroom as well as a polished online presence in which you can showcase some of your work.”


Dortmund by Lisa Schuster

Lisa also understands what we galleries or consultants need and knows how to best accommodate them, so they, in turn, can sell your work. She astutely notes, “From the gallerist’s perspective, they are looking for art that enhances rather than competes with other art they offer. They must like your artistic style and see it and you as adaptable. The more visible you are, the more awards and features you have received, the easier it is for a designer or gallery to establish your legitimacy and value to their clients.”

And we both agree on this: Communication is key. She says, “Once the relationship has been sparked it is all about communication and trust. Be physically and emotionally available. Answer your phone or email immediately. Remember they are usually under tight timelines and there are many other artists to choose from. Allow yourself to be vulnerable.” She also has great advice for artists who still take criticism personally: “If they like 80 percent of a work but want to change the other 20 percent don’t take it personally. It is a chance to grow, expand your box a bit, to flex your creativity. Be a good listener; take the time to get a real feel for the space and the designer’s vision.”

Procyan by Lisa Schuster

Lisa also knows the value of establishing trust between the artist and gallery or designer. She advises, “If you commit to a commission deadline, commit. Don’t make promises you can’t keep.” And like me, she understands the value of consistent pricing. “Make your pricing structure and terms clear upfront. If you meet their clients, make it very clear that you will never sell directly to their client, that you will always keep them in the loop. And then honor that commitment.” 

Reciprocity is Key

Her final, and I think the most important piece of advice, is to do your best as an artist to support and celebrate your relationship with a gallery or designer. She says, “Refer your clients to them. Reference them in any media attention that you receive. Like and share their Facebook, Instagram and Twitter posts.  Support their charities. And never underestimate their artistic sensibilities. Although they don’t have ‘artist’ on their cards, they usually are artists, just working in a different medium.”

            View all of Lisa's works on our art store

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Meet Litsa

Litsa Spanos – loving wife and mother of three – is an established art consultant, award-winning gallery owner, custom framer and educator. In this blog, Litsa shares with you her love for beautiful things. She will give you an exclusive look into the world of fine art and the artists who create it. She will also let you in on inspirational design ideas that are sure to give your home or office energy, warmth and reflect your own personal style.




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