Using Artistic Talent Agencies

Promoting your artistic talent through talent agencies:

To get your artistic talent recognized, you need to get your work into galleries that have in-house agents who know how to promote your art in the media and attach the right investors. Or you could employ an agent that specializes in promoting artists and their work.

Sunset over marsh.

Elite galleries:

To get accepted into elite galleries you may even have to stand before a board of directors before your work is accepted. The directors often consist of major investors or a selective group of artists.

Their commission is about 40-70 percent, depending on how much and what type of promoting they do, their status and milieu district.

If your art is unknown to art dealers ten-to-one your paintings won’t be hung, but left in the gallery’s back room until they have done some cautious research on you and your marketability. On the other hand it may be reserved in the back room for particular clients’ perusal.

It is up to you to find out what is happening with your art in galleries, if it’s been viewed or promoted in any way. Some gallery don’t know how to or not interested in promoting artists in the media. If your paintings aren’t selling in a gallery remove it straight away and find a more suitable venue. If your art is really good, you want a gallery owner that is really impressed and believes in your talent. Lukewarm attitude never sells a painting!

Private talent agencies:

These guys are generally home based and travel around the country selling to investors and getting consignments into galleries. Their commission depends on assignment contracts, their travelling and accommodation costs.

Your frames can possibly be damaged in transit. The damage rate is higher than shop based galleries. Some agents are not trustworthy. A genuine agent will have insurance and protection coverage and he will keep you informed about peoples’ responses, commissions and sales.

Investment art dealers have strict elite establishments. I smile when I think of one opulent bachelor agent who not only had a secretary but even a snooty butler to fend off lesser artists and clientele!

First off they’ll judge your work against contemporary standards. Secondly your work must have distinct unique style. Why, because people will pay more for your exclusive style. It is your hallmark. If your technique is easily recognizable, people tend to say, “That’s a — (the name of the artist) painting!”

Talent scouts:

In some countries galleries think it worthwhile sending out talent scouts to look for new exciting fresh talent. They know both the gallery and the artist benefit from the use of talent scouts.

Talent scouts attend exhibits, seminars and travel rummaging and ferreting out information about artists. Some even look out for talent at root level to grow future talent. They encourage schools to exhibit, give guidance and advice to possible up and coming generations of artists.

The scouts then report back at least once a week to the gallery. This way the gallery owner gets to know what potential is out there. To keep the business running they must `have their finger on the pulse’ in all areas if they want to be first on new trends, instead of `riding on other people’s second-hand wagons’.


Some artists think their work is sent to the grave when it lands up in a museum, but they forget a greater number of people are likely to see your work there. Children are taken there as part of their education, tourists go there and people like to use it as a meeting place or idle away the hours there.

It’s an endorsement of the value of your work. Also in symbolic terms a narrative and cultural contribution to society. In the long-term, ie the time it hangs there, means your talent will be revered many centuries.

And artists go to museums to learn technique from the masters. That’s what I did as a youngster. Every time I was in town and had spare time before catching the train home, I would wonder around from room to room, relishing in each painting. And then stand or sit down in front of a chosen painting for that particular day and scrutinize each and every brushstroke, how they composed the composition, what colour scheme they used, etc. I learnt such a lot from those great masters. At one time (while still at school) one of my paintings hung in that Durban central museum due to a competition held by the educational department. It was very inspiring. My love of art grew from those experiences.

Club venues:

If artists want to start an art club they need to club together, pool resources and share exhibits to reduce overhead costs.

There are different types of art clubs:

1)  Exclusive gallery: This is where 6-16 professional artists get together and set up a gallery in a prestigious position in an affluent district. Prospective artists are interviewed and their work assessed by the initial board members to see if they fit in with the existing members.

2)  Watercolourists Societies: Each month members attend demonstrations done by other artists. As to exhibits, your work is judged before each exhibit and a selection is picked from entries. Traditionally no opaque pigments are allowed. Commission fees on exhibit sales are dependent on the overheads of the venue.

3)  Art class exhibits are an incentive for member students to attend regularly. The teacher asks for an additional fee towards renting exhibit venues. A good time for exhibits is during a cultural festival or librarian cultural week in the local civic centre.

4)  Open-market studios: Artists get together and rent a hall or empty factory space, on a regular basis. At the race track or a public through-fare, where the general public can view them at work. Each artist has his or her own stall where they can display their work framed or unframed. The venue should have good natural lighting and good parking facilities.

5)  Community meander: A group of artists living within a certain area get together and provide a communal map pamphlet and submit it to the regional tourist board. The artists must make their homes and studios interesting and fascinating, to make it a worthwhile visit by tourists.

6)  Exotic venue: You can integrate the above to suit your milieu and environmental conditions. This market complex venue has more than one avenue of art promotion and types of trading facilities. Where a group or community of artists provide different experiences where the public can easily meander from shop to shop. For example: possible tourist trading during the day, refreshment centre and club for artists, seminars and night art classes, and even close by accommodation for country location fieldwork.


  • Do you have talent scouts in your country? What do you think could be done more to find unknown artists with exceptional talent?
  • How young artists are taught art and inspired in your country? Do local artists go to schools and demonstrate their personal techniques?
  • What has been your personal experience as a young artist? What inspired you?
  • How do artists get together in your community? What is so special or effective in your `market place’

Hope you find my art blogs informative and interesting. For more advice on getting your art sold, check out the Art & Fame page.

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