Tania Dibbs

The Artist/Gallery Relationship

Newspapers are dead but there is still a need for news. Likewise in art the era of the traditional artist gallery relationship seems to be evolving.

I think artists and galleries still need one another but I am not sure what the new paradigm is going to be. The fact remains that artist don’t like selling their artwork so we still need someone to sell and we still need to show people that we are represented and that dealers believe in us, and we still need to spread the reach of our work. It seems like galleries once were expected to promote artists’ careers, but so many galleries now take their 50% for the wall space alone.  Whether or not this is acceptable to the artist depends largely on where the artist is  in their career.

My husband and I were recently in Toronto where we stayed up late to attend Nuit Blanch – an all night outdoor installation fair. The execution of the event left a lot to be desired but the buzz on the street and the participation was incredible.  I saw many of the Pacific Standard Time exhibits in Los Angeles last year, and we have forged through the overstimulation of Art Basel and it’s related shows. My favorite part of Burning Man was the art installations, which are paid for in advance by donations and created each year for the fair. Though these are not “sales events” per se, they are all group happenings focused around art and creativity.

What will be the new directions for  buying and selling art? In what venue are you comfortable acquiring art? Have you purchased art from a fair, or online, or from an agent or are you more comfortable purchasing from a gallery? How does the place from which you purchase the work affect how you perceive the work?

I would love to hear your thoughts.







  1. Hi Tania – Your blog speaks to anyone who is a skilled practitioner. We all struggle with selling our products.

    Selling and creating are two very different full time jobs. With respect to artists, a friend has created a different approach for selling art. She has developed a network of galleries and other non-traditional venues for showing art.

    For an upfront fee, she organizes events and showings at these different locations for her artists. If a piece of art sells, she gets a commission that is much smaller than what galleries charge.

    She has given her artists the chance to have their art shown in venues and locations that they never could have managed or organized on their own. She has helped many artists make their first real sales, even in a down economy.

    The catch is for the artist to understand the effort, time and expense that it takes to sell, promote, and develop a market. Up front fees are not the norm for selling art. Yet, having someone other than yourself out talking up your work, believing in you and organizing events is extremely valuable. It allows the artist to focus on what they do best.

    I own one of Tania’s paintings and have admired her work for many years. I own a small business and am also an author. I struggle with this dilemma in my own field and would be happy to offer any additional insight, just send me an email.

    Below are my friends websites.


    1. Thanks Steve. How does Suzanne get her gallery and client contacts? Was she in a different aspect of the art business before? Does she focus on entry level artists? It might be interesting for her to talk about this a little. Thank you for the comments!

  2. I own quite of few of Tania’s works, many are from her early works, ceramics as well as paintings, and I love seeing the transformations her art goes through.

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