Saturday, September 12, 2020

On Referral Commissions

Artists and art dealers should always remember this rule (especially in a small town such as the Greater DC area is): You reap what you sow. 

A few years ago, a well-known DMV area curator emailed me to let me know that she had referred to me a collector who was looking for figurative drawings. 

The usual referral commission in the business of art is 25%, so I emailed her back and asked to verify that percentage and she did. The collector then came to my studio (a.k.a. the laundry room of my house) and bought a couple of drawings, and I immediately sent the curator a check for her commission. 

She then emailed me back a few days later and thanked me for my promptness.

Conversely, a while back a couple of different curators approached me asking for help in finding some artists for a specific acquisition project. I spent some time with each one of them, and then gave them a list of artists, as well as the artists' contact information. 

I then contacted those artists and/or their gallery dealer, and told them that I was referring curator so-and-so to them in order for the curator to view and possibly purchase work from them. 

There were about 15-20 artists that I referred and who were then contacted by the curators of these two separate projects. 

Some of the artists are represented by us, and thus they know (because our contract is very clear on that issue) what a referral commission is. Several of the other artists (whom are not represented by us, or in some cases by any other gallery) emailed me to thank me for the referral, and subsequently even a few of them emailed me to let me know that the curators had purchased artwork. 

Some never even emailed or contacted me to thank me for the referral, but most did. So far only one of those artists has asked what our referral commission is, and I am sure that if/when a sale is made, that the gallery will get a check for that commission from that one artist. 

Let's see what happens with the rest of them... you reap what you sow.