There’s a time in your art career when you start to wonder about art collectors.
When I visit a gallery, I try avoid looking like an artist and attempt to take on the behavior of a collector. I am easily annoyed when a gallery dismisses you for a sale just because you are an artist! Thus why I “pretend”. Many of the people I know are avid art collectors and have filled their walls with art from artists surrounding Medicine Hat. It annoys me when people in our region do not support local art and buy from places they think are important art communities. I guess the ultimate goal for me is to be represented by a couple of galleries; one in my city and a few outside my region. When I travel I attend galleries for both exposure to new art and to see if I can figure out how the painting was done. I also watch the staff interact with the customers and observe the type of art hung in the space to see if my art would be a good fit.
It’s a little bit of a mystery to me “who” is the typical art collector. My friend Annette said that there are definitely a lot of art collectors in Medicine Hat…..she advised that sales take time; collectors like to see your work out and about, recognize your name and get to know you as a person. So, how do I do this I ask? I go to the same art openings, attend gallery shows at the Esplanade, and belong to art groups. My only guess is that they are hiding.
Probably for good reason.
Other than some family members and friends I know, art collectors in Medicine Hat are discreet people. I can say I have not encountered too many of them. It’s like the short, 60 second clip on CBC’s “Canada’s Hinterland” that announces a certain animal in their habitat – “the collector is a species which roams from gallery to gallery during the afternoon or at art openings. They can usually be found inspecting work in a dark corner without the artist looking. The collector can lurk where you are not expecting them and often will have their lifetime partner and young with them for protection”.
People I think that would most likely collect art, actually do not. I am perpetually surprised to find out who collects and the the type of art collected. Money seems to play a part, but not always.
I have observed and have practiced downtown being a non-artist. As I have noted from my little red table down at Inspire Studio & Cafe, the typical non-artist collector walks into the gallery, smiles at the staff, and then surveys the entire gallery at once. When something catches his or her attention, the collector will proceed toward that one piece for a closer look. You often see them standing back about four feet to really get a feel for the piece; to see if they can live with the painting. I always thought that the collector would want to know all the details about a painting….but realize most don’t care about how it was painted. If they like it, they like it! If a painting strikes a chord, you can see they will then look at the price tag.
My search for art collectors in Medicine Hat continues! I will still keep on visiting galleries as part of my weekly ritual here in Medicine Hat and wherever I travel. When I find another gallery to represent me, then I will be able to spot one that can do a good job of selling and showing my work.
If you have a suggestion for my journal about art, please feel free to contact me at the link below.