Being Paid as an Artist, Part 2

February 3, 2010

Okay, so a recap of yesterdays post:

1.  Know the value of your work, communicate the price without apology.

2. You are the expert on your work and how it’s valued comes from you.

3.  You are enough.

So let’s say you’ve done the things listed above and a gallery still isn’t paying you for your work in a timely fashion or you’re only receiving partial payments.  What do you do?

My first question as a potential advocate for your best interest would be: is there a contract? If so, does it stipulate how and when you’ll be paid?

If not why not?

This is where a contract protects you.  If someone sends me a contract, I always look for the information outlining how and when I’ll be paid.  If it isn’t in there I’ll put it in.  Yeah, you can do that!   A contract is not something that is imposed on you for the benefit of the one sending you the contract.  A contract is supposed to be an an agreement that outlines what each party gets out of the deal.  It’s your job to make sure that you’re getting something out of the deal to your satisfaction and that it is in the contract otherwise, what is the point?  The contract is your chance to protect yourself and your best interest.  A contract can be negotiated, too, but that’s a whole ‘nother thing.

So a contract should always have the following points:

1.  All parties involved listed

2.  what each party is doing in this mutual agreement to create such an agreement (i.e. gallery will exhibit/sell the work; artist will supply 10 paintings in 1 year, etc.)

3.  artist will be paid within 30 days of work being sold, %50 (or whatever) of the sales price, OR artist will be paid when commission percentage reaches $50 or more and within 14 days and so on.

Without a contract that states this sort of info it is difficult to have a claim that you’re not getting paid what you should.

Each of these points can be adjusted or negotiated but be realistic.  If a gallery has the same terms for all of their artists, making yourself the one artist that has different or demanding terms can cause you to be viewed as difficult,  so be realistic.   Make it a mutually beneficial arrangement the way it should be.  Galleries work hard to sell your work, don’t treat them like the enemy.


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