Artists without gallery representation

Are you aware of any full-time professional artists working in our part of the art world who do not rely on gallery representation, but rather sell directly to their collectors? I heard that Daniel Sprick did this for a while… curious about others.


That’s a great question Jeffery. I don’t know of anyone personally but I will ask around.


I am doing it on my own, out of choice. Although not located in the US, most of my work sells there.


Lorena, can you elaborate more as to your specific model of navigating the art world sans-gallery. I know a few people that do it with very varied models and am sure that everyone here (including myself) would find it extremely informative.

I remember a lecture from a visiting artist when I was attending the Schuler School in Baltimore. He was a very skilled artist (although I cannot remember his name). He spoke about a sans-gallery (customer-direct) model that he opted for. He did do quite well with art-fairs and expos but he stated that the trade-off was obviously less time at the actual easel. Do you find that your game plan allows for the time you would like for creating new work?

Thanks so much!!!



Hi Lorena, I’d be very interested in hearing as many details about your business model as you would care to share with us. Thanks! Jeff


I don’t really have a model, as such… No formula, no secret, just lucky. So I’m not sure I can contribute to this thread…

After decades of dreaming of getting representation at a top gallery & naively believing that all galleries always take their job of selling seriously, I noticed I sold more work myself than through my galleries & exhibitions. When all my regular galleries (not top level, but in great cities & locations) closed their doors one after the other, I decided it was ridiculous to continue pursuing that same path. I know that unless an artist gets seriously supported & heavily promoted by a gallery, the work just sits there gathering dust. In my case, living in Europe, it means I not only invest in making artwork, but also pay for shipping at least one way. At a crossroads in my life (about 5 years ago) I decided to change my focus on just making the best work I am capable of & not waste time in seeking something that may not even exist—that dream we all have to just paint while someone else takes care of business.

Fortunately, over the years I’ve gathered a nice list of collectors (all walks of life & financial backgrounds) who buy, some come back regularly or introduce my art to others. Sometimes this leads to commissions. Many of them I’ve met through happenstance, through my partner (who’s in technology), via the internet & social media (I’m currently only on FB). Basically I just publish my work, send out a newsletter twice a year, participate in exhibitions (juried or invitational), but don’t do much else. I’m not into art-fairs or anything that involves talking to others. Late last year I decided to take out an ad in American Art Collector because I had a good year & thought well, I’ll invest back into myself… that investment brought me exactly zero inquiries. That’ll teach me! I just need to not do those things & let it all be… follow my instincts.

It helps of course that I am financially independent, so I don’t sweat it if I don’t sell something in a certain month. My art sells in batches, much like the waves of the ocean… selling 3, 4, 5 pieces one month & then a couple of months nothing. It may also help that I wrote a big fat book on acrylics, which gave me international name recognition. I don’t know… It also helps I don’t have much ego, in the sense that I’m thoroughly grounded & am not seeking immortality, fame, name, legacy, or whatever you want to call it. I just want to do what I’m good at & sell my art to those who really love having it. I don’t enjoy negotiating, I don’t like dealing with people who aren’t direct. I don’t want to convince someone to buy art, I want them to want it. In fact, last year I talked someone out of buying a piece because he was buying it for all the wrong reasons (that was a first).

So for now I’m good without gallery representation. This, of course, may well change because life is full of changes. But right now I’m really content with my path & see no immediate reason to want more or do things differently. I get tempted, yes, like when I placed that stupid ad. I’ve read so many books on the business of art sales. It’s all just sooo boring! Just let me go back to my brushes in my own little universe. I’m happy where I am. Sorry, no enlightenment to give except just follow your gut feelings & instinct & do what feels right for you. All our paths are different, so we all need to figure out our own solutions.


Thank you Lorena, that is extremely helpful. It seems like successful careers always exist in tension between The Plan and being open to things as they unfold. Oh… and your work is beautiful and I look forward to seeing more of it!


Thank you, Jeffrey! I’m not sure what I said was helpful at all, but glad if it inspires you to follow your path! Thank you for the kind words, I’m amazed at your small format work, it’s exquisite! Little gems! Thoughts on format: Everybody, including mentors, recommended I work on grand scale, as befits traditional photorealism. I did exactly the opposite, completely based on gut feeling & comfort level, doing smaller pieces that give me a sense of intimacy with my work that I so love. Mine fit in normal homes, in little corners, places where people live with art. That’s where I want them to live. :slight_smile:


Now that’s an interesting subject - I think we’ve all gotten the advice to do huge work. I’d really love to see trustworthy numbers about how active the market is for larger pieces vs smaller ones. I have done (and sold) some larger pieces - like 20x50 inches - but I’ve never done anything truly big, and haven’t been convinced yet that it would be a project worth doing.


Thank you Lorena for what truly is an extremely insightful and inspirational post. I’m sure that it will help and inspire much more than you realize!



Thanks Jeffrey & Anthony for your kind reactions. If there’s one thing I always aim for it is to inspire others to dance to their own tune. I don’t believe there’s just one right way of doing things & shudder away from dogmatic thinking (in all areas). :wink:


p.s: Just read this article entitled Common Misconceptions Artists Have About Galleries in which gallerists explain some misconceptions. See if anybody can spot the glaring contradictions. :wink:

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That’s an interesting article and it’s good to see their point of view, though I’m guessing from the somewhat defensive tone of the writing, they probably hear these things a lot.

One thing that did rub me the wrong way was the assertion that customer loyalty is usually to the gallery, not the artist. This is probably even true, most of the time, but if so that means we’ve outright failed at developing our brands, as the marketing people would say.

I’ve worked with galleries for about 10 years. I’ve had good success with some, with others the relationship has simply not worked out over time. Sometimes I’ve strongly disagreed with business decisions they’ve made, but I’ve never had a bad or unpleasant experience with them. Like almost all of us, I think they genuinely try hard to do right and do good.

But… it doesn’t take special insight to see that there might be problems with the system as a whole.

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Jeffrey, hello! Are you familiar with the DailyPaintworks model? A few months back I read Daily Painting by Carol Marine, where she explained how she went from gallery to direct-to-consumer online selling.


I have not but I will be sure to look for it. :wink:

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Hi Sha - yes, I am familiar with that, and even did it myself for a while about 10 years ago.

For those of you who aren’t familiar, the basic model is:

  1. Paint one small-format piece every day.
  2. Put it on an eBay auction starting at $100 and notify your email/social media list.
  3. Watch the money roll in.

I think it’s excellent discipline and for me was very useful for knocking loose a few bad habits. The business model itself was also intriguing, and several artists have had breathtaking success with it. I did it for about 3 months, and when I started to feel like it wasn’t serving me well anymore, I stopped. For me, there are a number of downsides and pitfalls to the practice, so I haven’t seriously considered picking it up again since that point.

I’m sure artists have been doing this forever, but it was Duane Keiser who popularized it and drew people’s attention to the possibilities. In his case, it grew out of his steady, daily, life-long martial arts practice (as a low-level Zen student, I found that especially appealing). I think Duane is a fine, fine painter, and always enjoy looking at his work - both the daily pieces and the larger ones. He doesn’t seem to be doing the one-a-day pieces anymore, but for something like 10 years he did (literally every day), and it was amazing that he brought so much freshness and clarity to the project for so long.

If anybody finds this interesting, I say try it for a month. There’s nothing to lose, and you might find something in it that broadens your approach to painting in general. I’d temper your financial expectations, though. A quick glance at the Daily Paintworks site will show you just how saturated that market is:


I just listened to a podcast from Xanadu Gallery’s Red Dot Blog:

Podcast | Finding Success Selling Art on Facebook – An Interview with Robert MacGinnis

I found it very informative and interesting that this topic was explored and posted by a successful gallery. Jason is a good guy!

Personally, I have sold work through a respected gallery in Annapolis, Maryland as well as through Facebook and a newsletter. I plan to continue with multiple outlets. I just don’t turn out enough of it to support myself… yet.

I’m also familiar with Daily Paint Works and had posted there in their early days. I have one of Carol Marine’s books. But this is not my style.


Thanks for the podcast recommendation, Deborah! I will listen to it later today.

Hi Jeffrey…I am 3 months behind here so sorry I am just seeing this today!

I have been getting my own commissions for quite a while. I always had to freelance 3 days a week to balance if I dont have one coming in. I have sold off FB and in a gallery but never did the gallery representation until last week. The reason is that they don’t represent portrait painters.
So, I started to enter shows and do many figurative pieces and everything else I like. A couple of years ago I did one painting a day…actually took me 10 hours and had an exhibit at Ferrara’s pastry cafe in Little Italy in which I sold 2 paintings and 2 prints.

It is a full time job to consistently get out there and network to get collectors and it can be exhausting. also, Lorena states she is financially independent of this. For those of us that are not…it is very stressful to not be behind the easel producing work and wearing all the hats. When I don’t sell or have a commission…its more stressfull. I find the one painting a day thing is what everyone seems to be modelling, But ,I just can’t be happy with a block in if you know what I mean!

The gallery that is representing me said to paint all subjects if you paint everything well. So, she wants me to exhibit a little of everything from small to big. I find the smaller pieces sell quicker as does Lorena.
I think you are right when you say the paint dailies is saturated since 2012. People are looking for the quick fix. There isn’t one except to DO and put time management in. we are in a tough business these days, but nothing is impossible I always believe!

I am willing to give the gallery world a whirl and spoke to Deborah about this. Xanadu is a great newsletter and Jason Horejs gives allot of info. The link is below. I hope this helps with my $1 :slight_smile:


Thanks for those thoughts Nanci!