Getting an artist agent, or art agent, or not is a tremendous dilemma for young artists who dream to live off of their art. An artist agent could be either bitter or sweet to your business, but the outcome is reliant on the stage of your career when you decide to hire one.
“Do you need an artist agent or not?” To answer this question, we must first lay a foundation. You do not get an agent for the sake of getting one. Hiring an artist agent is not affordable for all artists. If you do not make enough money from your art, you will certainly not be able to afford one.
To best advise you on hiring an artist agent, we will: clearly define who an artist agent is and what their job entails, the different reasons why you should or not hire one and eventually, an alternative solution to obtaining one if you are not prepared for the negative aspects associated with hiring an artist agent.
That said, we will now define this professional figure and see what their job description is.
Do you ever wonder what an artist agent actually do?
Artist agents are professional figures hired by artists to represent them, to help promote their art and, eventually, sell their work. From this definition, we can observe that hiring an artist agent is for the sole purpose of making business better. They can make your business exceptional in the ways mentioned above, but also by representing the business interests of the artist via deals such as individual sales, publicity and teaching.
It is fundamental to have an art agent with connections and experience to be able to find the best and most lucrative deals for you. That is why an artist agent could be anyone from an independent art dealer, a gallery or a professional with connections. Again, you observe that the most crucial concept when hiring an art agent is his connections. Measure the value of art agents by their relationships and their ability to bring deals your way. If you hire an art agent without contacts, you lose. You have received nothing for the cost of the agent.
The job description of an Art Agent
An artist agent job description is to promote your business, and they can do so with the following approaches:
- Licensing deals
- And many other ways that will directly or indirectly get you paid and get your art promoted or sold.
How Will an Art Agent be Useful to You?
Here, we will discuss how an artist agent will be useful to you; in other words, why you should hire an artist agent. However, we need to remind you that you don’t hire an art agent for the sole purpose of hiring one. You should instead hire an artist agent because he will help you.
Nevertheless, after reading this article, you can make an educated decision about whether hiring an artist agent or choosing our alternative solution is the right decision for you. That said, you may need an artist agent because:
- They Have the Right Connections: As we mentioned earlier, a valuable artist agent has good connections. In short, they are an artist agent who has contacts that you don’t. Being in touch with the right people can provide an incredible measure of opportunities for growth for your business. Therefore, before hiring an artist agent, study their previous work.
- You are not Very Good at Business and Building Relations: If you know you are atrocious at building relationships, hire an artist agent to avoid missing opportunities that could otherwise easily belong to you. On the other hand, if you are exceptional at business, having an agent that will socialize for you will save you time and allow you to focus on producing masterpieces. Despite their abilities, getting to know industry-related matters can be useful for you.
- You Want to Make More Sales and have More Opportunities: To be able to live off of your art, you must make more sales. Considering this fact, an exceptional artist agent will be a great assistance. They could get you a variety of contracts, besides those mentioned in the job description above. Again, to draw those opportunities, they will need to have the right connections. That is why hiring an agent with the right connections for you is fundamental. These connections could potentially become sponsors that finance your projects.
The main disadvantages of Hiring an Art Agent
There are also disadvantages to hiring an artist agent. These disadvantages are primarily the cost and the fact that you may be entirely reliant on him for nearly all business. Let us explain these two points and consider an alternative solution to hiring an agent.
- Cost of Hiring an Artist Agent: An artist agent may charge up to 50% of what you make, which could potentially be high value if you don’t generate enough money from your art. If you are starting your career, you may not be able to live off of your art, especially if you have the continuous expense of an artist agent. That is why we advise considering hiring an agent after you are well established as an artist. At that point, you may comfortably be able to afford an agent, and the benefits of having one will probably be higher than what they will charge.
- You will be dependent on them: Hiring an artist agent at the beginning of your career will limit you because you will become wholly dependent on their connections and not have the opportunity to build yours. As an artist, you need to have your own networks and get to know the milieu you are part of better. In the art milieu, as well as in others, contacts are the most valuable assets you could have.
Who Can Be Your Artist Agent?
Any professional in the art milieu can be your artist agent as long as they have what it takes to boost your business into the next level. However, you can be your own artist agent to save money and generate connections, which are like profoundly valuable.
Being an artist and making connections will not only provide the experience you can only get on the job but also help you discernable from incapable artist agents when the time for you to hire one.
An Alternative Solution to Getting an Artist Agent
If you are considering representing yourself, be aware that you will require a degree of assistance, especially if you are not well experienced. As an alternative solution to hiring an agent, you can hire the services of a consultant. Consultants are more affordable than artist agents, charging by the hour. You can share any concerns you have with them, and they will provide you with accurate solutions. They can assist you with your marketing and sales strategies. Representing yourself will not be easy, but you can learn. You can efficiently prepare yourself for the job by studying the subject. Knowing how to perform the job, you will have a better understanding of your future agent.
We believe throughout this article, you have decided whether you need an artist agent or not. If you are still at the beginning of your career, or for the experience, and you are considering becoming your own agent, prepare yourself accordingly. If you have the means to hire an agent, do not hesitate to do so. You will save a lot of time and, if your agent is excellent, you may receive more opportunities than ever before.
Note: Art agent, artist agent or artist representative are the same thing. A consultant is different as we explained in the article.