If you’ve been on the internet looking at publications this holiday season you may have seen ads for a new online gallery with a slogan – Ugallery original art. original you. I’ve even see it on our Google Adsense ads on our website and blogs – of which we have no control.
After seeing it for the 50th time I clicked on the link to see what it was all about and essentially it was nothing new – an online gallery. Although it looks slicker than most and doing the most advertising than any I’ve seen it’s still like most online galleries – lots of pictures of a variety of art. The only difference is they boost of having the “top emerging artists” and the key word here is “emerging” – meaning artists who are not that popular yet. Which was true when I looked at the artist’s roster. I did not recognize any of the names I saw representing North or South Carolina. Which means they haven’t been exhibiting in galleries in the Carolinas. At least ones we’ve been covering.
Here’s their basic statement: “Here at Ugallery, we represent the top emerging artists from across North America and photographers from around the world. We’re passionate about our collection and our artists, and we are always looking for talented artists with positive attitudes to join our community. The application process is a quick one, and we’ll get back to you within one week to let you know if you’ve been accepted to the website. For more information on how we operate, be sure to read our Artist FAQ.”
Here’s a few of their FAQ’s that stood out to me:
One more thing – we charge a small non-refundable fee of $5 to apply to the website. Bummer, we know, but it helps us ensure that the artists who apply are serious and committed.
We split the sale of artwork 50/50 and we cover all of the costs of packaging and shipping the work.
We currently represent 450 artists.
UGallery has the exclusive right to the artwork displayed on the website. This prevents the risk of selling the same piece of art to two different parties. However, we encourage you to pursue physical gallery representation while exhibiting on our site. This increases the exposure of your work as well as of our gallery.
OK – if I were an artist those four answers to FAQ’s would give me second thoughts about applying to be the 451st artists in their roster. And when you take a look at some of those 450 artist’s work – you better hope you have something really different than what I saw to help you stand out. Besides I’m not sure how many people will look through that many different portfolios in this day of short attention spans. And, I bet after this media blitz their roster has doubled. They might just be making money off the $5 application fee. And, does $5 really make you serious and committed? That’s a laugh.
Ask yourself what are they doing for their 50% cut? Except tying up the rights to the works you send them. And what does that mean? Do they have the right to sell your images to be used in advertising or what? This media blitz won’t last forever and each time they run it – it will just increase their stable of artists – unless the turnover will be that great. Then you have to ask yourself why it there that much turnover?
The problem with most galleries – from an artist’s point of view is that they represent too many artists and don’t spend enough time promoting their work. Think about that 450 number now.
The one good thing I read about Ugallery is that you still hold onto your work. So you won’t get lost in some warehouse with thousands of works stacked up in it, but once you send the work off to their buyer (regardless if they pay for shipping) – will you get paid in the time frame they state? Your work is gone. And if you don’t – who do you call to find out about when you get paid and where is Ugallery anyway?
Sure this system may be good for some artists – emerging artists – but I hope “emerging” in this case doesn’t mean learning tough lessons about the art industry.
I’m just saying – be smart – ask questions – ask around.
I’ve got a question for Ugallery. How do you think that physical gallery is going to feel when they find out that you want their artists to stay with them while playing around with you at the same time? You’re not playing on an equal basis. Ugallery isn’t like a physical gallery in another city 300 miles away – paying overhead, local taxes, and greeting customers who come through the door.