art industry
Business Tips

The Art Industry: Success Strategies, and the Power of Going International

The global art industry is a juggernaut of a thing, describing the movement of billions upon billions of pounds each year. Between the sale and trade of artworks, the running of high-draw exhibitions, and the cultivation of new generational talent, there are multiple avenues to success as an independent business or enterprise in art.

Outwardly, leaning into art as a career can seem unreliable – not only for practitioners but also for curators and others in ancillary industry roles. This is because the art world is often seen as a fickle thing. However, the art world is anything but fickle, and knowing the right course to chart can make all the difference in building a portfolio of successes.

A Global Industry

The operative word that describes the art industry is ‘global’. National art industries and scenes foster grassroots talents, and facilitate the growth of reputations and repertoires – but this is to be discussed shortly. Crucially for the art dealer, gallery or agent, national industries are naturally limiting. There is a ceiling to funding and earning capabilities, which can only be truly circumvented by thinking internationally.

Moving up to international status as a dealer or gallery, whether through building relationships with other international dealers or opening galleries in other countries, is a crucial way to demonstrate legitimacy. It is also a way of accessing new and untapped markets with contacts of your own.

Legal Considerations

Of course, trading or even simply shipping art internationally poses logistical and legal issues above and beyond those experienced domestically. The legal considerations, in particular, are complex and wide-ranging. For example, the sheer value of certain highly sought-after pieces puts international tax and fraud concerns front and centre, requiring hands-on litigation to protect the value of an investment or sale.

There is also the matter of transportation, which can induce difficulties and stresses of its own. How does a portfolio of high-value artworks make it from one side of an ocean to the other, without risking damage or loss of investment? How can those values be protected for the benefit of all parties involved?

The Next Era

Establishing longevity through going international is only one of a wide variety of different ways that you might engage with the art world in search of success. Another vital approach to take for the betterment of your business and career is a curatorial one – not just for existing high-value pieces, but also for the cultivation of the next generation.

Finding and growing new talent is part and parcel of the industry, but not something that every dealer trucks in. By investing time and energy into finding and profiling new artists with potential, you can help foster wider art scenes while increasing the potential yield on future sales.

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