Artworx Gallery | Contemporary Art & Gifts | Goolwa SA

Artworx Gallery - currently celebrating its 10th anniversary - is a regular award winner and the finest contemporary art gallery on South Australia's Fleurieu Peninsula.


Traps for Artists

With more and more people taking up art, particularly in their later years, it has produced it own little economy.  In many respects it is good for artists. Never before have art materials been so accessible and affordable. Learning painting is also not a problem, as the mysteries of the skill are taught and outlined in the myriad of online tutorials, art classes and workshops.

As far as selling art goes there has never been a better era to do it. The big art galleries are no longer the gatekeepers of the art industry. The Internet has seen to that.

But, as artists we are easy pickings because of the very nature of what we do and because we are susceptible to flattery and dreams of success.  Inevitably a whole industry has arisen to cater just for this.

I’m referring to the vanity sector in our industry.  It appears in the form of vanity galleries and vanity publishing, including books, magazine and video production

Simply put, the artist pays for participation in seemingly prestigious platforms.  They are fake.

Vanity galleries, particularly in New York will seek out new ‘talent’ worldwide. They start with flattery, even if you are quite a beginner. I experienced it very early on. The offer is for an exhibition in New York and the pull is the thought of being able to put this on your resume. The cost is substantial for a small wall space and this business plan is a winner for the gallery. Upwards of 30 artists may be showing together and they’ve each payed thousands to take part.  The gallery has made money without a single sale!  There is a steady and willing list of artists willing to go along with this – the pull of New York is great, but sales are low, costs are high and genuine recognition is missing.

The vanity industry has spread to the media too with books and magazines, both physical and online are looking for ‘artists’ to pay to be published. Each page of some of these publications is paid for by contributing artists. Really it should be the other way around! You can add video production to this list too. The process is similar to the vanity galleries. Flatter the artist first by telling them how talented they are then sell them their dreams. Claims that they find their way into the hands of major galleries and art collectors are unsubstantiated - serious galleries and collectors know all about the fakes. 

Some artists actually like all of the things mentioned above, but almost without exception they will need a lot of money to be partakers.

Happy painting!

Mike Barr

Picnic Tree - 76x76cm oil on canvas - One of my rare landscapes with trees in it! Private collection.

Picnic Tree - 76x76cm oil on canvas - One of my rare landscapes with trees in it! Private collection.


Liz and John Francis

12 Hays Street
Goolwa, South Australia

Phone: (08) 8555 0949


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