I started off on Brunswick St at the Artholes Gallery.
I should start by saying that Artholes is a great space, and indeed there were some fine work on display. But to be honest, my experience with the gallery wasn't 100% positive.
Why? Because I didn't feel comfortable in it. For a few reasons:
- There isn't any real sign to suggest that it is open to the public.
- It was hard to tell if it was actually open (I went there at around 4 on Friday arvo). When I walked in, I didn't receive any welcome from the guy who was working there.
- It wasn't apparent if the artwork was for sale or not.
- There wasn't any information, either on the walls or on a leaflet, to describe any of the art on display.
- There was no welcoming vibe at all. No lighting, no music, and I felt as if I was an intrusion for being there.
I learnt from their site that they take a 40% on sales, with no upfront fee to artists that are exhibiting their work. 40% was higher than I expected, but I'm new to this game. Is a 40% commission rate average?
The art sold in Artholes' windows is on sale via silent auction. You can email or sms your bids through to buy the art on display. But I've just learnt this via their website - their wasn't anything to indicate this when you're actually in the gallery. Which is a shame.
From my perspective, this isn't the way a gallery should be run. If I were to open a gallery, I'd put a bigger emphasis on friendliness and customer service. I suspect that most people aren't completely comfortable when they are buying new art. Why make it more difficult for them than it needs to be?
Am I being too harsh here?