Today, being the 25th of July, 2019, approximately marks the "Month Anniversary" since we closed down the brick-and-mortar version of the Red Dragonfly Gallery.
Even though it has been a month, I am still learning interesting lessons about the business of art. Or, at least, I am learning about the nature and ways of some of those of a creative spirit.
Returning Your Art to You!
An inevitable part of shutting down a consignment gallery is — of course — the process of returning the art to the many artists who were part of the business by consigning their art to us.
On the surface, that would seem like "not a big deal," but it has turned out to be a little more of an "odyssey" than expected.
Although we started contacting the 50-something artists affected by the closure some 60 days in advance, the level of "unresolved art" has been quite amazing.
As I write these words, there are still boxes of art — ready to ship — belonging to nine separate artists, now residing in our garage.
Of these, four quite simply have never replied to any form of communication: email, Facebook message, web site contact form, phone calls. What's odd about that is that they are still actively posting to their blogs, web sites and social media accounts. They just don't seem to respond to attempts to contact them.
Two responded to the initial notification that the gallery was closing, and then went to "radio silence" upon learning that they were responsible for the return shipping cost. This, even though the consignment agreement they signed clearly highlights that the cost of return shipping is the responsibility of the artist.
"Red Tomato" by Jay Worth Allen
One is still "arguing" with us, about the above, insisting they are not going to pay for shipping. An email to a fellow gallery owner handling their work they are simply "difficult" to deal with.
The final two are (legitimately) wringing their hands because it turns out one repatriated to Japan, the other to Italy... so the cost of shipping will be prohibitive. I suggested they have the art shipped to a family member here in the US... but the art remains "in limbo," after 90 days.
Not As Easy as it Would Appear?
I suppose these are just ongoing lessons in one of life's basic realities: Things are seldom as simple as they might appear, at first glance.
As an artist, myself, I am a little baffled though. If my art was somewhere that was closing their doors, I'd want the art back, rather than risking that it potentially disappear forever as a result of a business TRULY "going out of business," at which point both my art and any chance of getting paid flies out the window.
But evidently, not everyone thinks like that!
In the meantime, I will continue to store art in my garage, but at some point I feel like I get to call this art nobody seems to care about "abandoned," and maybe we'll just have a fundraising sale or something to dispose of it.
Have a great week!