Do you know who your strongest competitor is? If you do, find out who their agent is and see if that agent can take on another client. You might find they don’t have an actual agent, but market themselves in other ways like placing ads in trade magazines. Recently Eric, the owner of Artspan, placed a full page in Art in America. I’ve seen similar ads in Art Review, Antiques and Art and Artist Advocate. Taking out a large ad in a national magazine can cost big bucks, but it can also give you big returns. You have to be ready for it in the way of the number of pieces you can have on hand at any one time. If you share the expense with say 5 other artists, then the cost is cut down and you all get great exposure. This is what Eric did. He ask all of us if we would like to participate and several did. This is one of the reasons I like Artspan. Eric is always thinking of ways to help all of us.
You can be your own art agent but if you can’t because of time constraints or just don’t have the skills, I think I’d start out with someone that might be willing to promote you for a percent of sales. Most of the time an artist gains a reputation for the work they create in their local town and then branch out from there as they have more and more work to offer. I’ve known many artists who have husbands or wives that work as agents for their spouse.
If an agent approaches you don’t pay money in advance. You don’t have to get a lawyer to help you with contracts but if you can afford one, it certainly won’t hurt especially if you are looking to do this for many years. Start out with your agent on a small scale and a small time frame so both of you can see if you have a good fit. Once you see that things will work out you can think about what you need in a contract to protect you and your work. I’m also sure that the agent would want to protect themselves as well by asking for an exclusive contract.
Why not try the Tupperware party approach… get your friend to act as your agent and throw some Jewelry parties locally and then get their friends to book parties … soon your work would be all over the place. I’ve often thought art could be sold like that too. Hook up with a decorator and have them teach people how to hang art. Hook up with a model and have her wear your jewelry and teach folks how to wear jewelry to the best advantage. I can see it now… get in touch with a civic group and tell them you have an idea for a program. Civic groups are always looking for program material that would be of interest to their members. Okay.. this idea is going to cost you.
Wishing you much success! :drink: