Portrait Artist Forum    

Go Back   Portrait Artist Forum > Business, Marketing & PR


Reply
 
Topic Tools Display Modes
Old 09-23-2003, 11:34 PM   #1
Heidi Maiers Heidi Maiers is offline
SOG Member
 
Heidi Maiers's Avatar
 
Joined: Jun 2003
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 549
Advice on agents?




Seeking advice -

A few months ago, I responded to a job posting I came across in which, as it turned out, the fellow posting the job add was a very prominent independent designer who has worked for many years with some very well known and reputable companies. He was conducting an international audition for a project that he was working on for one of these companies and was seeking a sculptor to make several small portrait heads to spec.

I auditioned for the job and to my surprise actually got it. To make a long story short, the project was completed successfully and now this fellow has asked me if I would consider letting him be my agent. With his contacts and marketing skills, he thinks he can get me some good commissions using his name and reputation as the designing agent
__________________
Heidi Maiers
www.heidimaiers.com
  Reply With Quote
Old 09-24-2003, 12:12 AM   #2
Michele Rushworth Michele Rushworth is offline
CAFE & BUSINESS MODERATOR
SOG Member
FT Professional
 
Michele Rushworth's Avatar
 
Joined: Jul 2001
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 3,460
The national portrait agents (listed here: http://www.portraitartist.com/resources/agents.htm
on this site) typically take between 40 and 50% to handle paintings. I don't know how that would work for bronzes.
__________________
Michele Rushworth
www.michelerushworth.com
mdrushworth@comcast.net
  Reply With Quote
Old 09-24-2003, 01:31 AM   #3
Chris Saper Chris Saper is offline
SENIOR MODERATOR
SOG Member
FT Professional, Author
'03 Finalist, PSofATL
'02 Finalist, PSofATL
'02 1st Place, WCSPA
'01 Honors, WCSPA
Featured in Artists Mag.
 
Chris Saper's Avatar
 
Joined: Jun 2001
Location: Arizona
Posts: 2,481
Heidi,

You can write a contract any way you want, as long as it is lawful and both parties understand each other and the terms they are agreeing to.

I think you should be especially careful about the fact that he wants you to be "annonymous." That he would not want to tout you, or any other artist he represents by name, sounds like a red flag. I am not sure how in the world you could get adequate source material anonymously.

You also want to be careful not to sign away your copyright, as he is suggesting you create work as "part of his team", which sounds a lot like the concept of "work for hire", where the employer retains copyright. Since the very nature of sculpture lends itself to multiple 'original' copies, some of which you may find are saleable independent of the sitter, it is a revenue avenue open to you in a way not available to painters.

I think you should ask him to see what he proposes as a contract, and then get a knowlegable legal opinion. Only then can you decide whether you are willing to accept the terms, or want to change them.

Another thing to consider is pricing. Can you afford to pay a finder's fee/ commission/etc. out of your current fee structure? When you establish a value for your work, I think it needs to be valued equally for every buyer, regardless of whether the sale is subject to a commission.

I'm glad to hear you got the jobs you auditioned for, and wish you luck.
__________________
www.ChrisSaper.com
  Reply With Quote
Old 09-24-2003, 09:42 AM   #4
Stanka Kordic Stanka Kordic is offline
SOG Member
FT Professional
 
Stanka Kordic's Avatar
 
Joined: Sep 2001
Location: Cleveland Heights, OH
Posts: 184
Red flag, red flag. Anonymous? No way! Never ever be anonymous! I agree with Chris on that one.

OR - Have him hire you as a freelancer and give him a 5% finder's fee. That's what I've learned to do with those types. I don't trust them, I have stories..

Can you tell I'm a wee bit cynical and jaded?
  Reply With Quote
Old 09-24-2003, 10:00 AM   #5
Michele Rushworth Michele Rushworth is offline
CAFE & BUSINESS MODERATOR
SOG Member
FT Professional
 
Michele Rushworth's Avatar
 
Joined: Jul 2001
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 3,460
You can often get a lawyer to take a look at the proposed contract with no charge through various organizations that offer volunteer lawyers for the arts. A quick Google search or your local city arts council should point you in the right direction to find one.
__________________
Michele Rushworth
www.michelerushworth.com
mdrushworth@comcast.net
  Reply With Quote
Old 09-24-2003, 10:44 AM   #6
Carl Toboika Carl Toboika is offline
Juried Member
 
Carl Toboika's Avatar
 
Joined: May 2003
Location: Kingston, NY
Posts: 132
I'm in agreement here. Anonymous = Never Never Never. Work at McDonalds or even starve first. It does sound exactly like it would be work for hire.
  Reply With Quote
Old 09-24-2003, 12:01 PM   #7
Tom Edgerton Tom Edgerton is offline
SOG Member
'02 Finalist, PSA
'01 Merit Award, PSA
'99 Finalist, PSA
 
Tom Edgerton's Avatar
 
Joined: Jul 2001
Location: Greensboro, NC
Posts: 819
Add me to the list of those whose think being an anonymous provider smacks of work for hire. And Chris is right, be very scrutinizing of the copyright arrangement, don't give away something for nothing.

If you were to remain behind the scenes, how would the creative background information flow to you from the client? If it comes only through your rep, it's a very cumbersome way to work.

Most of the agents I've worked with have taken 30%, as it's a little less overhead intensive than a gallery, where they have to pay for their wall space, and usually charge 40% or 50%.

And in answer to your other question, you'd split 70-30 on your PROFIT (price less production expenses), not your selling price.

I've had 'em, there are some good ones. But way more bad ones than good ones. Be careful.

Best--TE
__________________
TomEdgerton.com
"The dream drives the action."
--Thomas Berry, 1999
  Reply With Quote
Old 09-24-2003, 07:22 PM   #8
Heidi Maiers Heidi Maiers is offline
SOG Member
 
Heidi Maiers's Avatar
 
Joined: Jun 2003
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 549
You guys are great- thanks for all of your advice. I'm glad I asked.

That's a good point you made, Chris, about who retains the copyright - I'll be sure to clarify that issue with him. However, the pieces that will be made are intended to be one of a kind originals and the original buyers would be pretty upset if copies were made available at all.

What I am wondering now is - what's wrong with work for hire? I really don't care if I receive recognition, only that I receive WORK. Our financial situation is critical right now and we are in danger of losing our home, so I need to take what I can get.

I don't think he intends for me to remain anonymous indefinitely. He stated this would only be in the beginning when he is trying to generate interest in the idea since his credentials are much more impressive than mine and he thinks marketing it that way initially will generate more interest. Even though I will be creating the full body portrait sculpture, the particular marketing twist he has in mind is his idea and something I wouldn't normally be making on my own and he has a specific high scale target audience he intends to pitch to. In fact, he's already sold the idea to several clients who are waiting to buy. He just needs a competent sculptor to produce some quality pieces for him.

He also will be the one to meet with the clients, secure the sale, and take the necessary reference photos. Unlike painting, I am not concerned with lighting and color in these shots - I just need to see the form at as many angles as possible. Most of my sales now are through the internet and I rarely meet a client in person.

Fortunately, my stepdaughter is an attorney and I'm sure she wouldn't mind scrutinizing any contract I am considering signing.

Thanks again-
__________________
Heidi Maiers
www.heidimaiers.com
  Reply With Quote
Old 09-24-2003, 07:55 PM   #9
Mike McCarty Mike McCarty is offline
PHOTOGRAPHY MODERATOR
SOG Member
'03 Finalist Taos SOPA
'03 HonMen SoCal ASOPA
'03 Finalist SoCal ASOPA
'04 Finalist Taos SOPA
 
Mike McCarty's Avatar
 
Joined: Dec 2001
Location: Tulsa, Oklahoma
Posts: 2,673
Quote:
He stated this would only be in the beginning when he is trying to generate interest in the idea since his credentials are much more impressive than mine and he thinks marketing it that way initially will generate more interest.
The logic of this is not coming through to me. I don't understand why both credentials cannot exist simultaneously. If he is not presenting the art as his own creation then it's obviously being done by a third party. How could the divulgence of your identity jeopardize the market? His credentials don't improve the art and yours don't diminish it.

His concern may be that if the clients know who you are then they will come direct to you and cut him out. Maybe this could be dealt with contractually. You might also consider putting a term on the contract. His words: "only in the beginning."

Would you sign the art?
__________________
Mike McCarty
  Reply With Quote
Old 09-24-2003, 10:04 PM   #10
Heidi Maiers Heidi Maiers is offline
SOG Member
 
Heidi Maiers's Avatar
 
Joined: Jun 2003
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 549
Those are all good points, Mike.

I don't think he is worried about getting cut out - the client would pay the same price whether they bought through me or through him.

He is not in any way trying to cover up the fact that the art is being made by a third party and is making no claims of sculpting the art himself.
It's not that he's trying to hide my identity or is going to keep it a big secret - it's just that it really doesn't matter at this point who I am - I could be anybody - the clients wouldn't know me from Adam and I really have nothing too impressive to tout that he can use in his marketing. I think he wants to market the idea as being presented by (in his words) "the designer for a company whose gadgets are famous and who has done stuff for (household name company X, Y, and Z)." to be more successful.

Hey, if it brings in the orders, I don't care how it's pitched and he's had a lot of experience and success with marketing and design. I haven't been overly successful selling portraits on my own to this point.

Yes, I would sign the art.
__________________
Heidi Maiers
www.heidimaiers.com
  Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing this Topic: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Topic Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

 

Make a Donation



Support the Forum by making a donation or ordering on Amazon through our search or book links..







All times are GMT -4. The time now is 06:34 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.6
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.