Deal Flow, The Key To Finding New Talent

- - Getting Noticed

I really like the analogy in this piece over on DLK Collection (It’s a long piece so go have a look) that Joerg sent me:

“While gallery owners often complain about the “overwhelming” “deluge” of solicitations they receive and the challenges of responding to each and every one, the reality is having good “deal flow” (access to the best new artists that come along) is the key to a sustainable business, and smart dealers (especially those focused on emerging work) invest time in their networks and build systems for reviewing each portfolio with honest care and attention, ensuring that the artist feels genuinely respected and helped, as a positive experience leads to more deal flow down the road. Given that each gallery has a different vision of what will sell and what is important over a long time scale, the trick is sift through literally hundreds in search of the one or two that fit the program as envisioned.”

“Silicon Valley venture capitalists work in much the same manner, looking for the needle (the next Google) in a haystack (a massive pile of marginal business plans), and often finding ways to get pre-screened deals (from known sources, feeder funds, and high quality referrals), where the bottom two thirds have already been cut away, leaving a smaller and higher quality pile that can then be reviewed with more attention.”

I guess this is why you hear the complaint from photographers that they get seen and people say they like their work but nothing ever comes of it. Everyone is keeping the deal flow alive by not being an asshole.

There Are 3 Comments On This Article.

  1. Going a bit further – the book highlighted in the article, “The Collector’s Guide to Emerging Art Photography,” is essentially just another source book. In the comments, someone noted that photographers had to pay a submission fee.

    Source books tap into the ‘deal flow’ to make money; they used to be the only method of distribution for compiled lists of the top tier artists (the submission cost being the barrier for entry separating the best from the rest) but they’re increasingly becoming the vanity gallery of the commercial art world. As in, the opposite of pre-screened.

    While the internet lowered the cost of solicitation and deal flow, it increased the value of word of mouth. Source books, print and online, can’t survive because they’re getting pulled from 2 opposite directions.

    • Arty Farty

      @Mason, Exactly. I’d love to see APE writing a piece exposing Source books for the outmoded bad deal (IMHO nothing short of more snake oil like “competitions”) they now are.

  2. Not only is that the art market but my biggest critique of the blog world as well. “hey look at this” is the most common post on photo/art/any blogs that rely on linking with one another. This leaves a lot of linking to things with no comment on what the linker thinks of said link. aka: not being an ass hole.