JIM SMUTEK - HEAVY METAL !!
Artists who are looking to sell artwork online have been met with many challenges. For years galleries have positioned themselves to get a big portion of sales. This business model has allowed galleries to take as much as 50% for every sale. This type of arrangement has been the way art galleries have performed business for decades. Recently, there has been a disruption in this norm with the invent of several new promotional practices by Ted Cantu and Hot Metro Finds. The revolution minded, Cantu and Co., have been creating new avenues for exhibition artists.
Detroit based Ted Cantu has been the center of attention lately along with partner Tracey Vitkay. Together, these two have created a serious buzz online with arts promotion chronicling the popular Russell Art Gallery and Russell Industrial Center through online web video sites. Their popular videos have been picked up in such far away places as Bangladesh, Japan, Australia, and Berlin. Now, Cantu and Vitkay are at it again and taking arts promotion to another level.
“We started out promoting artists online. We wanted to shrink the agency fee from 50% to 20% and offer more value to participating artists that other art galleries couldn’t offer. We want our artists to sell their work instead of learning how to apply for grants.” Says Ted Cantu. “The idea of getting artist representation shouldn’t be about learning how to mooch off the government with a grant pay out but should instead focus on how to sell your work. We want our artists to live off their own proceeds. What’s wrong with that?”
Apparently Cantu and Vitkay are not the only ones to hold that opinion. This idea has picked up momentum and has attracted Metro Detroit metal sculptor, Jim Smutek. This iconic artist has recently signed up with Cantu and Co. to sell more artwork and to actually lessen his show schedule.
“Moving these sculptures takes a lot of effort. My pieces are made out of car parts and we are talking about heavy metal. Its cumbersome. Working with online promotion, web video, PR and online media has allowed me to reach more people. Best of all, I don’t have to worry about foot traffic.” Says Smutek.
Exposure is a deciding factor for artists siding up with Ted Cantu. In the last few months, his art group, Hot Metro Finds has been featured in NBC, ABC, CBS, NPR, Hour Detroit, DBusiness, USA Today, PBS, Detroit Free Press and has allowed his artists to get that important media presence.
“20 years ago, this would not have been possible. Now we are able to take an artist of great talent, bypass the gallery circuit, and then project him into new arena’s where money is not an issue and connect him to a buyer. We are cutting out gallery administration, gallery overhead, and a lot of red tape. This is connecting the artist to the interested buyer. Its making a lot of sense for all parties. Best of all, the artist keeps more of his profits.” Says Cantu.