You will hear part of a radio interview with a woman called Rachel Reed, who works in a commercial art gallery, a shop which sells works of art.
- What does Rachel say about her job title?
- What is the most common reason for the gallery not exhibiting an artist’s work?
- When can phone calls from artists be difficult for Rachel?
- Why does Rachel include a commentary in the catalogue?
- What does Rachel say about administrative work?
- What is Rachel’s role in the service the gallery offers to large companies?
- What does Rachel find most enjoyable about her job?
Interviewer: This evening in our series ‘Careers with a Difference’ our guest is Rachel Reed who works for a small commercial art gallery. Rachel, welcome.
Interviewer: Rachel, what exactly do you do?
Rachel: Well, there’s two great things about working for a really small company. Firstly, you get to do a bit of everything. The other is that you can practically invent your job title. Mine is marketing manager – although I do a lot of other things too, it does describe the majority of what I do.
Interviewer: So, tell us about your day.
Rachel: Well, it all starts with the huge pile of post we get. We often get artists sending in photographs of their work to see if we’d be interested in exhibiting it. I learned very early on how to differentiate between the ‘possibles’ and those which are unsuitable.
Interviewer: But how do you tell?
Rachel: It might be the style, or sometimes the subject matter is just not going to look right in our gallery, but more often than not, it’s just that they’re not of the required standard. The ‘possibles’ I pass on to the gallery manager who makes the final decision.
Interviewer: So you have quite a lot of contact with artists?
Rachel: Yes. Sometimes I spend nearly all day on the phone and about fifty percent of the time it’s artists. I send letters explaining why we can’t show their work – some of them phone up to argue about it – I find those calls very hard to deal with. Artists we do exhibit also phone to find out if we’ve managed to sell anything and, if we have, when the money will be coming through. I don’t mind those so much. Most other calls are from clients. We have a new artist exhibiting here every two to four weeks and before the show takes place, we send out a catalogue to the clients on our database.
Interviewer: Obviously the catalogue’s illustrated?
Rachel: Oh yes, and as soon as the catalogue goes out, we start getting phone calls because people see something they like and want to reserve it. Sometimes they even buy things over the phone. The catalogue also contains a commentary about the artist, which I have to write and research. I try to find out what has influenced them, where they learned to paint, what the subject matter represents, that sort of thing, but I try to avoid quoting from positive reviews of their work; it’s not meant to be advertising as such.
Interviewer: So your job is not all administrative?
Rachel: Compared to a typical office, that side of it’s quite minimal, that’s why I can cope without an assistant. There are systems in place to deal with routine jobs. For instance, I don’t have to send out the catalogues – the company which prints them also prints the envelopes and posts them. Another company takes care of the food and drinks when we have the opening of a new exhibition.
Interviewer: And are you involved in other aspects of the business?
Rachel: Yes. The company also offers a consultancy service for large companies that want to display works of art in their offices. I phone round companies, explain what we do and, if they’re interested, make an appointment for the gallery manager to go and see them. It’s interesting, the companies tend to go much more for modern or abstract art than people coming to the gallery.
Interviewer: And the best part of the job for you?
Rachel: The really rewarding thing for me is that you never know how a day is going to go. Some days it’ll be really quiet, other days it’s really busy and you don’t know what you’re going to have to cope with. And there’s the added bonus of working with really nice people and of course I have the pleasure of spending my days surrounded by beautiful works of art, so I can’t complain.
Interviewer: Thank you Rachel, and now we’ll move on to …