Sunday, December 1, 2013

A Questionable Opportunity

In Harmony
12x12 Acrylic on Canvas
It has been an interesting week.... a few days ago I was contacted by an "international" magazine about the possibility of publishing some of my work. I was flattered, of course. They said some really nice things. But then... well... a few things bothered me. First, it came from a gmail address. Having done a fair bit of magazine work over the years, that didn't sit quite right. And I'd never heard of them... I was in New York fairly recently. You'd think I'd have seen the magazine, at least there if not in my local bookstore. So I did a bit of research.

A quick google search revealed a few interesting blog posts. Reading through the comment sections was eye opening. The follow up email revealed the kicker... they were requesting $1900 for a "publicity campaign". Here's the email:
Dear Marianne,
I am glad to hear from you!  I found your work on and then viewed your personal website as I am very impressed by your work. The colors and textures are captivating and create movement and energy palpable to the viewer. I am especially drawn to Serenity, Solitude, and In Harmony.
My main focus is to work with artists to help gain international publicity and attention.  We offer a three part publicity program with exposure online, in print, plus an optional exhibition in NYC (please see attachment).  Our magazine and websites offer a level of exposure focused on the artist. Other galleries do not offer international publicity with a print magazine and the large web sites and when they do the publicity it's for the gallery and not for the artist.  
I am working with the owner of NY Arts Magazine and we would like to publish a full page of your work in print and online.  This is a strong opportunity to promote and present your art to the world. The fee for a full year of publicity and promotion is $1,900.  This fee includes a year of publicity in our print and web media, a full-page in NY Arts Magazine (sold internationally in major bookstores), and an optional gallery exhibition in our Soho Gallery.
Here is a sample of our work with Lee Claremont (
I have attached the documents, please don’t hesitate to contact me if you need any help or have any questions.  Feel free to call me at the gallery (212) 274-8993.
I think your work would make an amazing addition to our publication and benefit greatly from the exposure.
I hope to hear back from you and that we can work together soon.


I understand that magazines have to make their money somehow or they can't exist, but that's why they sell advertising, right? And I'm also totally ok with galleries taking a commission on sales. Hey, if they sell it, they deserve to be compensated for their efforts. And if the galleries promote themselves through advertising and websites, that works for the artists too, doesn't it? It gets eyes on the work, and hey, it won't ever sell if nobody ever sees it. But this... well...

Many of the links and search results I found on these guys were no longer available... I would guess it probably included the word "scam" and it was requested that it be removed.  As much as I think this is perhaps not entirely ethical, I think scam may be a bit harsh... they do clearly state their fee and what you get for it. But I don't think an art magazine should be asking for payment from their content providers. An art magazine can't exist without the content (provided by the artists). So given that, I'm of the belief that charging us for the exposure they provide is kind of unfair, and not something I want to be a part of.

So... what is the prevailing opinion here? I'm sure there are other artists out here who agree with me, but maybe there's some that don't? How do you all feel about paying for this kind of publicity? Is there value in it?