There is a teeny tiny amount of ‘wannabe’ in all of us whether we like it all not in the art world. Faking it until you make it is a serious skill one must have to be able to climb that steep artworld career ladder after all.
But when it comes to doing serious business with an actual serial wannabe-er red flags should start to fly. Especially a so-called collector who is ‘interested’ in buying your works but fails to deliver.
Here are 6 ways to spot if that collector is really who they portraying themselves to be, or a wannabe posing as the real deal.
Understand that a lot of the people buying your art are not by their full-time trade an ‘art collector’
Most people who are buying art are not art collectors by trade. They are just people who like to decorate their homes with beautiful things. If you and your art have a good name and that certain sparkle that will attract these home decorators, there is money to be made there. But real art collectors on the other hand are ‘art investors’ to varying degrees and want much much more than a pretty picture when they are considering buying your art. Knowing the difference between the two is key when making your pitch and spotting a potential wannabe in both categories. They may both buy your art if you are lucky, maybe even lots of it.
Wannabe collectors make plans they cannot keep
Did you bump into that collector at an art fair who was so keen to instantly make plans to meet up for a coffee. They seemed so enthusiast to discuss business in a non-corporate setting. You swapped numbers, sent the message with a suggestion of the date, place and time, but then… no reply. No coffee….ghosted. If you were dealing with a genuine collector, they would of made a commitment they are willing to keep. Ghosting is a real testament to the person you are dealing with here and a HUGE character flaw.
Wannabes are only around when it is convenient for them and will disappear quickly
You will probably never hear from that ghoster from the art fair again until they really need something from you. And once they get what they want disappearing acts are common among these kind people. They hang around briefly when they get what they need from you, but the minute you need something from them, they bail. Read the room and don’t fall for it sis!
Hello are you listening? A wannabe wont really tune in to what you are really saying
Oh sure, they pretend to listen, but they are on their phones, scrolling through Instagram, or talking to someone else while they are sitting right in front of you. This is an exhausting kind of business partnership and one you don’t need. If they are truly passionate about investing in your work they will listen to what you have to say.
Wannabe collectors pretend to try to please everyone, but rarely deliver
Wannabe collectors are in a constant state of juggling balls that they can’t possibly keep in the air – they will try to say yes to everyone because they can’t stand rejection or the idea that they might not actually be able to do everything they say they can. Instead, they promise things, say yes, and then ditch you when they can’t deliver. Keep an eye out for these kinds of people and start the process of replacing them with collectors you can trust and can get to work with for real.
Wannabe collectors are all talk and no action
Many collectors simply enjoy the hustle and bustle of the art community—meeting up with friends and being seen. Seeing an art collector everywhere does not equate to them having an actual real-life art collection. It’s kind of awkward when you realize that they are all talk and no action. Give them 3 strikes until dropping them completely. Then move on and try and find a new audience to promote your work too.