Anyone have experience buying art from The Artists Choice??
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225 posts

Hello,

Wondering if anyone has had any experience buying art from the Artists Choice. I have had a couple of really strange experiences, and was wondering if this was typical.

A couple of years ago I messaged them about a page that was for sale on their site that I wanted to buy. I didn't hear back, and after a week I emailed them. they let me know they had me in the que and would be getting back to me shortly. After another week I emailed them again, they apologized but let me know there were other people ahead of me, and they would get back to me when they could. Finally after a month they let me know that the page had already been sold....

There have been two more times that I have tried to buy art from them that they have for sale on their website. They typically take weeks to get back to me, seem mildly annoyed that I check back in every couple of weeks, and then end up never finally following through with selling me a page, and after a couple of months, I give up. 

Is this normal? Is there a secret code word I'm not using? I've bought art from art reps and dealers with what appears to be a lot more inventory, and I can't think of anything going over a week for just getting the artwork sold. They seem to rep some pretty great artists, so I'm not sure why this hasn't come up as a problem. If I had people trying to buy my art, but getting roadblocked by my rep, I would think that would be a problem. 

Maybe my experience has just been a total anomaly?

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you can search for similar topics here as this type of question has had threads before. Your experience is not an anomaly but there is no secret code word. If you can be patient and not read too much into the communication or lack thereof it will likely work out if the art isn't sold already. Like many, but certainly not all, long time dealers you will also find tales of bad experiences (:acclaim:) but you'll have to make up your own mind in the end. I would imagine his artists are well aware of his strengths and weaknesses as a rep...again, like many long time reps - some come and some go and some stay forever.

 

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19 minutes ago, BCoffee said:

Hello,

Wondering if anyone has had any experience buying art from the Artists Choice. I have had a couple of really strange experiences, and was wondering if this was typical.

A couple of years ago I messaged them about a page that was for sale on their site that I wanted to buy. I didn't hear back, and after a week I emailed them. they let me know they had me in the que and would be getting back to me shortly. After another week I emailed them again, they apologized but let me know there were other people ahead of me, and they would get back to me when they could. Finally after a month they let me know that the page had already been sold....

There have been two more times that I have tried to buy art from them that they have for sale on their website. They typically take weeks to get back to me, seem mildly annoyed that I check back in every couple of weeks, and then end up never finally following through with selling me a page, and after a couple of months, I give up. 

Is this normal? Is there a secret code word I'm not using? I've bought art from art reps and dealers with what appears to be a lot more inventory, and I can't think of anything going over a week for just getting the artwork sold. They seem to rep some pretty great artists, so I'm not sure why this hasn't come up as a problem. If I had people trying to buy my art, but getting roadblocked by my rep, I would think that would be a problem. 

Maybe my experience has just been a total anomaly?

As others have said, your experience is probably typical. Sorry.

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He has ignored requests for a while. I am always amazed at the shoddy business practices of the OA sales community (not all but enough).

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1 hour ago, comix4fun said:

Having dealt with Spencer since the late 90's here is my advice:

He's a one man show with tens of thousands of pages in inventory at any given time. If you attempt to purchase items during his famous year-end sales you are in good company. From past discussions with Spencer I know he receives orders from several hundred collectors and those orders amount to several thousand pages. He takes the orders in the order within which they are received. This is where the delay in response will occur.  The reason being, Spencer is an artist's representative, he's not a dealer. The items he sells are not his property. That means various artists may or may not have some or all of the listed inventory in THEIR possession and their availability must be confirmed on a piece by piece basis. Some of these artists are local to him but most are scattered around the globe. For the international artists he tries to keep as much of their inventory on hand as possible, but that is up to the artist to decide. 

Some reps have several employees, and others mandate all their artwork be kept in house. That may speed their response times. Many other reps don't have 50,000-100,000 pages in inventory at all times which also helps speed response times. 

Spencer goes through each order as I noted, confirming availability, invoicing and confirming the order, buyer by buyer. The dramatic nature of some of the discounts during his holiday sales are such that a feeding frenzy occurs with several potential buyers for each piece and an enormous order volume. Those discounts, however, are worth the patience they demand from the potential buyer. 

Aside from his annual sales Spencer has also begun, in the last few years, traveling to various conventions across the country and selling artwork there. If you happen to place an order while he's on the road he may not be able to get back to you substantively until he returns, runs inventory, and can confirm the piece(s) in question are still available. 

If you find yourself unable to get a response to an order I'd wager it's a situation of high order volume during the sale, or artwork being in the hands of the artist and its availability needing to be confirmed, or the artwork was part of the inventory taken to a convention and again its availability needing to be confirmed. 

So I wouldn't assume you're getting "roadblocked" by the rep in this situation, there are myriad potential reasons for any delay. 

When it comes to Spencer I always know he's someone I can trust explicitly in every single dealing I've ever had with him and that, in and of itself, in invaluable in this hobby. 

 

That’s fair. 

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I've bought a few pieces from Spencer during his Christmas sale.

I pick them out, make the request, and wait and eventually he gets back to me.

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Having gone through Spencer's stock he brought to a convention, I can attest what he's got for certain artists far exceeds what's on the website, and the hunt it seems is very, very real when sorting through requests from potential buyers. 

I've bought from him both on the site and in person. The site is quirky and the process ain't Amazon Prime, but communication was always clear and under promised and over-delivered in my book. Just have some patience. Or just go to a show he's at and hunker down wading through the pages yourself. 

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Spencer is also in the process of updating his website. He is a great person to deal with as I have had the pleasure of dealing with him at a convention. I've also bought from his website but cannot recall how much time he took to get back to me.

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14 hours ago, comix4fun said:

Having dealt with Spencer since the late 90's here is my advice:

He's a one man show with tens of thousands of pages in inventory at any given time. If you attempt to purchase items during his famous year-end sales you are in good company. From past discussions with Spencer I know he receives orders from several hundred collectors and those orders amount to several thousand pages. He takes the orders in the order within which they are received. This is where the delay in response will occur.  The reason being, Spencer is an artist's representative, he's not a dealer. The items he sells are not his property. That means various artists may or may not have some or all of the listed inventory in THEIR possession and their availability must be confirmed on a piece by piece basis. Some of these artists are local to him but most are scattered around the globe. For the international artists he tries to keep as much of their inventory on hand as possible, but that is up to the artist to decide. 

Some reps have several employees, and others mandate all their artwork be kept in house. That may speed their response times. Many other reps don't have 50,000-100,000 pages in inventory at all times which also helps speed response times. 

Spencer goes through each order as I noted, confirming availability, invoicing and confirming the order, buyer by buyer. The dramatic nature of some of the discounts during his holiday sales are such that a feeding frenzy occurs with several potential buyers for each piece and an enormous order volume. Those discounts, however, are worth the patience they demand from the potential buyer. 

Aside from his annual sales Spencer has also begun, in the last few years, traveling to various conventions across the country and selling artwork there. If you happen to place an order while he's on the road he may not be able to get back to you substantively until he returns, runs inventory, and can confirm the piece(s) in question are still available. 

If you find yourself unable to get a response to an order I'd wager it's a situation of high order volume during the sale, or artwork being in the hands of the artist and its availability needing to be confirmed, or the artwork was part of the inventory taken to a convention and again its availability needing to be confirmed. 

So I wouldn't assume you're getting "roadblocked" by the rep in this situation, there are myriad potential reasons for any delay. 

When it comes to Spencer I always know he's someone I can trust explicitly in every single dealing I've ever had with him and that, in and of itself, in invaluable in this hobby. 

 

This!

I've dealt with Spencer a few times over the years - he's slow, but faithful. His answers are terse and, some may feel, unfriendly, but he is not. He's honest, works hard for his artists, and is very straight-forward.

I enjoy working with him, but I understand that the situation is as comix4fun describes it.

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I've had a few dealings with Spencer, nothing recently.  His e-mail communications can come off as terse but he came through on all the transactions I've had with him, which ranged from art purchases, purchases during the sales, and a commission he facilitated for me.

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I have had success with contacting this year, and last - just prior to Heroes con (where he was setting up), with semi-daily replies.  I think it really depends on which art/artist you are inquiring about.  He keeps some of the art with him, while other artists keep their own inventory.  Arranging to pickup art , that he happened to have on-hand, was a breeze. 

But whenever he has to reach out to his artists, there can be a long (several week) delay.  Plus artists can loose track of their own art, either selling it or misfiling it at home, and Spencer will not update you while the artist is searching.  

Edited by Catwoman_Fan

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1 hour ago, Catwoman_Fan said:

I have had success with contacting this year, and last - just prior to Heroes con (where he was setting up), with semi-daily replies.  I think it really depends on which art/artist you are inquiring about.  He keeps some of the art with him, while other artists keep their own inventory.  Arranging to pickup art , that he happened to have on-hand, was a breeze. 

But whenever he has to reach out to his artists, there can be a long (several week) delay.  Plus artists can loose track of their own art, either selling it or misfiling it at home, and Spencer will not update you while the artist is searching.  

That's the sort of information that would be useful on a FAQ for a particular dealer. Ideally the dealer would be up-front with that info on his web site. "Note: some art pictured here is consigned by others who have physical possession, so responses may take 1-2 weeks in some cases."  Managing expectations is a huge part of good customer service.

But if dealers won't do that for us, threads like this help us do it for them. Should these be stickied to the top of the forum for each major dealer?

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On 2/21/2020 at 8:22 AM, shady64 said:

I've had a few dealings with Spencer, nothing recently.  His e-mail communications can come off as terse but he came through on all the transactions I've had with him, which ranged from art purchases, purchases during the sales, and a commission he facilitated for me.

Edit:  Will stay patient. . . . . . 

Edited by exitmusicblue

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Lot's of great and helpful advice here folks. Thank you so much.

I will try and have some grace for our friend Spencer and try again : )

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