"HAVE GOOD PEOPLE ALL AROUND YOU THAT WON'T SHY AWAY FROM CHALLENGES."
- Allan Hammond
This month I enjoyed talking with Alan Hammond, an art consultant based in the Sacramento area, about the art business, selecting appropriate pieces, and some of the challenges faced in this unique business.
Having worked in the art business for over 30 years, he has a wealth of knowledge and experience to share. And I’ve been the beneficiary of his experience with my wild horse art, as we’ve worked together on projects over the past few years. Whether you are an experienced collector, or just starting your art journey, you will appreciate some of the insights Alan has to offer.
Maria: First of all, thank you, Alan, for taking the time to talk about what you do. I know I’ve learned a lot from you in building my wild horse art business, as you’ve probably seen just about everything over your many years in the art business. Can you tell me a little about your background and what led you to get into art consulting?
Alan: Well, believe it or not, it was kind of an accident. I helped a friend of a friend move an art store into a mall and became enamored with it. He offered me a job, and that is where it all began - working in the Sunrise Mall selling posters and custom framing. From there I started framing, then managing and purchasing for the retail locations. This is where it got interesting, because I was amazed at how the demographics of an area dictated much of the art sold. This really opened my eyes. From that point on, we started an outside sales program. This took quite a while to get off the ground since it was such a new concept. I have to tip my hat to the interior designers that took me under their wings and taught me so much.
"OUR GOAL IS TO MAKE THE PROCESS PAINLESS FOR OUR CLIENTS"
Maria: You work with clients, both residential and commercial, all over the United States out of your Sacramento office. What services do you provide to clients and what does that process look like?
Alan: We do work everywhere! And it is quite a ride. First and foremost is SERVICE. My business coach told me there are three areas you can focus on: quality, customer
service and price. Pick TWO because you can’t do all three, so we choose quality and customer service.
Maria: Many times a client may not know exactly what they want for artwork. How do you go about uncovering what will suit them best, and selecting art that will appeal to their unique tastes?
Alan: Great question! That is the tricky part. If someone says “I’ll know it when it see it” …run.
That process could take years to break through. It is generally a bit of input from the client coupled with our experience, which will push us in a direction we can start from, and then expand from there. Keep in mind, that many clients we have worked with over 20 years, so there is nothing better than getting to know someone!
Maria: Last year we worked together on a large-scale piece for a client in Utah. I think about the challenges of not only creating such a large piece, but also the framing and transportation logistics. What has been the most challenging project you’ve ever consulted on?
Alan: OMG! Just that question cracks me up. That piece was so big that it required two people to install. We shipped the art, flew out, drove two hours to the client location; and it takes 10 minutes to hang the piece. I’ll never forget when we purchased a small sailboat from the 1800’s for a client and then he told us he wanted it suspended from his ceiling in the pool room. There is always the process of:
1. Pucker 2.HMMMM 3. OK we can do it. My main installer, Ronnie, can figure anything out!
From just the project standpoint itself, we once had to create a custom frame that was 20 feet long, 6 feet tall and 10” thick…that took a bit of engineering not only on the custom production but the delivery and installation as well. We had to build custom supports in the U-Haul that we could attach the piece to in order to not torque it during transportation.
Bottom line… have good people all around you that don’t shy away from challenges.
Maria: There is such a variety of not only art mediums, but also artists. How do you narrow the field of choices for your clients? Are there selection criteria you use to ensure that the art you deal in will meet your clients’ discerning standards?
Alan: What I find very important is that whatever you acquire…enjoy it! If it makes you feel good, then it’s right. That would be the best criteria. Much of how we present comes down to budget. Once we have that, we can move towards works that fit within it.
"IT'S ALL ABOUT THE RELATIONSHIPS.
IF HOME ISN'T WORKING, I DON'T HAVE A CHANGE OUT THERE."
When we work with individual artists, it is important they can be flexible and timely, because clients do not want aggravation in an art commission. If the artist presents too much chaos, they are not for us, it is that simple. Our goal is to make the process painless for our clients.
Maria: Do you have a favorite book about art or the art world?
Alan: COLOR by Victoria Finley….where does “color” come from? This was fascinating to me.
Maria: What has been the piece of advice that most influenced you in your life and business?
Alan: Now you’re going to make me cry. “Every year your definition of success will change, make sure you listen to it.” That is why the Pettiness Prayer by Mary Stuart was our wedding vow… it’s all about the relationships. If home life isn’t working, I don’t have a chance out there.
Maria: Well, this has been fun! As we wrap up, are there any parting insights for my clients and readers about art?
Alan: Enjoy it, don’t fear it. Who cares if we don’t know everything about everything, just be kind, then it all falls into place.
Maria: Thank you so much for your time today, Alan! I certainly learn something new every time I talk to you, and I’m sure my audience will as well.
You can view some of the projects Alan and I have worked on above. And there are more examples of what he does at HammondArtConsulting.com. I encourage you to take a look at his work!
An equestrian for most of her life, award winning photographer Maria Marriott combines her passion for horses with her art and the desire to bring public awareness to the American mustangs and the healing power of horses. Maria Marriott Photography is a proud supporter of non-profit organizations that tirelessly work to ensure the well-being of the American wild horses and promote healing through equine therapy.
FOLLOW THE JOURNEY