Authority is “… the confident quality of someone who knows a lot about something or who is respected by other people.” [dictionary definition]

This blog is about ‘authority’ in the art world.

I set myself the task of writing this post concerning ‘authority’ because there is a new face in town. A brand new sheriff for the art world. And the new authority is [drumroll for effect] the GSA.

GSA logo

GSA stands for Guild Society of Artists.

It’s a new branch of the established, well known, and international Fine Art Trade Guild, also known as The Guild.

The GSA is established with the aim of providing ‘authority’ to artists and others in the art world, based on the massive experience and respect that already exists inside the FATG as a whole.

There are four categories of artist membership of the Society.

Member, Associate, Qualified, and Fellowship. I will explore this subject more fully in future blog posts.

The Guild, an established authority in the art world.

I want to focus on the ‘authority’ of the Fine Art Trade Guild as a whole. This authority can be used as a guide for artists who want to gain art business knowledge and further their creative goals.

The Guild membership includes artists, art dealers, publishers, equipment providers, printers, picture framers, gallery owners, writers and critics. So the range of experience is vast. The Guild has members in 30 odd different countries but was founded, and has the HQ, in the UK in London. It dates back to 1700 or 1800 and something, initially as a printmakers association, changing the name into the Fine Art Trade Guild over a hundred years ago at the start of the last century. So they have an interesting history, and tons of experience to share.

The Guild is a major contributor to international standards in the fine art business. Print publishing criteria, picture-framing qualifications, and image copyright protection are good examples.

But, here is the crucial point, the Guild has always reflected the power base of the fine art industry as a whole. Up until quite recently, the main seat of authority in the industry has been dominated by dealers and publishers. Artists were lone creative individuals making their art product, whilst the art business was run by others.

The worm has turned.

In recent years new factors have emerged. The Internet and self-publishing are the most obvious. This has changed the potential status of artists in the industry. The new Guild Society of Artists has been especially formed to recognize this fact.

Artists can now be very independent, no longer with the need to rely on dealers and galleries to promote their artwork. Nowadays the Internet provides new and instant access to billions of interested eyes and ears across the world. And new technology has enabled highest quality self-publishing so the iron grip of established publishers has been loosened. This means that a new breed of artists must recognize the opportunity and urgency that small-business self-sufficiency provides and needs.

The GSA has been created to cater to artists who want to develop from part-time or amateur towards competent professional.

This opportunity means that all artists are included. It is about standards, professional efficiency, and breadth of knowledge within the art industry.

The established and long running Fine Art Trade Guild has that range of expertise inside the current membership. Artists who want to be more successful can tap into the authority provided by the new Guild Society of Artists.

Here is the link to find out more.

Statement of my personal interest.

I have been a member of the Fine Art Trade Guild for 20 years or more. I served on the Court as a company director for around 12 years. Firstly as chair-person of the Printers and Publishers Committee and finishing with five years on the Executive. In 2008 I was elected and served as Chair of the Board, or ‘Master of the Guild’.

The Guild has a worldwide membership of all sorts of people in the Fine Art Business. There are various committees that represent the different interests.

There is another powerful Committee for the framers for instance.

I continue as a member of the Fine Art Committee, which represents the artists and art dealers in the Guild. Artists are at one end of the spectrum. Whether we are top of the heap or bottom of the pile is another issue. [joke and hollow laugh]. But things are changing.


Also see Art Biz Secrets Part One by Colin Ruffell on Amazon

And Art Biz Secrets Part Two by Colin Ruffell on Amazon