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What interior designers should know before they begin working with an art advisor.

August 09, 2022

Breaking down the process so you benefit.

From the creative collaborations, monthly meetings, and new concept ideations, to handing over the project management, payments, and deliveries, working with an an expert art advisor to discover artwork and design objects for your clients should be an empowering experience. Here’s what you need to know to make sure it is.

Many interior professionals have never worked with an art advisor before so when they finally do they may not know what to expect. An art advisor’s job is to source quality artwork and/or design objects for your residential and commercial clients based on your project. Similar to designers, they learn the scope of the project and use their expertise to gather targeted objects to review for purchase and placement. In addition, they manage custom projects plus artwork delivery, framing, and installation (whenever possible). And just like your other vendors, you are their client. They do not meet with or work directly with your client, unless you direct them to.

That was easy. Now onto a few more nuanced details that will affect how you work together:

Cream Geometric Painting


by Graceann Warn exhibited in a local gallery.

Advisors run their business in a similar fashion to design professionals.

When you talk to an art advisor about your client’s project and you hand them the specs and samples, do not assume that they are going to begin sourcing artwork immediately. Just as you do not begin a project until an agreement is signed, an art advisor deserves to have a legal commitment to the project, too.


An art advising business is a relationship business.

Some designers or their clients may not want to sign an agreement with an art advisor without seeing the type of artwork they can procure, first. That’s understandable. However, the advisor is not going to put in dozens of hours of uncompensated time for the project without a guarantee of actually BEING on the project.

Would you?

But they also understand that earning your trust is important and that even if this particular project doesn’t move forward with them on it, another one will. So they may agree to informally send you 3-5 images of good fit artwork to help dispel any concerns before a contract is signed.

Cream Geometric Painting

After Midnight We Could Feel it All

14″H X 11″W
Spray paint and acrylic painting

Having a confirmed budget from your client is necessary for any art advisor.

There is such wide swath of art prices for similar products that an advisor cannot effectively begin a project without budget clarity.

If you have not spoken with your client about adding art to their design project, the art advisor will wait until you get confirmation. For two reasons: 1.) It’s easier for them to pinpoint the best artwork when they have a price range. 2.) They cannot fill in their agreement without a budget.

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It’s not about selling art but about bringing the RIGHT art.

Matching artwork with a client and helping an artist get their work out into the wider world is extremely important to an art advisor so they will not settle when sourcing art for your residential, commercial, or hospitality projects. They won’t offer your client “good enough” just to get a quick sale. They (should) take incredible pride in the artwork they present and they want your clients to LOVE the pieces they purchase!

Cream Geometric Painting

Large Gold Bowl

10″H X 15″W X 15″D
Brass EDM wire

Art advisors understand how important the artist and the stories are.

An art advisor will present dozens of beautiful works of art that will grab your client’s attention but they realize that there must be more beneath the surface of the pieces.

Your art advisor should personally know each and every artist they represent to you. They should have had conversations, toured their studio, learned about their art practice, sales demographics, and future goals.

And an art advisor will expect a story (a “why”) for each artwork presented to your client because your client will want to truly connect with the art they purchase. The visual aesthetic may draw them in but a story that resonates can help seal the deal. 

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Figurative Bronze Sculpture

Classical Studies, Catherine

36″H X 12″W X 10″D
Bronze, Stone

Art advisors know that sourcing art is a lengthy process and are willing to put in the time. However…

Art advisors’ projects can take any where from 3-6 months or more depending on the scope and the type of artwork needed. They have an idea of how long they reasonably need to find enough options to choose from and do not mind a slight alteration that affect the project timeline.

However, if your client continually changes their mind about what they want and where they want it, or you decide to edit the art style completely after the original project scope was confirmed and artwork sourced, the art advisor will not get paid for the extra work necessary to look for completely new pieces. In that case, they may ask for a retainer to move forward with the new/different project scope.

This article was written by Andrea Bogart, founder and lead art advisor of Embrace Creatives.

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For help finding the right artwork reach out to Andrea here.  Interior professionals can easily request white glove art consulting or custom artworks.


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