Art Galleries?

Could VN use more art?

I'm an established artist based out of Seattle, WA and I am currently researching locations to open an art gallery in the near future. I traveled to many cities in the world but Saigon really seems to be the best fit. I tried looking for other art galleries in the city but they appear to be sparse, and the ones that I did find were rather conservative and basic. It appeared to me that HCM could use some more art. Especially more contemporary edgy art (think street art). Does this seem to be true, or is the market already over saturated? Or is there something I'm missing..

In the long term I would like the business to specialize in showcasing work from the states, and vice versa. i.e. helping VN artists show their work in the states.

Thanks

trillax :

Could VN use more art?

I'm an established artist based out of Seattle, WA and I am currently researching locations to open an art gallery in the near future. I traveled to many cities in the world but Saigon really seems to be the best fit. I tried looking for other art galleries in the city but they appear to be sparse, and the ones that I did find were rather conservative and basic. It appeared to me that HCM could use some more art. Especially more contemporary edgy art (think street art). Does this seem to be true, or is the market already over saturated? Or is there something I'm missing..

In the long term I would like the business to specialize in showcasing work from the states, and vice versa. i.e. helping VN artists show their work in the states.

Thanks

I'm just wondering to whom you plan to market?

It seems to me that foreigners coming here and buying Western art are likely looking to get a bargain, so I doubt you can charge anywhere near premium prices.

So if you are used to selling something at about a $5,000.00 price point, my gut tells me that the same item would probably require at least a 50 percent discount here, maybe more.

I'm not saying your art wouldn't be welcome.

I'm just saying it's probably going to be very difficult making the types of profits you are used to.

Once it's established, make sure you register your company in the business directory here.

Have you heard of the website Internations. com?

I recommend getting a paying account there and starting to network, even long distance.

Since you will likely need a Vietnamese business partner anyway in order to be legal, you might get lucky and find someone who is a good fit for establishing a new studio.

Also, another guess on my part, I would probably look at sinking more money into a high quality website and less money into a brick and mortar location.

Local citizens and travelers are married to their smart devices, and a well thought out campaign on Facebook and other social media platforms could likely drive a lot of traffic to you from all over the country.

Another thing I've seen do well here is coffee shops married to bookstores.

IF I were attempting to do what you envision, I would marry an art gallery with a jazz music club.

Just my wild ideas.

Good luck!

I agree with oceanbeach, I can't see who your market would be. Westerners generally want bargains and it's doubtful if the Vietnamese are going to spend much on "edgy modern art".
I also think the idea of marrying a gallery to a coffee shop or bookstore is good, I can already think of a guitar shop in Hanoi which is also a coffee shop.

OceanBeach92107 :

I'm just wondering to whom you plan to market?

It seems to me that foreigners coming here and buying Western art are likely looking to get a bargain, so I doubt you can charge anywhere near premium prices.

So if you are used to selling something at about a $5,000.00 price point, my gut tells me that the same item would probably require at least a 50 percent discount here, maybe more.

.....

Another thing I've seen do well here is coffee shops married to bookstores.

IF I were attempting to do what you envision, I would marry an art gallery with a jazz music club.

Thank you so much for your detailed feedback, this is all very helpful! I especially like your idea about marrying it to something else like a bookstore. I previously suspected that that might be a good idea, maybe marrying it to a bar, cafe, or sushi (I have extensive experience with all these).

I had previously envisioned that my target market would be current VN businesses, and residents secondarily. For example, artwork used in hotels, restaurants, and condos. There are a lot of businesses that need art but because of expensive shipping costs it seems difficult for them to get any art that is from outside VN. Not only would I be able to supply art made by myself but I would also be able to supply some art made by others in the states. This is basically what I've already been doing in Seattle for some years now, I just didn't have a brick and mortar shop. It was all online, and gallery gigs.

I already have some friends and connections there, but yeah I will still do more networking. Did you mean to say internations. org? .com doesn't seem to work.

After I get a business partner and open up shop I would ideally like to live there. But from my research it seems that you can't do that. But recently VN government seems to be becoming more relaxed about foreign investment, so maybe this will change. But at the least, it seems having a VN business should allow me to make extended visits beyond the current 1 month limit.

And yeah I'm okay with the price point decrease

Malcolmleitrim :

I agree with oceanbeach, I can't see who your market would be. Westerners generally want bargains and it's doubtful if the Vietnamese are going to spend much on "edgy modern art".
I also think the idea of marrying a gallery to a coffee shop or bookstore is good, I can already think of a guitar shop in Hanoi which is also a coffee shop.

\

Thanks for the feedback  :D  Yeah I wasn't really aiming for westerners, more towards VN local businesses, like condos, hotels, restaurants, etc.  But yeah I really like the idea about marrying it to something else. Probably I good way to go.

trillax :
OceanBeach92107 :

I'm just wondering to whom you plan to market?

It seems to me that foreigners coming here and buying Western art are likely looking to get a bargain, so I doubt you can charge anywhere near premium prices.

So if you are used to selling something at about a $5,000.00 price point, my gut tells me that the same item would probably require at least a 50 percent discount here, maybe more.

.....

Another thing I've seen do well here is coffee shops married to bookstores.

IF I were attempting to do what you envision, I would marry an art gallery with a jazz music club.

Thank you so much for your detailed feedback, this is all very helpful! I especially like your idea about marrying it to something else like a bookstore. I previously suspected that that might be a good idea, maybe marrying it to a bar, cafe, or sushi (I have extensive experience with all these).

I had previously envisioned that my target market would be current VN businesses, and residents secondarily. For example, artwork used in hotels, restaurants, and condos. There are a lot of businesses that need art but because of expensive shipping costs it seems difficult for them to get any art that is from outside VN. Not only would I be able to supply art made by myself but I would also be able to supply some art made by others in the states. This is basically what I've already been doing in Seattle for some years now, I just didn't have a brick and mortar shop. It was all online, and gallery gigs.

I already have some friends and connections there, but yeah I will still do more networking. Did you mean to say internations. org? .com doesn't seem to work.

After I get a business partner and open up shop I would ideally like to live there. But from my research it seems that you can't do that. But recently VN government seems to be becoming more relaxed about foreign investment, so maybe this will change. But at the least, it seems having a VN business should allow me to make extended visits beyond the current 1 month limit.

And yeah I'm okay with the price point decrease

Since you are a US Citizen, you are the kind of person the 1 Year DN Business Visa is intended for.

"Could VN use more art?"
I don't think they are ready yet.

I doubt that some random modern art, especially 'street art', what is that,  like graffiti or Basquiat or Keith Haring stuff? at any price, would move here. There are a couple high end galleries in the downtown tourist and rich area, more like fancy show-off art and portraits. I think I am correct in assuming Vietnamese do not learn about art in school,  I doubt many appreciate the indulgent "sophisticated" trends of European and American art. Like most poor countries, art is the luxury of luxuries. I haven't seen original art in houses or hotels. (Thailand yes in hotels, a wealthier market there.)
Do you know what Asian people in general like? Any Asian I knew in the states didn't like modern styles.

There is an 'art street' in District 5 that has about 40 stores selling very similar art, for Vietnamese people, few tourists find it. Very inexpensive. You can see the artists in there too, sitting on the floor in the heat copying things. Asian and western landscapes, Asian flowers, copies of Klimt are popular, some contemporary music stars etc.  Go into google maps, search for this, and drop the yellow man on the street It is one way, walk along the south side of the two long blocks at the east end :
"Trần Phú, District 5, Ho Chi Minh City"

I found only one store on that street, called "Art", that had originals. Owner painter has an impressionist style. I bought a picture of lily pads. Wife's family (only art in the house is a calendar) doesn't think much of it, "too dark and expensive".  I'm thrilled with my bargain, $100 framed. You would do better to import than export.

gobot :

"Could VN use more art?"
I don't think they are ready yet.

I doubt that some random modern art, especially 'street art', what is that,  like graffiti or Basquiat or Keith Haring stuff? at any price, would move here. There are a couple high end galleries in the downtown tourist and rich area, more like fancy show-off art and portraits. I think I am correct in assuming Vietnamese do not learn about art in school,  I doubt many appreciate the indulgent "sophisticated" trends of European and American art. Like most poor countries, art is the luxury of luxuries. I haven't seen original art in houses or hotels. (Thailand yes in hotels, a wealthier market there.)
Do you know what Asian people in general like? Any Asian I knew in the states didn't like modern styles.

......

I found only one store on that street, called "Art", that had originals. Owner painter has an impressionist style. I bought a picture of lily pads. Wife's family (only art in the house is a calendar) doesn't think much of it, "too dark and expensive".  I'm thrilled with my bargain, $100 framed. You would do better to import than export.

Thanks for the helpful input Gobot. You make a good point--that art like this might be too difficult to move, and might not be appreciated, not enough demand. I thought before that maybe they aren't interested because they don't have access to it, maybe if they saw it in person they might appreciate it more.. however on reflection that might be a big 'if'. Maybe too risky   

ps. this is the type of art I am referring to --> claudiusphaedrus dot com (my work)

I can see by a lot of your chosen subject matter why you would want to come to this part of the world.  It's what you enjoy.

trillax :

this is the type of art I am referring to...

Nice.

Now that I can see what you do, *my gut instinct* is that Ho Chi Minh City is the wrong place for you to start.

If I were you, I would first check out Hanoi or Hoi An.

Very nice work, but I can't see a market for it here, I'm afraid.

When I think about it, a much better business model would be to live in Vietnam and sell your art in the USA.

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