Friday, July 26, 2013

Presenting Your Artwork to Galleries

I want to share a few tips to artists who want to present their artwork to galleries.  These are only suggestions and may not apply to all galleries.  These are just a few pointers to get you started and they are not necessarily in order.

~ Remember that this is the same thing as applying for a job. Presentation is important, first impressions are important, quality of work is important, a good attitude is important.

~ Visit the gallery.  I mean actually go there and walk around.  See if your work would be a good fit or not ~ subject, medium, scale, price range.  If possible, even say “hello”.  There is no reason to introduce yourself or even tell the owners that you are an artist.  Just act like you are interested in what they have to sell.  They will remember you.

~ Ask yourself what is your motivation for wanting to be in that particular gallery.  The obvious answer is money, but sometimes exposure is just as important. And just because you have wonderful artwork, does not mean that people are in the market for it.  It is not the gallery's fault if your work does not sell.

~ Check out the gallery’s website.  Do they have requirements for submitting work?  Follow those guidelines first.

~ Make an appointment.  Gallery owners do not just sit around twittering their thumbs waiting for you to come in.  They are busy and have deadlines – make an appointment!

~ Find out what the gallery wants you to bring.  Don’t just show up with your phone expecting them to scroll over a hundred images.  Have the pieces professional finished, as if they were ready to hang or exhibit. Bring a resume, business cards, a bio, whatever else you feel will sell yourself.

~ Remember that they may be the only person working, so if a customer comes in, plan on waiting.

~ Remember that no matter how much you value your artwork, there already has been a hundred (or a thousand) artists before you trying to sell their work to that same gallery.

~ Remember that most galleries schedule shows years in advance.  Do not think that you are going to walk in and have your work hanging there the next week.  You have to wait your turn, particularly in smaller venues.

~ Ask what their policies are on commission, advertising, insurance, removal, receptions, and scheduling.

~ Please do not be rude to the gallery owners and then expect them to call you for a show.  We do not forget.  

I am sure there are many more suggestions out there.  I will be adding this to my website and will add additional comments or suggestions.

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