SO YOU WANT TO BE IN A GALLERY..
But you don't know how to go about it. What do you do, say and present to them? DON'T be intimidated by the process, but DO expect to receive rejections along the way. It may be simply that your type of art does not fit their gallery concept or they are just don't have room for another artist. Unfortunately, some can be rude and unkind in their response to your inquiry so you need to develop thick skin. And, there can be several, sometimes many rejections, before you are accepted. But, when you succeed in landing gallery representation it will all have been worth it! Just remember, having a gallery represent you DOES NOT necessarily mean that you are suddenly successful.
First of all, I say that because art at a gallery is usually expensive thus sales are slower, plus they charge on average a 50% commission on each sale. On the flip side, you have more prestige and can command a higher price as an artist with representation. They may also handle sales of prints of your work. That can be a good money maker. Actually, print sales are the bulk of money made by artists!
Previously, I have spoken about creating an "artist statement"and "biography." These are necessary when approaching a gallery. And of course you need a digital portfolio of your work to present to the gallery as well. But the most important is a POSITIVE and CONGENIAL ATTITUDE! And, be sure you know something about the gallery you approach. They appreciate it and you won't be wasting your time or theirs if your work isn't compatible with the style of art they promote.
Another thing that is especially good to have is any and all feedback from sales. Try to get photos of your sold art hanging in it"s new home and especially testimonials from your satisfied collectors! This impresses galleries and are some of the things they want to see in your portfolio. So, ask to either go and take pictures or ask them to send it to you. Your photo would probably be better though if they are willing and you are able. And ASK for the testimonial, don't be shy! Get it in writing!
Teaching is another thing galleries like to see, even if you have taught one person a few times, you can be considered a teacher, you just wouldn't want to emphasize the number of times in that case.
If you would like a step-by-step guide on how to get gallery representation, I would recommend the book "STARVING TO SUCCESSFUL" by Jason Horejs. (pronounced Horsh) ($24.95+sh) He owns the Xanadu Art Gallery in Scottsdale, Arizona. It is a high-end gallery that represents mostly cutting edge art. he has a blog that I have mentioned previously. I also recommend that you subscribe to it as well. It is reddotblog.com
THIS WEEKEND ONLY, there will be a lower charge for Jason's workshop on how to get into a gallery. He normally charges $109 for it but he has reduced it to $79, again, for this weekend only. The workshop itself is recorded for your convenience, so you can listen in several sessions if you choose. I highly recommend it as I have taken it!
His gallery has a website Xanadugallery.com where artists are invited to apply for representation in his online gallery. It is free to apply. Simply fill out the form, submit jpg photos of your artwork and then you may be juried (qualified) into his community of artists. Your photos need to be to very good and you need a good image of yourself as well. If you are invited to join, you may list as much art as you like and they only charge 20% commission for any sales made online. They have computers at the physical gallery so any customers may go check out available art online as well. This is a really nice provision he has made available to artists. Hopefully other galleries will eventually follow suit.
Seek out venues to show your art! Look for Cultural Councils and art associations all around your area, plein air groups, etc. Have business cards made up and give them to EVERYONE! I keep cards and my biography/art statement with my photo wherever I show my art. I have had people take the bio off the wall, so it was that I added a holder with cards for them to take. People like business cards! I even glue my cards to the back of each piece of art I sell. With each print is sell, I also slip in my bio and a card. ADVERTISE, ADVERTISE, ADVERTISE! Also, strike up conversations with anyone who works around art or is another artist. They may know of people to approach, most are willing to share.
I was talking to the gentleman in charge of Community Education the other day. Turns out he is on the board of the Cultural Council here in our area. He just happened to mention to me that the new county administration building here has a rotunda that is being used to feature artists every few months! Of course, I immediately asked him how to become a featured artist! He said what they usually say, "JUST ASK" and gave me the card for the person to call. Now, I will say in this case, that one must meet their qualifications, but he sent the assistant director in to look at my work and she liked it. So needless to say, I will pursue this venue further!
In the meantime we all need to work on building up at least 25 pieces of artwork that are consistent in material, colors or subject for a portfolio to present to any potential galleries, etc. This is important as they want to see that we can produce a consistent quality of work and quantity that will keep them supplied for potential collectors. So we are all busy! I actually have produced over 150 pieces of art this past year. Of that number, 44 have sold and 54 were miniature gifts for students and friends. Currently, I have 50 paintings ranging in size from 5 x 7 up to 48 x 60. Some are on display in four locations and others are sitting around my home waiting to be sold or painted over. Oh yes, we all paint over old paintings we are not happy with. Even the masters did that. Materials are far too expensive to do anything else. So don't ever throw away a canvas you aren't happy with, just gesso over it and start again. That is assuming that you have let it set for a while and studied it, deeming it unfixable. Don't be quick to paint over it though as a couple weeks, even months later you may look at it see that a fairly simple change could make it suddenly beautiful!
Below is an older painting I did for a friend. It is 11 x 14 on canvas board. I like this painting so much that I have decided to do another much larger version. I just like the feeling of mystery that entices you to take "A WALK IN THE WOODS"!
|"A WALK IN THE WOODS"|
11 X 14
Acrylic on canvas panel