HOW TO APPROACH AN ART GALLERY WITH YOUR ARTWORK:
So, now that you have built up a collection of artwork, you may be dreaming about being showcased in an art gallery. This may seem a little daunting because artists are usually humble people and often lack the marketing skills or confidence to approach a gallery director to represent themselves as a serious artist.
I am an artist who has shown in galleries but I'm a rare breed because I have also worked in art sales and I've been an art gallery director. I decided to write this editorial to offer perspectives from both the artist and the gallery with a view to offer useful advice and information to help artists successfully approach a gallery with their work.
I HOPE THE FOLLOWING TIPS WILL HELP YOU ON YOUR JOURNEY:
First though, let's think about this scenario from the perspective of the gallery director.
The roles of the director are broad but essentially they are to show artists that fit into the gallery's 'theme' and to promote and sell their work while building relationships with customers and to generate sales.
A potential customer can walk through the gallery's doors at any time without notice. Therefore it is imperative that the director and sales staff are always available to give their attention to those potential customers. This is why it is a very bad idea to just walk in with armfuls of artwork without an appointment because firstly it would be very disrespectful and without it's a very quiet day, you will not get the time and attention that you seek.
BEFORE YOU APPROACH AN ART GALLERY ASK YOURSELF THIS:
Does my artistic style and subject matter fit within the style and direction of the gallery?
For example: If the gallery you are considering is showing only European figurative subjects by published artists and you paint local landscapes, your style and subject matter might not be easy to fit in with the 'style and direction' of the gallery. But do not be afraid to talk to the director because he / she will probably know of a gallery or outlet that will be better suited to showcase and hopefully sell your personal style.
Before we get to meeting with the Gallery director we should first:
Write A Personal Biography And Print It On One Side Of Some High Quality Paper: Outline your history and anything relevant to your growth as an artist. Talk about why you paint. Try to describe your style. Refer to artists or other things that may have inspired or affected you. Mention if you're self-taught or basically trained. Include your best photo at the top. Mention any art contests or rewards you may have won. Make your bio easy to read, unique and honest because your bio is intended to make a 'personal connection' with the reader.
make a professional business card . Include a graphic of your art, your name, contact numbers, web site address and any social media link.
Print Quality Postcard Size Color Samples Of Your Finest Art.
Build A Web Site Or Link To An Online Portfolio .
Here Are Two Good Ways To Present Your Work To An Art Gallery:
1. Show your actual painted canvases or printed portfolio.
2. Offer your business card and marketing materials with a link to your web site.
FIRST OPTION: If you plan to show your actual canvases or printed portfolio, I recommend that you first call the gallery to introduce yourself and set up an appointment. You will benefit as much as the gallery because they will allot a convenient time to spend with you. Be yourself, be honest and always leave a quality print or prints of your best work, your bio and business card so that you may be contacted. I do not recommend asking for a critique unless you enjoy and can handle criticism. (Personally, I refused to give critiques)
SECOND OPTION : Is to briefly introduce yourself while you are already visiting the gallery without an appointment. Be brief in your introduction and show the gallery full respect by not distracting the staff from any potential customers and sales. Leave them your biography, business card with link to your web site and any postcard prints of your work. They can look at your web site at their convenience when the gallery is less busy and if they are impressed with your work and think there is a market for it they will be contacting you.
As an artist I never enjoyed rejection from a gallery but doing the rejecting was equally unpleasant. Do not be pushy and hard sell your work. They know what sells and what they like so if they like you and your art they will tell you!
BELIEVE IN YOUR ART:
Even if you are not accepted it does not mean that you were not good enough. I hear artists telling them that they're just not good enough. I still do it myself sometimes but remember, there will always be people who will not get your art or they will dislike it for some very personal reason no matter how technically brilliant you become! Accept that your art is a constant evolving journey, so embrace every flaw and every brush stroke of genius because 'feeling' is what most of us want to convey and that does not always require perfection.
Good luck with your journey in paint.