An artist wrote, “I would like to find a gallery but I’m not sure where to start. Do you have a system for narrowing down choices and how to actually do it?”
Thanks. First, you’ll need to understand what galleries are looking for in you: a cohesive vision, archival quality, steady production, some kind of exclusivity, a signature style, point of view and professional support materials, among others. Next, assuming you’ve got a top-notch body of work you’re ready to send out into the world, you’ll want to make a shortlist of your own critical questions. As with any venture, a plan allows you to create a detailed vision of what you want. “Quietly go about your own agenda,” my Dad told me, when he noticed the arrows flying from all directions. Here are a few critical questions:
What would you like to happen to your art?
How much new work can you make in a year?
Do you have a set pricelist that reflects your level of experience and sales?
Do you have perfect, colour-accurate and labelled digital images?
Where do you see your work going in the next 12 months? 5 years? 10 years?
Questions for galleries:
Do they accept artist submissions?
How many artists do they represent?
Is the quality and style of the art of existing artists in a vein with your work without conflicting or competing?
Does the gallery style of presentation align with yours?
What is the gallery’s programming? Do they do studio visits, museum or public art proposals, media kits? Does the gallery work with designers? Do they do art fairs? Do they print catalogues, books or other reproductions? Do they have a record of critical reviews or other press?
While these may seem like lofty or insignificant factors based on your own personal goals, the answers can probably be found by looking at their website and a few quick searches on google. It pays to do a little research and most galleries appreciate the preparation. The thing about galleries is that everyone is invited to visit in person. It should all start by attending an opening, where you can quietly soak up the vibe and catch a glimpse of whether or not you can see yourself there. Then the striving, or I should say planning, begins.
Remember that the gallery business is a people business. The gallery professionals in our world are like us — varied, unique and totally individual. Find your people, do your best work and make a plan.
PS: “Plan your work and work your plan.” (Napoleon Hill)
Esoterica: Showing in a gallery is only one way for an artist to share her work with the world. Many different models of distribution and exhibition are available. Local arts councils, public galleries, not-for-profits, artist-run spaces, studio tours and pop-ups can all garner enthusiastic audiences. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, an online social media platform is a terrific way to share what you’re up to in real time. The galleries and collectors are out there looking and sharing, too.
“Never trust an art dealer who’ll sit in a room for more than ten minutes with a crooked picture.” (Brett Whiteley)
Participants will have 6 days to explore and immerse themselves in the ancient art of Batik. There will be a $30 materials fee. The instructor is renowned artist Dikki Van Helsland, who has taught throughout the US and Germany. She is represented by several galleries in Arizona.
The workshop fee is $750 with required accommodations at the historic B & B, Rancho Santa Cruz. For workshop registration contact Dikki at 1-520-399-2703 or email@example.com.
Reservations for the ranch accommodations are 1-520-955-3718 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Deadline for the workshop is Sept. 20 with a $300 deposit, nonrefundable after Oct.1