Saturday, 30 June 2007

Gallery Representation?

Are you looking for gallery representation?

Alyson B. Stanfield at's "Art marketing secrets, resources and motivation..." offers some worthwhile tips, plus links to others, including:

"...sending full-color postcards with terrific photos of your work three or four times a year...think of this as a long-term process...Visit Art Galleries First...nothing is more annoying to a gallery than solicitations from artists who don't fit with their stable of artists and exhibitions...asking for artist submission guidelines is the only way to ensure you are sending in the correct takes an average of nine (9!) contacts for someone to buy something from you, visit your Web site, or just do business with you!"

Here's an interesting discussion on the WetCanvas forums, including:

"...The first thing I learned about galleries is that I have to be a professional. The second thing is that nothing else matters if they think they can make money off me. That is that you should try to present yourself and your artwork in the most professional way possible. Show them that you mean business and that you will still be around next year. They cannot make money if you decide you want to be a tractor driver next month, so prove to them that you are willing to invest in your art, and they will be willing to invest too. Get your art professionally photographed, get a professional resume, and bio, and follow-up, follow-up, follow-up!"

and: "...galleries require an artist's bio, or ..uh-hem... (using snooty tone of voice now)- a "Curriculum Vitae" that they have a ready sales pitch for the deep pocket but ignorant buyer. They want to know who of any importance, (if any), went so far as to purchase your work! This convinces the possible buyer they are not so far off base considering buying your work too!"

At, Douglas Ready,an artist and illustrator living in Seattle, Washington, USA, has some really interesting things to say: "The truth is that only a very small percentage of working artists will ever acquire gallery representation. A much smaller percentage will acquire adequate gallery representation. And, even if you're successful in finding that one gallery with which you can build a working relationship, the gallery won't do all the work. You need to check in regularly with the owner, build a rapport, meet potential buyers, attend openings, and reassure yourself that enough is being done to promote your work. In fact to insure success in a gallery environment you'll need to promote yourself at least as much as before you secured gallery representation..."!

and: "Galleries are only interested in art they believe they can sell, and there is only one known manner of proving your work will sell: somebody has to have bought some of it, preferably a good many pieces of it. An adequate gallery will work with the artist to build his client list, but very few of them are much interested in starting from scratch. Securing reputable gallery representation without an existing client list is virtually impossible."!

Douglas Ready's work has been used for advertising, iillustrated books and magazines, greeting cards, posters and colouring books.

A rather controversial article by Robert C Wittig at EBSQArt states: "...If a painter is to pursue his or her profession more than a few hours per week, in their spare time, they must find the means to bring their production to the public... to trade their work for food and shelter. If a painter is not a member of the ArtWorld culture, his or her chances of having their work represented by an ArtWorld gallery is vanishingly small... especially if that work is representational in nature..."

The Australian artforum's gallery representation discussion includes: "...Artist-run-galleries are a great starting point on the road to gaining commercial gallery representation. Before I got representation I had 3 solo shows and numerous group shows in ARIs and I believe it's the best way to gain experience and exposure... aris are ghreat for those who for whatever reason can't or don't want to gain commercial representation..." and: " the Art Almanac to see the Accepting Proposals ads - normally around this time of year and around Feb or March you will find plenty of ads..." and: "...In the meantime I have been researching galleries (art almanac, what can I say!) to find shortlists of ones I am interested, joined their mailling lists and am going along to openings and things. it's good to get out there, see what they have and work on nursing that one glass of wine while schmoozing..."

Tracy Dods, at the Australian ABC's Catapult's Ask an Expert, advises: "...document your work. Good photographic representation with size and medium underneath is a good habit to get in to also when you have many galleries representing you it helps you keep track of where everything is..."


andrea said...

Good post and thanks for the link to the Douglas Ready article -- interesting reading. For the flip side of the gallery biz, visit

Abby Creek Art said...

Thanks for the great comments on my blog, Bronwyn! By the way...your portrait of Marina is beatiful and precious.

Aaron said...

Great post! Alyson's stuff is really spot on.
Sharing here: I found a great resource recently called
Mailing Aide
It saved me tons of time gathering gallery contacts for my submissions and postcards/packets. I am selling a lot more now.