Some of you might know, others might not that I opened a gallery in Downtown Winnipeg last year. We started as a pop-up and have moved to another location. Things have been going well and it has been a great experience. Another opportunity came up in Toronto and I moved out here. Running the gallery was a great experience, and I learned a lot.
Being on both sides as an artist who is in galleries and now a gallery owner that sells other artist's works (as well as my own), I thought I would share my tips on how to get your art in gallery and quite frankly sell it.
10. Have Your Work Visible. I need to see your work before we can accept it. All artists should have an online portfolio of some kind. It doesn't have to be much, but, again I need to see your work first.
9. Make An Appointment. When our gallery is open we're are busy helping customers and of course selling artwork. A simple email is all I generally need to set aside some time to talk about an artist's works.
8. Promote Yourself. Keep in mind when a gallery represents any artist they are entering into a business partnership with said artist. Personally, I want to see an artist who is active getting their work out there.
7. It's Not Personal. Unfortunately, rejections are just a part of the game. Galleries have to look at the saleability of an artist's work as well as the quality of it. Sometimes, the work is just not the right fit for the gallery itself, but their is probably other galleries where it is.
6. Don't Give Up. Keep trying. Personally, I think I have been rejected so many times I have lost count, but I succeed because I am willing to fail. On a personal, note please don't spam people.
5. Attitude Counts. A positive attitude will get you places. Don't get me wrong, your work should be really good, but artists who are easy to deal with tend to go further then artist's who are not.
4. Follow Submission Guidelines. This is pretty straight forward, but it is so surprising how many artists actually fail to follow submission guidelines (over 60% in my experience!).
3. Do What It Takes. Being an artist is ridiculously hard at the best of times. Be willing to go further and push yourself harder than everybody else. Doing that will get people's attention and will eventually bring success.
2. Be Persistent. Never be afraid to follow up on a submission. We get so many emails it is easy for one to be misplaced. A friendly email following up is a good idea. It also shows the gallery owner you are serious.
1. Be a Professional. If the plan is to become a professional artist and/or advance your career, act the part.
Like anything the key is sheer and utter determination, that is the path to success.
I welcome your comments and questions below.