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What Galleries Look for in Artists Do you ever wonder how a gallery decides to give a new artist a first show? If you're like many artists, you probably think it's all about the art. You waltz your oeuvre through a gallery's doors, the owner swoons; game over. Right? No, not really. According to gallery owners, that's not at all the way it works. Sure, gallery owners have to be impressed with your work and like it enough to want to show it, but according to them, that's only a start; there's far more to it than that.
Plenty of other puzzle pieces have to fall into place in order for them to seal the deal (or fall out of place in order to kill it). Getting a first show with a gallery is much more than an impersonal arrangement between two independent entities where you supply the art, they supply the wall space, and then you go on about your business while the gallery does all the rest. You and the gallery owner are about to enter into a business relationship, a partnership of sorts, and hopefully one that will have a seriously positive impact on your career trajectory over time.
Whether you're aware of it or not, galleries always look to the future, at least the established ones do, the ideal outcome for them being mutually beneficial and constantly evolving long-term relationships with the artists whose art they choose to exhibit. So what exactly do gallery owners look for in addition to your art when deciding whether or not to give you that all-important first show (and hopefully many more to come)? Let's start with your life and career as an artist, not what you're up to today, but rather what the prognosis might be down the road.
Gallery owners not only have to like your art now, but they will also do their best to assess your potential for growth and development into the future. They're aware that the payoff is not always immediate, and that if they're going to invest time, money, publicity and wall space in your art, they want to at least see some promise for an evolving, engaging and ongoing narrative. In other words, they look for signs that you're serious about your art, have some sense of a game plan, guiding principle or philosophy, and are committed to being an artist and showing your art for many years to come.
There's hardly anything galleries hate more than to back artists who suddenly decide to do something else with their lives and poof off into the ether forever. Vanishing artists and one-hit wonders never make a gallery look good. As for your work, dealers consistently describe their ideal artists with words like ambitious, original, risk-taking, bold, inspiring, and so on. They want to hear your whole story, not just today's headlines, but where your journey is taking you, and what drives, motivates and inspires your creative process.
Do you have more than one idea? Do you have a vision? Is that vision clear, well-defined and articulated? Are you breaking new ground, exploring new territory? Or are you rehashing the past, making the same several things over and over again, stagnant or backing yourself into a corner? Are you productive and serious about spending time in the studio? Most importantly, do you have a significant body of current work that is complete (or nearly complete), fresh, original and HAS NOT been shown or exhibited elsewhere, either at other galleries or online? Or if not, are you capable of creating one by a to-be-determined date or deadline? Galleries do their best to sift out artists who may be making good art today (or making promises today), but who might at the same time have limited futures, be more brief than for real, or who may simply end up beached with nowhere to go.
So OK. Enough about art and vision and commitment and all that lofty intangible stuff. Let's talk business. Simply put, galleries prefer that the artists who they work with have some knowledge of the business and more importantly, an appreciation of what a successful business partnership or relationship involves and how it grows over time. Or if you're early in your career and don't really know much, they expect you to at least express a willingness to learn; you have to be open to that.
Take qualities like perseverance and endurance for example. As previously mentioned, gallery owners almost always look well beyond the first show. Optimally, they prefer to represent artists who they can potentially work with for years or even decades to come. They value artists who understand their role in the partnership and who realize that both parties must cooperate and progress together, even in times of hardship or adversity, in order to maximize results.
In other words, gallery owners really really appreciate artists who respect the relationship and are easy to work with. To repeat... REALLY. For example, have reasonable expectations about what a first show means. It's neither the answer nor the end, but rather the beginning, a single line on your resume, and only one small step along what will hopefully turn out to be a rich and rewarding journey.
Let's say you have a first show and sales are modest, but the overall response is good, and the gallery is reasonably pleased with how things went. The owners know that some artists will be encouraged by an outcome like this as well, while others might get disappointed, angry or depressed. As a result, they do their best to figure out in advance whether you're an artist who understands the bigger picture and are more likely to fall into the "encouraged" category than one who's in this for the instant and more likely to go negative if things turn out less than perfect the first time around.
Simply put, big-picture artists are more likely to get first shows than ones who lack a broader perspective of how art careers develop and evolve. There's hardly anything gallery owners like less than complaining, upset or dissatisfied artists, so be sure to check any such inclinations at the door. Continuing with the critical questions a gallery attempts to answer when meeting with you... Do you love making art and are you enthusiastic about showing it in public regardless of how much or how little might sell? Do you have an attitude about showing and exposing your work that resonates with that of the gallery? Do you express a desire to move in the same direction as the gallery? If you can answer yes to questions like these and they're impressed with your art as well, you're more than likely in.
On the flip side, a gallery tries to avoid artists who view getting a show as a career move above all else, who will say or do anything to get in, who expect the gallery to sell everything, who might blame the dealer if not enough sells, or who don't seem to understand how much effort a gallery puts into each and every show they present regardless of the outcome. Hopefully you're understanding in these regards, excited about your opportunity to work with a gallery, express a willingness to cooperate, and view this as a joint venture rather than as an antagonistic relationship.
Not only do you have to demonstrate a serious concern for your art, but you must also make clear that you intend to be straightforward, communicative, professional, disciplined, honest and committed to the success of the gallery. This is what galleries like to see in artists who they work with, especially in the Internet age where opportunities abound for artists to sell art on the side or otherwise go behind a gallery's back.
They also pay attention to how well the two of you get along, not only in general conversations about art, but more specifically, in hashing out the scope or details of possible shows. Do you seem to be an artist who will trust a gallery to do its job, recognize how hard the gallery intends to work on your behalf, and be willing to consider their advice or suggestions? Or are you more of a contrarian? Some artists think they know better.
Some feel the need to instruct dealers on how they expect to be treated or how to display their art; a few even go so far as to tell galleries how to run their businesses. If that's your deal, then as far as gallery owners are concerned, you are more than welcome to open your own space and show your work there. Galleries know their clienteles and know what's best for them; believe it. On a more personal level, time and time again gallery owners describe their ideal relationships with artists the same way people describe friendships-- or even love interests.
Personalities have to match; everyone has to understand as well as appreciate each other. Some of the questions gallery owners repeatedly ask themselves in these regards... Can I see myself becoming friends with this person? Can we have dinner together, go places together, or enjoy the same activities? Do we like each other? Do we get along? Are conversations in synch and harmonious? Do we respect each other's opinions and points of view? The answers to questions like these often determine whether an artist gets a first show or keeps on looking.
It's that simple and no more complicated. Experience also counts, of course, especially with more established galleries. Artists who've been around the block a few times are generally easier to work with and have broader understandings of the ups and downs of the business. So given the choice between two artists, one with more experience and one with less, all else being equal, many galleries are inclined to go with experience.
The most established galleries almost exclusively show artists with numerous career accomplishments and lengthy resumes. They're particularly concerned about whether the art and artist have been critically written about or recognized, whether they've exhibited at prestigious venues, what sort of awards or distinctions they've received, and even whether they have followings (online as well as in real life) and how large those followings are.
No matter how precocious, promising or impressive a younger artist might be, lack of an established track record may well present too much of a risk to these kinds of galleries. So know going in that if you approach major galleries with a minor resume and they turn you down, it's not necessarily because they don't like your art. And in closing, keep in mind at all times that a gallery is not an entity that exists to serve you.
Be assured that you will never show anywhere if that's the way you think. Believe it or not, some artists actually dare galleries to show or sell their art or worse yet, swagger on in and ask, "What can you do for me?" You know what galleries can do for artists like these? Absolutely nothing except to show them the door and thank them for stopping by. So avoid any attitude, understand that it's all about cooperation and working together, and hopefully in tandem, the two of you will get exactly where you want to go-- onward and upward together.
More pointers for artists looking for first shows: * Gallery owners expect you to be familiar with who they are, what they're about, what they stand for, what types of art and artists they focus on, and also their overall history. This might even extend to an understanding of their physical space, an awareness of the types of people who go there, and of any other relevant cultural, political or social or political perspectives they have.
Don't just start talking about yourself without any idea where you are, who you're talking to, why you're there, or what you want other than for them to show your art. That's a bona fide non-starter. * Demonstrate a sense of engagement, sincerity, authenticity and genuineness-- these qualities are always good-- and be careful about trying to impress from detached intellectual or academic perspectives.
Describe your art in your own words rather than in art-speak. Believe it or not, galleries really appreciate that. First and foremost, they want to get a sense of who you are as a person. Saving the complicated explanations for later is always recommended. * Be flexible about pricing and willing to work with the gallery in this regard. Just because you get a first show at a better gallery than you've ever shown at before doesn't mean you instantly double or triple your prices.
One reason galleries give shows in the first place is that they believe the artists' prices are fair or reasonable to begin with and that they can sell the art at those levels. Bump them too high over what you've been selling for and you risk selling nothing. Be aware that it's far better to sell everything at reasonable prices than little or nothing at overly ambitious prices. A sold out show always looks exceptionally good on a resume no matter what the art sold for.
* Let the gallery owner be the guide in terms of selecting what to show, how to organize and present it, and other logistical details. A major reason they're giving you a show is that they have a pretty good idea of what they can sell, how to effectively display it, and who they think they can sell it to. * Don't make too many demands. That is always problematic, especially early on in a relationship.
The analogy is almost like that of a new love interest; you want everything to go perfectly, and when problems or disagreements pop up early on, even minor ones, that may well signal bigger troubles later, and no gallery owner wants any part of that. * Don't constantly call or email and ask to speak with the gallery owner or make other miscellaneous requests. Make contact only when necessary, especially at the outset or if you're waiting to hear whether you're getting a show.
It either will or will not happen, and you'll find out soon enough. * Talk about what's right as opposed to what's wrong. Don't constantly ask to go over things, or stress out about minor details. These kinds of behaviors can damage or destroy growing relationships or worse yet, prevent new ones from ever getting started. * Two things never to say in an interview-- that you have a chip on your shoulder about art dealers or are bitter about previous gallery experiences.
Broaching either of those topics will surely evaporate your chances of getting a first show anywhere. So there you go-- a crash course in the politics of what getting with a gallery is all about. May the force be with you! ***** Are you ready to start contacting galleries or have you already been contacting galleries without much success? I can go over how you're organizing and presenting your art as well as how you're making contact to be sure you're doing things right.
If you're interested in consulting about this, making sure your overall presentation is in order, or have any questions about my services, please call 415.931.7875 or drop me an email at email@example.com. *** I'd like to thank the following gallery owners for their generous assistance and help with this article: Robert Berman of Robert Berman Gallery, Los Angeles; Steven Wolf of Steven Wolf Fine Arts, San Francisco; Jack Hanley of Jack Hanley Gallery, New York; Brian Gross of Brian Gross Fine Art, San Francisco; Lisa Chadwick of Dolby Chadwick Gallery, San Francisco; Louis Stern of Louis Stern Fine Arts, Los Angeles; Catharine Clark of Catharine Clark Gallery, San Francisco; Darryl Smith of The Luggage Store, San Francisco; and collector Robert Shimshak.
(art by Rebecca Goldfarb)
Distinctive Critical Art Principles have advanced complete distinct eras, with the transforming artists' perceptions of processing, examining, and responding to various art kinds. Their innovative expressions have been explored by their development, effectiveness, and participation in arts. Each and every historic era has offered novel contribution of historical and cultural contexts for establishing the main element Arts Fundamentals on the appropriate time period. Visual Arts enable artists assimilate the crucial element Arts Ideas of Symmetry, Shade, Sample, Distinction as well as the differences involving one or more things while in the composition. The key Artwork Ideas of Visible Arts assistance fully grasp and distinguish among the dimensions for example, Symmetry & Asymmetry, Positive & Negative Space, Light & Dark, Solid & Transparent, and Large & Small.See Also: Center For Contemporary Arts
Artwork plays a vibrant role in the personal life from the individual as well as during the social and economic development from the nation. The study of Visual arts encourages personal development along with the awareness of both our cultural heritage as well as the role of artwork from the society. The learner acquires personal knowledge, skills and competencies through activities in Visual arts. When one studies Visible arts, he/she would come to appreciate or recognize that artwork is an integral part of everyday life.
Check out Mary Lou Johnson’sExciting new workshop Grown Up Finger Painting; Making your own paste paper with Mary Lou Johnson.Saturday March 3rd, 10:30am-12:30pmFee: $20 with $10 Material FeeDemonstration of making paste paper with paste and acrylic pigments, ink spray, stamps and texture tools. Using Arches Text Wove paper, to be supplied. Play stations will have all tools and materials needed.
Paste paper can be used with multi media art, cards, hand lettering and book binding. Bring aprons, its messy fun. Take away will be small booklet including recipes, tips and samples to make in class.Limited to 4 people per class.Contact Mary Lou Johnson, 805-441-3246, firstname.lastname@example.org for questions and registration. This workshop offers a whole new element to lettering and card making!Sign up early and don’t miss out! Thank you for waiting patiently for us to welcome you at 10am… I’d like to believe that you couldn’t wait to see us, but I imagine that those gift bags packed with goodies might have had something to do with it, too! Some folks jumped right into the Play stations – This is the best way to learn about and play with new products – Shirley helped folks with Posca markers Sandy offered artists the chance to try Graham watercolors, Fabriano soft press paper and other watermedia KC and participants experimented with pastel pencils, Ampersand Pastelbord, and Pastel Premier sanded paper.
KC is also spearheading a new Pastel Society for our area – this is wonderful news for pastel artists! Painting a banner with Abstract Acrylics and Catalyst Silicone blades Spencer Poulter did an awesome demonstration in the gallery during the morning. She used Sennelier oil paints and assorted collage materials, and enchanted her audience. (By the way, she’ll be doing a workshop here at Art Central next month – stay tuned!) And you took advantage of the dynamite deals we were offering – everything from the discount on membership renewals to the amazing sales on many cool products! But the fun didn’t end there … David Limrite held his viewers spellbound for 3 hours with an opportunity to watch him paint and ask questions – And children of all ages enjoyed the Play Stations in the afternoon! We create this special event as a way to celebrate our success and your creativity – we’re so grateful that so many of you chose to spend a good part of your day with us.
Thank you all! Do any of you remember my very first blog? I still laugh when I see it – & I still think I’m at least a bit nuts to do this. Anyone in the art supply business will tell you that you’ll never get rich selling art supplies – so you either have to have a passion for the products, or you have to be a wee bit insane. In my case, I’d say both are true.
It’s been a wild ride so far, that’s for sure. The funny thing is, when I opened in February 2011, I thought I knew most of the artists who live in our area… WRONG! I’ve met such incredibly talented, warm, generous people in the last 7 years. You have enhanced my life. This Saturday is my way of saying thank you, and celebrating what you’ve given me. I feel like Art Central really has become a part of the community, and it’s because you believe in what we are trying to achieve.
Thanks are due in no small part to my incredible staff – wonderful talented people in their own right, and patient as anything to deal with me every day. Will, Melissa, Shauna, Kate – I appreciate you so much. And thanks to our wonderful manufacturers and distributors who graciously give us amazing supplies for our gift bags and our play stations. We appreciate your generosity! Thank you! etty huh? PRE-book sale! (pay this Saturday, get next week!) Cradled Panels, Ampersand Pastelbord and Aquabord, and this beautiful Beechwood Easel… Please e-mail me at artcentralslo@yahoo.
com to request pre-order forms for the panels. Bring completed form in during our anniversary event this Saturday (Feb 10th) with payment, and we’ll order for you. Delivery expected by Friday, February 16th. (yes, we’ll have extra forms here at the store!) Can’t wait for Saturday to arrive … we’re so excited! ART CENTRAL IS TURNING 7! Saturday, February 10th ALL DAY! What can you look forward to? Demonstrations ~ Play stations ~ Great Deals ~ gift bags STUFFED with amazing art supplies for our first 50 customers Come in and try all kinds of products at our Play stations – for all ages and experience levels! – Morning Play stations – Posca markers with Shirley Pastels with KC Graham watercolors and Connoisseur brushes with Sandy And… Try Abstract Acrylics with all kinds of cool tips! A canvas covered table awaits you! – Afternoon Play stations for kids – At 2pm we invite kids ages 7 – 97 to come enjoy more Play stations.
The first 25 will receive gift bags filled with fun, colorful products perfect for younger artists! what will be going on in our GALLERY? SPENCER POULTER will demonstrate abstract oil painting from 10-12pm. She combines oils and collage materials to create expressionistic art! DAVID LIMRITE will be painting with acrylic paints and mediums – an “Open Studio” from 1-4pm … Stop by, ask questions, watch his process, then come back and check his progress! (Please note, this is not a “sit-down” demonstration) More gift bag giveaways for kids AND adults at 2pm! And, of course… DEALS GALORE… Don’t miss out! Look for great prices on these products and so much more… Saturday ONLY! * * * (Furniture & large items will be displayed in the gallery!) * * * deal on 12 or more! 5 for 25! order for 1/2 price! 8 oz at a savings! Check your inventory on Cradled Panels, Aquabord and Pastelbord, then order Saturday – get the best prices of the year! (Order forms must be submitted during our event, and delivery should be about 1 week.
) EXCITING PRINTMAKING EXHIBIT THIS FEBRUARY “ONCE IS NOT ENOUGH” Print making at its finest Join us for the show opening during Art After Dark, Friday February 2nd from 6-8pm. Show runs through Feb 28th. “Heavy Weight Red” by Rosey Rosenthal “River Refuge” by Barbara Rosenthal “Spooner’s Cove” by Ybi Van Ekeren “‘Gone Fishing’ Series III Sashimi Watch” by Tricia Reichert Art Centralis turning 7 years old! * SAVE THE DATE * Celebrate this important milestone with usat our Annual Anniversary event!– February 10th! –All Day! We are excited to welcome amazing wood turner Barry Lundgren into our Gallery this Art After Dark, Friday January 5th from 6-8pm.
Stop by and talk to Barry during our artists reception. Barry Lundgren Artists’ Biography “I have been working with wood for 30 years and have been woodturning for over 20 years. I’m basically self-taught, but have been fortunate enough to have have taken classes from some of the world’s best woodturners; David Ellsworth, Stuart Batty, and Betty Scarpino. My inspiration comes from the wood itself.
Every piece is different in color, texture, scent, and character. Some pieces are turned green and I find it fascinating how they warp and distort into finished pieces. Other pieces, such as lidded boxes, threaded urns, and salad bowls have to be rough-turned and left to dry and stabilize. They are then remounted and turned to finish their shape, and will actually dry and stay symmetrical. The shape of the pieces are equally as important as the wood.
Whether they are the classical shapes from the past or the natural-edge pieces that warp into their own shape, my goal is to make them all pleasing to the eye and touch.” Connect with the Artist:cell phone: 805.550.3819e-mail: email@example.com dear printmakers of SLO county! Time to shine, and show SLO what you do! This exhibit, aptly titled: “Once is not enough” is for you! We want to show off your lithographs, etchings, silkscreens, woodcuts, linocuts, monoprints… etc, etc.
We’re looking forward to your participation! Please download the entry form: 2018-2 Once is Not Enough and PLEASE send us JPEGS of your work to use in advertising the show! Rosey Rosenthal: “A Warm Bath” we’re kicking off 2018 with a gallery exhibit titled: “We The Employees” The Artists of Art Central Ever wonder what the staff of Art Central does in their spare time? Come find out this Friday! Join us for Art After Dark on Friday, January 5th, from 6 – 8pm for this unique show featuring the art of Shauna Jellison, Katie Peña, William Silva, Kate Meissner and Melissa Traynor.
Kate Meissner Melissa Traynor Katie Peña Shauna Jellison William Silva
Title: Getting Your Art Into A Gallery