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How to approach a gallery

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How to approach a gallery

Postby hungariancontessa » Wed Sep 08, 2010 8:13 am

Hello everyone!
Yes, I am a newbie to the gallery world, and have only done one juried entry at a local gallery. Although I have never had my work displayed in a gallery, I am not a stranger to selling my art on my own via a website, and by word of mouth. I feel that it is time for me to grow as an artist. Do I dare say a "professional artist", and more locally known in my area.

I was wondering what would be the best way to approach a gallery? I have been on local gallery websites but I really don't know what to say in my email. I also sent out my pro- folio to one local gallery, and got a whisper back which said, that I am on the docket of acceptance. What does this mean and why haven't they contacted me back with information on how long this process takes. I apologize for my inexperience in this area.

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Postby johnwalkeasy » Sat Sep 11, 2010 4:53 pm

Well, I think your doing about all one can do. You just have to keep doing it. And ofcourse keep producing art work. But I will say this. I think e-mail is a bad way to contact galliers. I think one should send slides. And a letter(hand writen) Or even a phone call is better than an e-mail. Or just go to a gallery and talk to them in person. Not with work ofcourse, just to let them get to see and talk with you as a person.
Perfection is what drives an artist.
The inability to achieve perfection is what creates a work of art.
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Postby Guenn Eona Nimue » Sat Dec 25, 2010 3:36 pm

While agreeing with John, I personally found the whole gallery business to be, for lack of a better word, parasitic, and tired very quickly when it came to submitting my self, or my work, for the approval of others. Ultimately, I decided to just let history judge my work, and have never regretted it. During that time, I also found unwelcome thoughts creeping into mind, along the lines of maybe trying to produce what they wanted to sell, rather than what I wanted to paint, as a direct result of some of their "suggestions". A cartoon I saw once, which really struck a chord, was a picture of a gallery owner standing behind a painter, cutting his throat (creativity) with one hand, and picking his pocket (taking most of the proceeds) with the other! I am not trying to dissuade you from pursuing your goal, just reminding you that their opinions of your work might best be viewed with a jaundiced eye, and to avoid any subtle groveling and be a little on the fierce side, particularly when “suggestions” are made as to what kind of subject matter you should focus on while they are looking down their nose at your work, wittingly or unwittingly hijacking your creativity in the process. Perhaps things have changed in the four decades since I last approached a gallery about a show of my work, but somehow, I doubt it. Viewed the gallery of your work on your profile by the way, lovely!

Best of luck to you, and Happy Holidays! Guenn
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Postby johnhudson5 » Tue Feb 01, 2011 2:39 am

thanks for sharing information about the art galleries. i also think for contact to art galleries you can some efforts like sending e mail to relevant art galleries but its result comes a long time and if you want result in short time then you can do phone call to other art galleries then you get good result easily .
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Re: How to approach a gallery

Postby Carson » Wed Oct 19, 2011 6:38 am

With the caveat that I've never been what anyone would call enormously successful, I do have a 30-year international exhibition history, in a few dozen commercial galleries.

Here are some things I've learned, for whatever it's worth:

Most galleries have a web site. Go there first. This will tell you what their submissions policies are (which, in this era of rapidly changing technology, varies greatly from one to another); also, it will tell you whether or not they are interested in reviewing new artists at all. Most established galleries are already committed to a stable of 12 to 20 artists, and are not looking for any new ones.

The only kind of galleries that are likely to pick up new artists are new galleries. And here's the sad truth about that: Nine out of ten new galleries (and new small businesses in general) fail during the first 2 years. If you're lucky enough to get a show, get a written contract, and insist on being paid promptly. If you let them put you off, odds are the gallery will go bankrupt and you'll probably never get paid at all.

Don't make "cold calls"; this is a pure waste of the gallery's time, and yours. Further, 19 times out of 20 they are going to be extremely rude as they show you the exit. This, you probably don't need.

Be sensible. Look at the kind of art and artists the gallery exhibits. If your artwork is vastly disparate, they aren't going to be interested. You have to fit into their niche.

Be consistent. You need to show the gallery a cohesive body of work. People who sell art are looking for artists who reliably produce an easily recognizable, consistent product. There's absolutely nothing wrong with being prolix, it just isn't what commercial galleries want.

Be aware that nowadays, in general, the gallery finds the artist, not the other way around. For example, all of the galleries that have exhibited my paintings during the past 10 years found me via the Internet. This is why you need to have your artwork on line, in as many places as possible.

Be persistent. Nobody is going to stumble into your studio and "discover" you. Nobody is going to market your artwork but you. Yes, if you have the money, you can hire an agent. I've had a few, and here's my advice: someone who asks an artist for money up front is admitting that they have absolutely no confidence in their ability to get you sales. If they were confident, they'd work for a percentage of those sales. In general, artists' agents make their money from the gullibility of artists, not by selling artwork.

If you can't learn to write "spider food", one investment you actually might want to make is to pay someone to optimize your primary web site for search engines. If your web site is on page 15,000 at Google for the relevant search terms, you might as well not have one.

Be prepared for a lot of rejection. In most urban areas there are about 1,000 artists competing for every one opportunity to exhibit their work in a gallery. The odds are not good.
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Re: How to approach a gallery

Postby Thumbprint Gallery » Sat Jan 28, 2012 8:14 pm

Hi, heres a few tips. Make sure that when you approach galleries you can clearly state your artistic vision. Go to the gallery website and see if they have instructions to see if they have a preferred way of submitting work. Make sure you have your price points set before hand. Make sure you have your portfolio put together and they all are pieces you think best represent your best work. A lot of galleries prefer a more defined style, so if you have many styles go to the galleries workshop and try to pick the ones that best align with what they are currently displaying. If your style doesn't match the galleries style then don't bother. You want them to align with your artistic vision. Best of luck!
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Re: How to approach a gallery

Postby artauction » Fri Oct 19, 2012 3:10 am

If you are looking to add your art works in art galleries, then I would recommend you to contact them online. Here is one link of such online art auction galleries: http://www.scottsdaleartauction.com/.
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Re: How to approach a gallery

Postby ivo55 » Mon Oct 29, 2012 5:43 am

Very interesting.
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Re: How to approach a gallery

Postby Amigone » Sun Nov 04, 2012 3:01 pm

Be on the look out for open calls and juried shows. These are often easier ways to get into galleries. Also, I suggest going to shows and seeing what they hang just to check if they would be right for your work.
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Re: How to approach a gallery

Postby The Artist X » Sun Nov 04, 2012 5:04 pm

Hi everyone, as a newbie to, I find this information very helpful too!
It took me four years to paint like
Raphael, but a lifetime to paint
like a child.
Pablo Picasso

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Re: How to approach a gallery

Postby johnlobbs » Sat Jan 19, 2013 1:54 am

The best way to approach a gallery to display some of your work is to approach them online. Believe me, there are several art galleries which accepts artists works to be displayed on their online art galleries. Just send them your best piece of work.
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