I receive a lot of emails from students asking how to get into galleries. Juried exhibits are a great way to start since it is a short term commitment along with joining a local art group. Build your resume while learning the ropes and at the same time start networking with other artists. Getting represented by a fine art gallery takes time...I tell students to not even attempt galleries until you have done at least 100 paintings. Paint and keep painting. If you then feel ready - make sure your website is up to date with your best pieces. Take away the ones your did for grandma in college. Are your paintings nicely framed, photographed and priced? Do you have printed tear sheets to leave with gallery director? Do you have your vendors established and accessible? Get all this in order before you approach a gallery.
Its not just getting your artwork into a place but establishing a relationship with the gallery. Be professional. I try to recycle my artwork every few months so I keep things fresh for the gallery as well as for the clients. That involves a lot of time at the easel! Make sure you will be able to keep up with the pace and not just drop off paintings and leave them there to collect dust. Not every painting is sent off to galleries. Some are scraped down, some are just "workouts" and others are put aside - one painting I framed and then unframed and reworked over the course of two years...I painted and repainted (see below) Finally I let go!
Every gallery has different requirements and tastes, while one gallery loves landscapes another promotes still life works. Some galleries run on a theme every few months so subject matter constantly varies. It is important to research your gallery before you approach it for representation. Go to the receptions where you can meet the owners, other artists and really question if you would be a good fit. Artists complain about the commission but if it is a good gallery they earn every cent! They are your business partner. They are getting the clients through their doors, promoting your work, investing their time, money and wall space, and believing in your work. I am always honored when a gallery will show my work ~ let them sell while I continue painting at my easel.
Some pieces take forever, others flow out of you but remember it has taken you a lifetime to get to where you are. A lifetime of painting, taking classes, watching demos, experimenting, reading etc.... Even the smallest painting needs to be varnished, photographed, inventoried, framed and wired. Sales tax and shipping cost need to be considered.
All this takes time but it is wonderful that we get to do what we love while spreading joy! Keep painting!
|Mandarin et Ginger Jardiniere 18 x 24 oil|
I hope this helps answer a lot of the questions. Feel free to email with other inquiries.
Thank you for all your comments and support. Here is to a peaceful summer!
47 Fifth Avenue oil 5x7