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Approaching an Art Gallery

By October 31, 2012

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Establishing yourself with a good gallery is an important step in an artist's career. How do you know you're ready? How long is a piece of string? Having a well established body of work is a good start. Our Painting Guide, Marion Boddy-Evans, has some thoughts on the volume of work you need before setting out; she mentions saleability to collectors, and I'd suggest that implicit in that, and her bottom line of 'experience and a ton of work' is quality. You know it in your work practices - you spend solid, regular hours in the studio. You see it in your work - finished, polished, successful pieces that you're proud of. You invest in good quality art materials and curate your works on paper with care. You should already have made some sales and have participated in group exhibitions, and ideally had a small solo show in a community art space.

Artists have much in common with writers in their efforts in finding a publisher: it's a case of putting the work out there, taking rejections, assessing the result, applying the lessons, rinse and repeat until success. It's interesting to note the 'tone' of some author's and artist's stories: for some it's as though the industry is actively trying to make it hard for them; they see critics and editors as malevolent gatekeepers. Unfortunately, these are often the people who are pitching to the wrong market or whose work needs just a little 'something extra' (occasionally, a major overhaul) to make the cut. The reality is that editors want new stories and galleries want new art. Everyone wants to discover the next J. K. Rowling or Gerhard Richter. Success is often a case of perseverance, and the ability to take constructive criticism on board. But while there are a few 'x factors' that are difficult to account for, there is plenty that you can do to make your gallery-searching experience less stressful and more successful. Click the link for tips on How to Approach an Art Gallery.

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