Sunday, 15 January 2017
APPROACHING GALLERIES - HOW TO AVOID THE FEAR!
I recently responded to a post on one of the forums I regularly visit - someone said they were "scared" to approach galleries with their work, for fear of being told that even tho their work was well-crafted, it did not have enough "artistic merit".
It is not the first time I have heard this............and I remember well my very first visit to a gallery, to ask them to look at my work.... I was shaking in my boots! So I do have lots of sympathy for those of you itching to try but nervous to do so.
Many years down the line, I take a rather more pragmatic view of gallery owners, having met them in all their different guises. I have met those who are helpful, enthusiastic, committed, and appreciative; I have met those who have a sense of entitlement, who are snooty, who are rude, and who treat their artists like fodder. I warn you - there are all sorts out there!
It is really important to remember that gallery owners are, first and foremost, BUSINESS PEOPLE, with gallery bills to pay. They have to always remember this, and also keep their eyes firmly on the potential for profit. They are not philanthropists, they cannot afford to be.
AND it is vital to remember that more often than not, a gallery owner's idea of "artistic merit" is coloured by this need to pay the bills. And anyway - how to judge artistic merit? Who is the arbiter? Personal taste plays a part, this is inevitable. For every person who does not like or appreciate your work, there is another who will think it is just great! So rejection should not be taken too personally, no matter how unpleasant it feels at the time.
Even if you are accepted, you may find yourself "flavour of the month" if your work sells well....and very much out of favour if it does not. A pleasant gallery owner will not hold lack of sales against you, and perhaps will even thank you for allowing them the privilege of showing your work ! And so they should.
Why do I say this? with emphasis?
OK getting up on my soapbox now.
An art gallery is a retail businesses where the gallery owner receives stock on a sale or return basis. Every other retail business that I can think of has to pay for their stock....and if it remains unsold, they have to have a sale, or have to find some way of disposing of the stock at a loss. The large mark-up from "wholesale" to "retail" prices takes this into account.
Art, for some odd reason, does not fall into this latter category - we artists are expected to allow galleries to take our work on a sale or return basis, and be grateful for the opportunity. I firmly believe that galleries should be the grateful ones!
As I said earlier, there are wonderful gallery owners out there who really do understand and appreciate their artists, and help to promote them. I am lucky enough to have found a few and I enjoy working with them and am happy to send them my work, and grateful to them too.
So next time you think about approaching a gallery with your work, be professional, be pleasant, and remember some of the above. No grovelling allowed!!!! Let go of the fear...gallery owners are just tradespeople. YOU are the creative one, the one without whom, galleries would have nothing to sell.
January Sale Offering
Both of these images are GLASS ON GLASS. They are created with black glass powder, onto a soft-white glass ground. They are 12" square, and can be displayed as they are on an easel, or on a black wrought-iron stand, or on the wall with stainless steel stand-offs, which looks really contemporary.
Usually £175 each, I am offering them at a January sale price of just £90 each!