ARE YOU READY?
It's finally time for you to enter the art market and start selling work
Here are a few tips for you to help prepare
There still remains a truth behind the tale . . .
"If you make the art awesome enough, they will come to you."
… but since 98% of us don't have the IT factor that will create a feeding frenzy in the art market, we have to navigate the realities of a competitive gallery market.
Here are some quick tips about gallery representation
MAKE SURE YOUR WORK FITS IN
If you create abstracts, don't waste your time in a gallery that sells exclusively realism.
Do some investigation on the web or in person and see what kind of work the gallery has represented over the last two years prior to approach, be sure your work has a similar vibe!
POLICIES FOR SUBMISSION
A gallery will set guidelines for submission policies. Those needs are in place for a reason, respect their experience, and that they know their clients and the process that works well for them. Many galleries will have similar submission policies, but it will certainly benefit you to research each galleries guidelines and tailor your submission to fit.
PREPARE YOUR PRICING
Be expected to keep your pricing consistent and be confident in the prices you have set.
You can expect a gallery to take anywhere from 30% - 50%. Many artists will be surprised at those numbers, you should always consider that they are paying rent and utilities, marketing and advertising and that they find buyers for you using their own networks and methods.
Keeping your prices consistent is important so you are not undercutting the galleries efforts by selling your work on Facebook for a quarter of the price. Once you enter into a solid agreement with a gallery, avoid selling behind their backs in other venues. It will devalue your work to the buyers, and strain your relationship with your representation.
QUALITY AND CONSISTENT IMAGES
Your images should represent your most current work, and show a consistent style.
If you submit images of your best watercolors to a gallery and they contact you, you should not be delivering oil paintings to them. When a gallery chooses an artist based on their style, they are expecting a constant flow of that style from you. It will work better for you if you have a consistent series of work stocked and ready for selling PRIOR to submitting
A gallery will not choose you up based on work you plan on doing in the future.
the differences between:
Prepare your artist statements, bio's and CV sheets ahead of time, keep them handy, and update them every two months.
ARTIST STATEMENT: Your artist statement is an opportunity to explain the background and process of the work you are submitting to a gallery.
CV: The Curriculum Vitae (or CV) is essentially an artist's resumer, outlining previous exhibits, publications, press and other achievements and awards.
A WRITTEN PROPOSAL: is only necessary if you are submitting your work to a gallery that explicitly requests exhibition proposals, not just artist portfolios.
If you are seeking representation by a gallery, you do not need to have a written exhibition proposal.
The difference between an artist statement and a written proposal is that your artist statement focuses on your artwork and practice in general, and a written proposal is a specific plan for an exhibition. A written proposal should include:
Most artists wants the opportunity to produce work and hand it over to someone so as not to deal with the business side of being an artist, unfortunately the business side comes with the territory if you want to sell your work on a regular basis. Having a gallery represent your work will require a high level of consistency and professionalism from you.
There are many ways to bypass gallery representation and sell your own work that may require you to put in even more work and education on your avenue of choice.
A combination of both gallery and self representation can work if you are consistent and vigilant about their compatibility.
Here are some quick tips for self representation:
KEEP A MAILING LIST
One of the most important things you can do is maintain contact with previous buyers and others that have shown interest in your work. Mailchimp and other free services on the web can help you organize your address book, but also, never underestimate the power of hand written notes and beautiful postcards sent to a mailbox!
USE SOCIAL MEDIA PROPERLY
Make new friends through social media and proudly show them what you do, show work in progress, what kind of materials you use and be open to sharing your process with other artists as well as potential buyers. Posting images of finished pieces may not be enough to flush out buyers, so be sure and offer a more personal experience by posting what is going on in your studio, places you travel and what inspires you! An inexpensive camera phone can open up your studio to people all over the world…but be sure you are also interested in getting to know unique people from all over the world…and chat with them!
GET TO KNOW YOUR FANS!
This sounds like strange advice, but never assume a person will not buy your work by looks or status, or what they do for a living. Learn to NEVER JUDGE anyone that is out there and what their potential to love or purchase your work is, art buyers come in all shapes, sizes and financial brackets.
USE A FIRST REFUSAL POLICY
Utilize what is often called "first refusal". When you post a new work, or work in progress on social media, you may get inboxes or comments inquiring about purchasing the work.
First refusal is given to that the first person to inquire about your work, and gives them first choice to purchase it, (or not purchase it) when it's finished and ready to go to market. When the second (or third) person contacts you, simply inform them that there is someone ahead of them with a first refusal right and you will let them know the decision.
After you complete and price the work and you are ready to sell it, go down the line, in order, and contact the interested parties, this also puts a slight pressure on the potential buyer to make a definite decision on whether they want to follow through, it gives you a chance to keep track of folks to add to your mailing list. It also gives fairness to the buyers. Be sure and politely inform the next in lines if the work has been purchased, and offer them a similar work, a commission or just to stay in touch with you for the next piece!
written by: Erin Duquette
If you'd like to read more - here are a couple more informative blogs that we found:
SUBSCRIBE TO MODspoke TODAY
and get a special artists event invitation this spring…
we promise not to share your email with any other businesses, ever.
Art, Culture, Unity and Soul