Interested in getting art gallery representation for your fine art?
Here are my tips for what to do and not to do when talking to art galleries!
Is getting art gallery representation for your fine art on your list of business goals? If so, that’s not unusual.
Many artists feel that getting their work into an art gallery offers an opportunity to reach more collectors, sell their pieces at higher prices, and legitimizes the quality and worth of their work.
But these days, getting gallery representation isn’t as simple as just getting an art gallery owner to look at your work and hoping they decide their clientele will like your aesthetic.
Now that online stores and social media sales posts have become the new normal, art galleries have had to adapt their strategies to remain relevant in an increasingly online-oriented sales environment. That means they’re a little more picky about which artists they choose to represent.
So to give yourself the best chance of getting art gallery representation, you need to do a little groundwork to set yourself up as an excellent choice for representation.
Before you start sending out letters of inquiry and requesting meetings with gallery reps, make sure you have these items crossed off your list:
• DO have a solid body of work, consisting of at least 10-25 pieces, that work together as a series. This will show the art gallery representative that you can create artwork with a consistent aesthetic that they can market to their audience.
• DO have your work profesionally photographed. Professional photos will show your work off at its best, with proper lighting, straight angles, and accurate color, maximizing the potential interest of any viewer.
• DO write (or have written for you) a solid bio + artist statement to showcase your story and your inspirations. Make sure that your history and story is explained in concise, straightforward writing that is easy to understand.
• DO design (or have designed for you) a clean, easy to navigate website + curate an attractive Instagram feed that showcases your dedication to your craft, your professionalism, and your ability to maintain a consistent artistic aesthetic.
• DO network with artists, collectors, and art market stakeholders to grow your audience and show to the art gallery that a viable market already exists for your work. They’ll be more likely to represent you if you have clientele to bring with you.
Now that you know all of the things you should do, let’s talk about the things you definitely shouldn’t do if you’re looking for art gallery representation:
• DON’T try to show off all of the different styles or types of art you can do in your portfolio or in a single website gallery… this is the time to showcase quality and consistency!
• DON’T monopolize an art gallery representative’s attention during an art fair or during an art show opening. Their focus is going to be on sales, and they won’t be able to pay attention to your pitch. They won’t think you’re being enterprising; they’ll think that you’re not polite and respectful of their time and the other artist’s work.
• DON’T be pushy or take an art gallery representative’s feedback personally if they tell you they’re not interested. Everyone has different tastes and opinions and your work might not be right for that gallery’s clientele. Remember it’s not about you and move right along to the next opportunity!
• DON’T assume that any one gallery will take you on or that one gallery’s representation will be enough. Galleries have to look out for their own bottom line, so make sure you’re spending time on your own sales strategies to sell your art, and don’t put all your eggs in one basket.
One last tip… the best advice I ever received about getting gallery representation was from a mentor and gallery owner, who said, “The best way to get into a gallery is to make them feel it was their idea.”
If you make sure you are prepared by following my Dos and Don’ts above, you’ll be in a much better position to convince an art gallery owner that representing you and your art is a fabulous idea!
Which of these tips can you take action on, today? Let me know in the comments!
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