Getting Attention When Submitting to Galleries | Ask a Gallery Owner

Thanks to everyone who joined in our podcast yesterday – great discussion and great questions. If you didn’t get a chance to watch the broadcast live, the recording is available on YouTube. As usual, we ran out of time before we ran out of  conversation or questions, so I thought I would take a stab at answering some of the questions that were submitted but unanswered during the broadcast.

The first comes from Justin S.

I am looking to submit to mid to high end galleries but want to make sure I do it in a correct way. I have a new art technique that I am using that has been a massive hit at all my shows. I have been submitting to several galleries but just cannot get them to respond. How can I catch their attention, and is it over the top to send them a small painting so they can really see the painting in person instead of from photos. As an artist I am surprised that they don’t respond as you would think they would love for an artist with great sales to come to them! Thank you!!

Great question Justin,  and I totally understand your frustration. It would, at the very least, be nice to hear one way or the other; there’s nothing worse that not knowing.

Let me deal with several components of your question. First, there could be several reasons you’re not hearing back from the galleries you submit to. Some galleries are simply too busy to respond to every inquiry they receive from artists. At Xanadu, we try and give a response and feedback to every submission, but we receive dozens every week. Our number one priority is following up with our buyers to close sales, and this sometimes means that responding to all of the artist submissions we receive can get backlogged. I suspect that some galleries in the same scenario simply don’t respond to the emails at all.

You are right that galleries are constantly looking for the next artist that is going to sell well, so with these two factors in mind, what can you do to increase your odds of success? I would suggest three things:

  1. When possible, submit your work to the gallery in person. If there are galleries in your local area, a personal visit to the gallery to present your portfolio is going to be far more effective than an email. It may not be possible to visit out-of-town galleries in person, but take advantage of any opportunities you have to present your work in person. If you have several pieces along with you (in the car, for example) you may get the opportunity to show the work to the gallery owner, allowing him/her to see what is unique about your work.
  2. Increase the number of submissions you are making. Getting gallery representation is a numbers game – in order to reach the galleries that are interested and that are going to have time to look at your submission, you’ve got to approach a lot of galleries. You mentioned that you have submitted to several galleries, and this is simply not going to be sufficient. I would recommend submitting your work to  20-40 galleries if you are approaching them in person, and 60-100 galleries by email to get a good start. This is going to take some time and effort on your part, but by the simple law of averages, your chances of generating interest in your work increase by increasing the exposure you are giving your portfolio.
  3. Follow-up. As I mentioned above, many galleries don’t have time to respond to every submission, but if you are a little bit persistent and follow up, you increase your odds of getting a response, either positive or negative. It’s a careful balancing act to not appear pushy – you wouldn’t want to send an email every day – but it would be appropriate to send a follow up email after 10 days, and another 10 days later if you still haven’t received a response.

With these numbers and follow up suggestions, it’s not going to be practical for you to send out paintings to all of the galleries you are going to submit to by email. You should also keep in mind that by shipping a painting to a gallery, you are asking them to do extra work to return the painting if they are not interested, and some galleries aren’t going to take kindly to that.

There are obviously many other considerations in submitting your work to a gallery for representation – portfolio format, consistency and quality of work, presentation, and pricing, to name just a few, but I’ve covered these topics in other posts and in my book. Know though, that it is the artists who are persistent and prepared that ultimately are able to break through the noise and build relationships with galleries.

What Have you Done to Get Attention from Galleries?

Have you had success getting your work noticed by galleries? What did you do that proved effective? What hasn’t worked? Share your experience and thoughts in the comments below.

 

 

About the Author: Jason Horejs

Jason Horejs is the Owner of Xanadu Gallery, author of best selling books "Starving" to Successful & How to Sell Art , publisher of reddotblog.com, and founder of the Art Business Academy. Jason has helped thousands of artists prepare themselves to more effectively market their work, build relationships with galleries and collectors, and turn their artistic passion into a viable business.

39 Comments

  1. Hi Jason – Great question and good answers. As the director of a gallery myself, I would say I actually prefer an email submission first before an artists asks me to view the work in person. An email submission is the fastest way for me to see if an artist is even in my ballpark. As for being able to discern special techniques in photos – most gallerists have a good eye, so unless you take bad pictures, emailed photos are almost always fine to start. Many times I get submissions from artists who clearly have not even bothered to look at the gallery website to see what it is that we do and that is always a non-starter. But if an artist takes the time to put together a thoughtful letter of introduction (using proper grammar and full sentences!) that shows they have a sense of what we do and can say why they think they would be a good fit for us, I will always look at the work and respond. Yes this takes time! And if you are recommending contacting 60 – 100 galleries it could take a lot of time, but if an artist wants my time to review their work, I deserve a bit of theirs.

    1. Robert, I do share your appreciation for full sentences, proper use of the language, spelling and punctuation. Art is one form of communication which reaches beyond what words convey.

    2. Dear Robert,
      I do agree with you, that artist should browse through each gallery website, that he/she would like to submit image of artworks. Especially for myself, I have to have plenty time to prepare for correct submission, because, I paint different themes, with different styles.

      Long ago I have rejected artist’s obligation to maintain a single cohesive style. Also, I have never
      limited myself to one style, just because of complacency, or comfort, or practicality, or complexity. I have simultaneously painted abstract and contemporary paintings, collage, woodcut print and and etching prints, surreal fantasies and photo realistic portrayals of people and city life.

      I do know that most of galleries do preffer artists with one style, but, honestly Robert I do not paint for galleries. Being an really artist, that is like a magic, To take a blank canvas and then challenge yourself is exciting and I
      am always fascinated with the endless possibilities I can create.

      As for “using proper grammar and full sentences” for God sake I am not writing movie script for Hollywood. I am an visual artist and I am painting different theme from our contemporary life…

      Oh, b.t.w., English is my second language which I started to learn about 6 years ago… I can write “using proper grammar and full sentences” in my language (Chinese), but no one would understand anything.

      Did you forget an American proverb? “A PAINTING SAYS MORE THAN THOUSAND OF WORDS”

      Thank you for your time.

      Seahawk

      1. Seahawk, I appreciate what you said about grammar and sentences, but I also understand the gallery owner’s point. You don’t want to sound like you are illiterate or from the “hood”, either. I think the point he is making is that the letter needs to be professional and readable.

        1. OK, Sarah, I agree with you, that letter or correspondence needs to be readable. Also, gallery owner should worry more about artist’s professionalism and his/her creativity than “writing” letter… If you don’t have good paintings letter will not help you, because paintings will be exhibited and not letters…

          Sarah, that is my opinion…

      2. Hi; Since you do so many styles, are you in a gallery? If you are, do you do different styles for different galleries and lastly, do you tell the galleries that you do many styles? Looking forward to your answers. Regards, Gloria

        1. Dear Gloria
          While living in China, with two solo exhibition in China’s National Art museum (1997 & 1999), I was dimmed as one of 10 best Chinese artists and China’s National Art Treasure… There I painted portraits on commission for living. Also, I was fascinated how many and different subjects (theme) could be painted or depicted on canvas. I painted different theme from our contemporarily life…

          Moving from Beijing to New York City, becoming American citizen, I have learned that here (NYC) are not so many galleries that would present my works, but, was elected member of Salmagundi (founded 1871) and associated member of Allied Artist of America (founded 1914) and Pen & Brush, (founded 1894). Also, I got exclusive representation i State of Nevada (Las vegas) at Ortego’s Juniper Art Gallery. Here in NYC, my two new theme, Love New York and Quantum Art, 32 respective 8 paintings are on permanent display (by appointment only) in Tropical Oasis at Our Children Foundation, where, I have art studio and one time a week, I am teaching sketching and separately, oil paintings. I make my living painting portraits in new style that I have developed. Here is the link to new style, ABSTRACT – REALISM.
          http://www.seahawkartmuseum.com/abstractrealism.htm

          And to the end, my respect to you, dear Gloria. You are very accomplished artist (with many styles) and not any “brand”, as Mr. Jason Horeje, XANADU gallery director, suggested…

          SeaHawk

          P.S.

          Picasso used to work on a cubist piece in the morning and a neoclassical piece in the afternoon… Richter has produced abstract as well as photorealistic paintings… Hans Arp, a follower of surreal and abstract art in different medium, only to mention few…

      3. Hello Seahawk,
        I agree with you about not limiting myself to one style and actually find some exhibitions SO boring. Seems to be the same picture in different positions endlessly repeated.
        So unlike the nature of many artists who are inspired by diverse things.
        Galleries seem to like a “tidy” look, rather than an interesting one.

        1. Thank you Irena… I do agree with you about, specially NYC art scenes… boring, boring, boring… Also I have already answered to Gloria (above) and would only add, that you are very, very talented painter, but it looks that we women, we are still not accepted in to this part of “all-men” WORLD…. WE NEED TO MAKE ART REVOLUTION, but without galleries owners, because, their only agenda is commercial, instead of artistic’.

    3. Hello Robert.
      I truly appreciate your point of view and I wished more galleries would give the artist more regard. After all, both need each other to be successful.
      Thanks so listening.

      Marlene

  2. Jason…in your course you suggest [as stated above], to present the portfolio IN PERSON….NO APPOINTMENT…..JUST SHOW UP! So I did just that. The two owners and a senior salesperson graciously took time to look through my portfolio (a dozen pics in plastic covers in a bound 3 ring binder). They asked me to return with 4 actual paintings the following day. All three took the time to discuss my work. What wouldn’t sell and why and did take the one they thought would sell. They gave invaluable hints of what sells IN THEIR GALLERY [of 266 artists! Make that 267 now!
    Outstanding information in your course…..and I thank you!

    1. Congratulations Lee, especially for taking the training and applying it! I’ve always approached galleries in person without an appointment (beginning 30 years ago), usually with paintings in the car, and it has worked out beautifully. I had rejections, but almost always came away being represented by one of my top 3 choices in a particular location. I have managed to paint full time for more than 20 years. When I first started it was terrifying, but most worthwhile endeavors place us outside our comfort zones for awhile.

  3. Hello Jason,
    The broadcast Tuesday, October 15th, was full of very helpful information for artists. It gave the Gallery’s viewpoint and mentioned many aspects of “The ART Business” that we don’t think about unless we have had Gallery experience. I participated in a cooperative gallery where I learned about hanging, meeting and greeting the public, talking about my own art and the work of other artists, selling and record keeping. Since then I have had my paintings in other galleries, many of which have closed.
    I feel that my watermedia paintings have unique qualities that hold universal buyer appeal for the right gallery or galleries. I am searching for Gallery Representation near Phoenix, AZ. So that is my quest! Who? What? When? Where? Am I already there and just don’t know it?

    All the best,
    Hazel Stone

  4. Walked in cold, viewed the art, complemented the gallery, asked how long the gallery was in business, and asked who the owner was. Happened to be talking to him. I introduced myself as a newcomer to the area and artist, just having moved here, and looking for a gallery to feature my art. Asked about what commission he was typically charging ….handed my fancy business card to him with my Web site address and asked him to take a look and give me a call if he would be interested. I could then bring some pieces for him to see. Took only one day for him to call back….he asked that I bring about 10 pieces (framed and unframed). Long story short, I kept bringing more artwork and discussed further what size art he was looking for. Subsequently also built a relationship with his wife who makes the gallery look great, switching pictures in and out. Jason called this out correctly yesterday…. Right Place Right Time… And I happened to use my good intuition to pay that gallery a visit on the spur of the moment.
    Have had steady sales plus I worked a market this summer for the first time using art cards and small canvas prints. I made sure to mention the gallery around the corner at every opportunity.

  5. Dear Jason,
    Back in the early 2000’s I took a trip to Sedona AZ along with an 8×10 color brochure of about 15 or 20 thumbnails of my work that my daughter in law had made for me and a couple of originals. Actually I just planned on visting the western and Native American galleries to see what was selling. I didn’t think I really had the nerve t0 show my work. The very first gallery in this center that I walked into greeted me. They were so friendly it took my fear away. I shook hands and explained I came to Sedona for a little vacation and to visit the galleries I explained that I painted NativeAmerican women and children. They askd if I had anything they could see. I showed them the flyer. The galllery dirctor got excited and said we have been looking for a figurative artist and asked me if I had any paintings with me. I brought the two in from the car and they hung them immediately. This same thing happened in a California Native American Indian art gallery. Mr brother in law went in with my portfolio book. I drove there with several original paintings. In December 2002 and January 2003 I was now in three galleries and they sold my work for $38,000. My husband took ill and eventually passed away. I tried to sell giclee pints but the gallelries wanted orignals. I am excitd once again and I’m working on a nw collection, larger and more contemporary. I am making this collection cohesive with the same framing Jason and I love it! Thank you for all your wonderful advise. I look forward to trying it again.

  6. Since taking your course Jason I haven’t approached another gallery. I re-did my portfolio and now I’m just putting them all together! However previously I just walked into galleries I liked and once the sales person started a conversation is mention I was an artist. They usually politely ask what kind of art I do which is where I pull out my phone where I have an album of my latest work. They usually ask me too being in 3-4 new works to see what I can do if they are interested. I have always been successful once I get to this point. My last exhibit they were just thinking of putting some of my work in a group exhibit of local artists but offered me a solo exhibit instead once they saw the work.

  7. Dear Jason,
    This is all a little mysterious.
    Being handicapped I am not able to just drive all over hell and back so I have taken the extra effort to prepare and maintain world-class websites, shopping carts and even direct mail campaigns utilizing the finest in art card samples.
    I have even gone the extra mile as a subscriber to your online services…
    But I have never, after months of effort, been able to get a simple “How do you do?” from your end.
    I remain in the dark.
    – Bestest,
    Joe King

  8. I stopped in a rug gallery and asked them about a hole in my carpet. I asked if I could use crazy glue on the spot where the carpet came out. He said “yes”. Then, if they could see my art work at my studio, showed him my new book “Cute Li’l Donkeys (Raising and Grazing).” He liked it. I gave him my card that has a painting of my book cover from another book “It’s Not Easy Being A Woman, vol 2”. I told him I had probably 1000 painting in my studio. He said that I should call him Monday , use the bottom number that was on his card. I did that, left a message, and he did not call. So, I stopped by on Wednesday, yesterday. He apologized to me said that he would come next week and pick up the paintings during the week, if I called on Monday next week. So, I am hoping that this will work. It will clear out my art work from my studio. I might have a book signing also. What do you think about my approach?

  9. Beside the portfolio of recent work, artists could submit a resume, showing their participation in solo and joint exhibits and events, art festivals, publications, awards, etc. Statistics about sales of their original work and reproductions would also prove about feasibility to the gallery. Websites and social media presence also would help.

  10. I am a painter looking for gallery representation, and will ‘cold call’ galleries as has been suggested, but I would like to add the reason I’ve held off on this practice. In the 90’s I owned and operated a frame shop/gallery in the gallery district of Milwaukee, quarterly I would participate ‘gallery night’, a well attended event. Though my main business was custom framing, I had a good reputation among artists and my location was hot so I was approached by many local and emerging artists.
    I very much disliked when an artist would walk in without an appointment, plop down their portfolio and pull out their work expecting my attention. Courteously I would give them my attention, but sometimes beneath the smile I was agitated for being interrupted from the task I was being diverted from (a business owner is always in the middle of something).
    I rarely chose any of these artists to represent, but there was more than the quality of work that would sway my considerations.
    So if I am to employee the cold call practice as an artist I will make sure to avoid some of unprofessional practices that I bristled at when I was the gallerist. Here’s a quick check list I would suggest other artists consider as well:
    First: Do your homework, does your work fit in to what the gallery represents? The internet has made this easy. On a galleries website make sure you read their “about” page, what are they interested in representing? Does your work look like it would fit into what they already represent (or is it too similar?). In the 90’s this wasn’t possible, but it was obvious when an artist would walk into my business for the first time, and, not even look around my walls before approaching me. Also, are your price points in sync?
    Second: Call to find out who you should be talking to and if you can’t get an appointment at least find out when the appropriate person is likely there. Artists would take my employees time when I was away, my employees knew and disclosed they were not in the position to select artists. Left behind contact numbers were automatically disposed of by me with these artists. I think it’s okay to leave behind contact info, but if the employee says they don’t make artist selections then don’t waste the gallerist payroll.
    Third: Be respectful of the gallerists time, ASK for a few minutes of their time. Be willing to come back in an hour if ‘now’ is not a good time. Be prepared, you should be able to show & describe your work, plus hit a few high points of your career in 5-10 minutes. A gallerist can calibrate your fit into their gallery with 2-3 originals in addition to some nice quality prints and/or a quick tour of your website on YOUR device if you have one. Maybe asking if you could show them your website on their computer is okay, but I think it best if you not interrupt their screens. If they want to spend more time with you then do…but as soon as you feel they want you gone, go! Back to when I was the gallerist, it was an automatic dismissal to artists that took up too much of my time. If you hear “I only can give you another minute or so” start packing up! Insistence in making sure they know more about you will work to your disadvantage. A 1/2 hour is too long, and hour is outta bounds!
    Don’t talk as though your the new Van Gogh,
    As for technique, if it’s hard to explain, please have practiced your description to enable you to cover it within a few minutes. You may not cover every little aspect, but if they are interested the details can be discussed later.
    ALL details can be discussed later. Don’t forget that in all probability you interrupted the gallerist, so don’t overstay the amount of time that you’ve been welcomed!
    Fourth: Leave contact info and some marketing material behind.
    Beyond everything I’ve mentioned here Xanadu has been giving us loads of advise on quality, how to present, artist statements, bio’s….etc. that additionally need to be employed by all of us.
    So, as much as I’ve been hesitant to cold call, I will now as I think my biggest apprehension has been due to having to endure what I had!
    I shall cold call and with the utmost professionalism and courtesy.

    1. Artists have a different temperament than business owners. Unfortunately, you missed out on knowing some very interesting characters by dismissing them so casually. Hopefully, as an artist, you will be treated with more warmth on your cold calls.

  11. It’s About Who You Know. -I have a friend (represented) that suggested the gallery he was in, so I checked out their website to make sure that I would fit in with the type of work they showed there, and then submitted a portfolio. It took a year and a half to hear back from them, I got an email from an assistant there that invited me to be in a summer group exhibition happen in 10 days from then. (I assumed it was a test to see how serious I was) The gallery was 4 states away, and I couldn’t take the time off work to get there, so I shipped a couple smaller pieces down right away, and they were happy with them. 3 Months later I planned a visit, drove down with my work, and he took several and set up a show.
    Pay to Play. – (2 years later) The second gallery I got was through an online submission to a publication called Studio Visit magazine. It was a jury selection process that was free to submit to, but if you got selected you had to pay nearly $200 to have a single page in it, I got selected, I had a little bit of extra money at the time so I went for 2 pages (at the $300 discount) because I feared one wouldn’t be enough to be seen with over 150-200 other pages of artists. It worked out, I got one single email back from a (at the time) Pop Up Gallery in NYC that invited me (the painting that was in the magazine) to be in a theme based show they were doing. and several shows since. I stayed with them and a year later they opened up a space in Brooklyn.

  12. Hello Jason, Nice topic and I have learned a lot from your newsletters and webinars. Although it is only 4 years since i changed my career as being an artist, I have built a good website for myself and networking with other artists. From all the newsletters that i read, i understand that i have to have a good inventory. I am currently working on that and trying to update my website as well. Thank you for all the suggestions.

  13. I have been a professional artist exhibiting for 25 years, and a gallery director for the past 7. I am now leaving my gallery director job to continue painting full time, and I do share all the same concerns you all do. I am in the same boat in approaching galleries for representation. As a gallery director I can confirm that interrupting an owner or director on a cold call usually is not productive. We do get many inquiries for submissions and I handle the responses: because I am an active artist as well , I always respond, even if we are not interested, because as an artist seeking representation myself, it is at least a little comforting that someone looked, even if not interested. If I like the work but it is not a fit, I will say so, as again, such feedback is helpful and I want to help my fellow artists. My gallery owner is not as interactive, often not even replying to inquiries. So it goes. One very important tip that was mentioned in the broadcast and I think should be repeated: Check out the high and low seasons in the region you are looking, and don’t even think about making an inquiry, either by email or in person, during high season. You won’t get the time of day from the gallerist and they will not remember your inquiry. Better to make inquiries during slower times of the year. So personally, now I am preparing more work before I even begin making my inquiries (of 60 – 100 galleries!) because if and when you are accepted you need to be prepared to ship work NOW. A few pieces is not enough to display of an artist, a gallery usually wants a decent body of work (10 pieces?). And if you can get recommendations from your current galleries to new gallerists they recommend, or from artists you know and admire, that can get your little toe in the door. (If possible have the gallery owner or artist contact the gallery they recommend directly. Then follow up with your own inquiry after that initial introduction.) I hope this information is helpful to you all. I will be taking all advice given by others, Jason and Barney. Thanks for all or your suggestions.

  14. As a working artist with both good and bad experiences with galleries, here are a few of my thoughts:
    First, always visit the gallery in person to determine how the work is displayed (nothing on the floor or sliding racks please), if they keep reasonable business hours and what their personalities are like ( an important criteria for any business partnership).
    Second, be sure your style and subject matter relate to the galleries focus.
    Third, remember that the gallery works on CONSIGNMENT and is not paying you a dime for your paintings (unlike every other retail business that needs to buy its merchandise up-front). A gallery may, therefore, ask for more than 20 pieces if you let them-the majority will probably stay in the back room and never see the light of day. Start out by supplying the gallery 6 to 8 pieces until you see how their sales are.

  15. I have a friend who is also an artist. She has been trying to get into a particular gallery. She has taken paintings to them and received suggestions from them which she has taken to heart.
    I was talking to her a few days ago and she told me they would take her paintings and hang them in the basement gallery if she would pay them $400.00! She obviously refused…

  16. Required watching:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gmFjAAA3AT8
    Museum Directors, Gallery Owners have essentially the same motivations as Newspaper Editors: THEY ARE GATE KEEPERS.
    It is their prime duty to keep out any information or influence that does not match or meet the narrow specifications of what they want to project as their own self-image.
    You will do well to view your own commercial success and failures in that light.
    To them, your art is really not about you – it’s all about them, and whether you are willing to reflect their vision of the world – instead of your own.

  17. When a gallery owner tells me my work doesn’t fit in their gallery or they already have an artist filling the niche my work would fit in, they are almost always acting as a responsible business person who is actually doing me a favor. Different galleries attract different clients because, hey, people have different tastes and needs, (just like us artists, eh? It goes along with being human, thank God.) Gallery owners who don’t know what sells in their shop go out of business, often taking their artists’ paintings with them sans payment.
    Gallery owners who know what sells but take in other things anyway go out of business. Same problem for the artists.
    Gallery owners who don’t support and “defend” their artists aren’t going to work hard for me, either. They will lose me after tying up my work without results for too long, and they will lose their other good, salable artists, too. Then they will go out of business.
    If the gallery has been in business for a long time, it means they know what will work for their shop and that they are doing a good job. If they don’t carry figurative work, it’s for a reason: It Doesn’t Sell In Their Shop. So I bring in florals and landscapes for them, or abstracts, or still life if that’s what I paint…whatever they feel will sell (which of course plays well with what’s on their walls). Or They Will Go Out Of Business.
    Working with a gallery is a partnership. It’s really not all about you. Or them. I need a partner I can work with, and so do they. I need them to sell my paintings and help me develop and keep collectors. They need me to provide things their collectors will want and provide saleable paintings reliably. We each need the other to uphold their half of the deal.
    So the next time a gallery owner says no, take it as gift. You really don’t want him/her to say yes if the answer is actually no.

  18. Hi Jason

    For the moment I am writing to say how thankful I am to have found your website, blog and attendant information. Ordering your book is now on my To Do list.

    I am not an artist….rather, I am a retired negotiator, nana of ten and proud mother of five children, two of whom are artists. For the past year, I have taken on the role of de facto Artist Representative for my ‘fine artist’ son…..not my tattoo artist son. In so doing I have become somewhat of an expert in scouring the Internet searching for anything and everything I can find that helps me help my son’s art career. My son was well on his way to a successful career when he had a near fatal accident six years ago. So after a lengthy recovery and rehabilitation he has resumed his art career over the past year and things are going pretty well, albeit he needs help with some of the dreaded ‘business’ aspects of his career. Enter Mom! So thank you for what you do. Yours is one of the most practical sites I have come cross. Sincerely, Linda K. Wallace, Artist Representative for Ryan Douglas Jacque.

  19. The art world is elitist. Successful people are successful artists. It seems to translate that way. It is truely the same kind of talent as any social skill. I’ve noticed the extrovert rules this domain, pretty much the same as any other field .

    1. Julia – I understand what you are saying, and I agree that outgoing artists have an advantage, but I represent a number of artists who are true introverts. I believe that an artist can learn how to make a place in the art world even if they are not extroverts. You might not be able to change who you are, but you can change how you interact with galleries and collectors to build your success.

      P.S. I like to consider myself an integral part of the art world and I also consider myself anything but elitist.

  20. Hi Jason,
    Art Works represents over 100 artists and is the largest commercial gallery in Western Canada. We meet every 2 weeks as a group to view and discuss every email submission sent our way; we encourage both young and emerging artists and as a result, several have become best sellers. We however, do not encourage artists to bring their work to the gallery without our invitation to do so. As you said, we are very busy people preoccupied with closing sales and sending out proposals. We simply do not have the time. We all have an opinion as well (the owner, consultants and administrators) and not everyone is present or available to view the art at any random moment. Having said this, artists dropping by unannounced with art is actually (on our part) a disservice to the artist. We care deeply and believe that every talent out there merits the same equitable opportunity. This method after trial and error through 30 years in the business of selling art works best for us.
    Warm regards,
    Rodney (Art Consultant)

  21. I am an artist without gallery representation at the moment, but not in a hurry until I feel ready Thanks to your excellent advice which I will work on.
    I have one suggestion to also check out the gallery and find out how long they have been in business, in other words, how successful are they. I got burned when a new gallery that had my paintings went bankrupt after one year and lost five large pieces that they claim were sold. I filed a claim with the bankruptcy process and won 20% of the value (sales) which was satisfying in a small way, but I have no idea who purchased these works. I admit to being new to the gallery business and so it was my inexperience that got me in trouble

  22. Painter and gallery owner. I’m surprised so many here seem to have had luck w walking in cold w a portfolio or original piece. Personally, I don’t like when someone walks in and expects me to drop what I’m doing and look at their work. Usually I tell them to send samples and a link to their website, and nine out of ten times they don’t have a site. And walking in with one piece and nothing else is pointless.
    As a painter, I always felt it was bad form to do that. Instead (after I’ve done my due diligence on a gallery to make sure it could be a good fit) I’d hand them a sample card or cards (sometimes w a SASE) and ask them to take a look at their convenience. BEST case scenario is visiting a gallery a few times and sending sample cards and show announcements, and then personally (and quickly) handing them a card on a visit, saying “I hope this helps connect my work with my face!” and it usually does. Then when I ask to show them work, they see that I’ve put some time in, and it’s more personal. That scenario has led me to many of my shows.

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