Working with Galleries | Three Video Presentations

Last week I shared three video sessions talking about working with galleries. These videos focused on the importance of working with galleries, how to approach galleries, and how to establish long-term relationships with galleries. Because the videos were posted to our Mentorship website, some of you may have missed them, so I’m posting them on the blog.

Please note that the videos reference the launch of the mentorship application as if it’s in the future, but the application process is actually open right now at: http://mentorship.artbusinessacademy.net/?p=25

I encourage you to learn more about the Mentorship program – it’s an awesome way to learn more about the artist/gallery relationship! Learn more and apply to participate by going to: http://mentorship.artbusinessacademy.net/?p=25

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.

33 Comments

  1. Thank you Jason for another good round of information! What a great pleasure it has been these past 10 years working with you and Elaine and all the others at Xanadu Gallery! You make my job a lot easier and fun…

    1. I am fairly new to the fine art market and was lucky enough to be approached by a local gallery that shows and sells my work. I have been itching to have my batiks shown in other cities and have been not sure how to proceed. Voila, your videos arrived. Thank you so much for all this information. I had just started submitting work to juried shows in areas I was interested in thinking galleries might notice me.., and that it would legitimize my work. I’m excited to put some of your suggestions to work.

  2. Hi Jason,
    I like working with a gallery. I actually prefer it, but live so far out in the country, it is hard to deliver and pick up works on a regular basis. And, unfortunately, the nicest gallery I was ever in, was only open for a year. (The recession, and new grand babies of the owner, did it in).
    I am a person who has only so much time and energy on my hands. I prefer to use it to make art. I never, I’m sorry to tell you, had any interest in the business end of art. I still don’t, even though I spend dollars and time trying to acquire the skills. Thank you for your own hard work, trying to inform us all. I much appreciate it.

  3. Thanks for the inspiration. The videos content and blog give me a whole new perspective on working with galleries. It shows that I need to get off my rear and respond rapidly and reliably instead of rarely and reluctantly.

  4. Thank you for these videos. As a new artist they are so critical to giving me the information I need prior to stepping in to speak with galleries. I have had a rep for a large San Francisco gallery suggest online galleries, and that may be where I need to begin, however it seems to me one of the joys of buying art is in the journey and the relationships that develop. I live near Carmel and I really love strolling through the town viewing artwork. I also love meeting and talking to other creative professionals and artists about their work. For this reason it is hard to imagine places known for their art communities to be without a vibrant brick and mortar gallery scene. Having spent the better part of my career in design I also appreciate handing off much of the marketing and sales -which can be a full time job- to galleries so I can invest time into painting. I sure hope that day isn’t too far off! Thanks again and I’ll keep watching and learning!

  5. Jason,
    Thanks for the videos. You answered several of my questions in regards to gallery relationships and how the process works. I look forward to the mentorship information in the coming weeks.
    Thanks again
    Dana Kern

  6. I appreciate all of your valuable information thus far. I unfortunately started my journey late in the game, but better later than never. I live in a very large market (NYC) and I guess I find it a little intimidating because of my lack of experience, and what to write on my resume for starters. I would like to hear more information for the less experienced like myself trying to break into this industry.

    1. I also have started the art world journey late in the game and like Perez am intimidated, or more like terrified, due to my lack of experience as well as the fact that I am a self-taught artist and do not have a degree in art. The idea of writing a resume without any art experience makes me fear that breaking into the industry will be an impossibility for me. In the future, if you could address any pointers for inexperienced artists who have a consistent style and method, it might give me a ray of hope! And it would be Greatly appreciated…

  7. Gosh, Jason, these videos were great. I can’t wait to get further in my instructions from you to get answers to these questions I have currently. I want to approach galleries, but don’t exactly know how to start. I’ve listened to these 3 brief videos and understand what I need. But can you actually contact someone by email to introduce yourself? At that time do you send a couple of pictures of your art and then ask for an appointment? What if their gallery is out of town for you? Then do you send a portfolio of several pieces of work? Or do you send the portfolio of art at the time you approach them by the first email? The catch is, I’m a glass artist. It is extremely difficult to photograph glass art to be able to see the depth in the glass. There are many “fine” art galleries…few of which consider glass art to be “fine”. If their website doesn’t show all their art on line, and they are out of town, how to you know you are a “good fit” for them? They may carry glass artists and say they don’t want another but you are totally different than what they carry…how can you get past that and convince them you are different? I can’t wait to work with galleries!!

  8. Jason,
    I just completed viewing your three recent videos….I am a novice at art, but know video quite well. The quality of your presentation is excellent and it is enjoyable to view the art in Xanadu Gallery in the background. And the information which you present as always is rich with realization. Thank you.

  9. Thanks, Jason. These videos seem to have arrived at the perfect time in my career. I recently gave up managing a cooperative studio and stopped accepting commissions for community murals so I can focus on creating and showing studio work. I am thrilled to have these videos as guides as I start my new journey.
    Thanks, again,
    Marianne

  10. Thank you for posting these three very informative videos, Jason. I have been trying to learn more about the business side of art online over the past few years–and you give some of the best advice out there. I have applied for the 2016-17 mentorship, which I found to be very reasonably priced, and I am looking forward to learning new things this fall. The biggest challenge I’ve had in moving forward in my art career is that “life” has thrown me a few serious curve balls and taken away studio time. Things have settled down again–whew! Even though I wasn’t able to produce much art, I still thought about my art a lot, and have made mental progress. Thank you for your Red Dot Blog. I’ve learned a lot!

  11. I have just begun to consider affiliating myself with an art bakery and your videos and blogs are perfect for preparing for that journey. Thank you for sharing!

  12. Hi Jason, I love galleries and have discourage that many have closed in recent years. I hope that artists can help them thrive as well, so I really appreciate your voice being out there. I have been painting full time for about 4 years now, and have done a couple of outdoor art shows each of those years. You are right, they are a ton of work. But they were a very good experience. I learned how to talk to people about my art, I got good feedback, I gained confidence, and I sold a lot of paintings. Now I feel ready to approach some (or dozens as you say!) galleries, and hopefully allow THEM to sell my art. I don’t really want to be doing it anymore! It was kind of fun the first few times, but not fun enough to go through all of that work every summer. I am going to be taking your advice from the videos and from your book. Thanks again.

  13. Not only do these great videos help us all but the responses are immensely helpful to me.
    I have learned so much and gained more confidence in approaching galleries.
    Thanks to Jason and all of you!

  14. Thank you for your informative and accessible videos. Approaching galleries with my work has bordered on the terrifying, however, your video has provided me with an arsenal of knowledge, the most significant being that I need to continue to build up a consistent and sufficient body of work. Watch this space!

  15. Thank you for sharing this important information, which makes sense and makes approaching a gallery so much less daunting. A lot to think about but at least I now have an idea about how to approach galleries for representation and what to do when I have it. I now know where I have been going wrong.

  16. Jason,
    You provide an enormous service to artists, beginners through professionsals, since all of us have places that we need to improve, and some of us need to learn from the get-go. It can be difficult to even know where one is within that spectrum. The mentorship program holds great appeal for me, though I judge myself far from ready.
    I find I stumble over basic questions, and they become my “reasons” for disengagement or postponement. I seem to have endless excuses, yet many friends and relatives ask about what I’ve painted recently, and tell me I need to keep painting, so my lack of confidence and forward motion I take to be fear-based.
    But my basic questions persist.
    For example, (I have watched quite a few of your blogs, but far from all of them) I worry about archival characteristics of supplies and of storage choices, so the customer gets a product with the life expectancy I would wish to acquire if I were them. And from a practical standpoint, I wonder and worry about framing, not framing, type of framing (someone once told me that a buying customer will almost always reframe, after purchase). I want to be professional, but I don’t want to pay retail for my materials, and don’t know how other artists deal with these concerns, or even whether the gallery I might eventually work through might prefer to be the guide on things such as how my work is framed. (Most of my work has been in pastel.)
    I think I ought to understand and set up a long-term method of inventory control and tracking that will be professional from the get-go, so that I am organized and don’t have to re-work because I started with a broken system. Then there is storage while you build an inventory, and the mechanics of shipping, ad nauseum. And my workspace is in the basement, unfinished so far though I have jury-rigged decent lighting. It’s just not an inviting place to be and becomes default storage for nearly anything. Arrrgh.
    All these obstacles I put or allow to be put in my path, over and above the personal issues of family and health that all of us face.
    I was once accepted by a gallery whose owner said, “Oh, you artists. You’re ready, girl!”, and took pieces I had brought only to get the gallerist’s opinion on my readiness, not expecting his reply. Apparently major roadwork began at the same time, making the gallery nearly inaccessible, and when I came back, the owner said only 4 customers had even come in that month. I took the paintings home, and they hang in my daughter’s office now. I also made one (only) effort at entering a local, annual juried show. I submitted a small pen and ink, which was accepted. It didn’t sell, and though I spent a an hour or two hovering in the vicinity of where it was hanging, I never heard anyone comment on it one way or another, so no sense of feedback there, either. My other daughter has that one.
    It’s the first of August, and the last day to register or chose to audit. I’m vowing to use this new month as the first day of my art process, whereby I will do some artwork every day. But as you might guess, it’s not the first time I’ve made that vow. I have no recent work to submit. Strangely, I suspect being an artist is more important to me than I allow myself to believe, because when I get very close to it verbally, my emotions well, and I end in tears. This is the only topic for which I get such a visceral reaction.
    I’m going to Mexico for a couple of weeks with my sis in October, and my goal is to have done enough actual practice of art that when I am in Guanajuato I may be able to jump in and enjoy the process instead of letting it intimidate and stymie me. I have heard that quantity over quality gets you to quality sooner, so I’m heading for quantity, and determined not to allow myself to judge my results, but just expect progress.

  17. I have limited experience with galleries. I’m in a co-op gallery now that recently sold some of my work and has given me some exposure. Before that, I was at a winery that sold some pieces but also damaged some others and lost a small one. (??!?) I’m in a small show this month in my present gallery. Would it be appropriate to send a photo of the hung paintings to a gallery I’m interested in?

  18. Hello Jason,
    I’ve just completed the three videos and am delighted with the material you presented here. I have one major gallery in Yosemite Valley that has good sales for my work and two other small not-very-successful galleries in Mariposa, a small town near the Park. I’ve become a “regional” painter for this unique landscape, but want to branch out to the entire state and find galleries in L.A. and San Francisco. My goal is to produce more work that reflects the entire state of California rather than Yosemite (which is my strength). I am a dedicated full-time painter and produce a lot of work. I’ve lived in Yosemite for a long time, but I am ready to branch out. I look forward to the rest of your programs. Thanks for the great advice and engaging manner in the videos. You have inspired me to find more galleries for my work. Thank you!!!

  19. I am a UK artists and basically follow all the pointers you speak about Jason! It has taken years to build but works. I have gallery representation with 4 galleries within my wider geographical area. Each gallery has a slightly different emphasis and type of client but are all good quality and run by people I respect and I have good and individual relationships with.I researched very carefully each gallery before approaching them, it is tough to break through but like you say Jason I now have more exposure and income streams and feel I have reached a more professional level. I also maintain and update my web exposure and have sold directly from my web site and from on line galleries such as Saatchi. I take part in well chosen art shows ( you have to be careful who you are showing with as your work can be devalued or enhanced!)
    I feel I have a good balance with how I show but the key is research, professionalism, high personal standards – never let anything leave your studio you are not 100% confident in. Always be reliable and honest with gallery owners, they will then work harder for you. Having a working relationship with galleries takes hard work, humour and trust, there are no short cuts but it feels very satisfying and freeing creatively if you get a mutually respecting partnership.

  20. You are so personable and understanding of the artist and your part in making all parties happy. You have to wear several hats. I have work that’s just sitting in boxes from over the years. Art marketing is so web based and time consuming. Having gallery representation would be wonderful. I have been in galleries mainly in group shows, and have been fortunate to have sold work in those shows. I am a New Orleans native, who was getting on the map at home, then moved to Jersey City for 10 years was getting on the map there, when I had to move back to Louisiana. so its been a crazy journey. I have not approached any galleries but am in a group show at present. Putting my name in the search engine will bring you to my work.

  21. Hi Jason
    Thanks for this video and the other gallery videos. I participated in your seminar two years ago and I am slowly working toward establishing a gallery relationship. On the basis of my portfolio, which I put together according to your guidelines, I have already had one solo show, although it was not in an art gallery. I am looking forward to your next videos.

  22. Thanks so much Jason,
    The videos were exactly what I was looking for. I am represented by several successful galleries with whom I have great relationships with. I did get into quite a few more in 2007 but after the crash…3/4 of the galleries I was in went out of business. I’ve been very busy locally, but have really wanted to expand my audience and seek representation in new locations. You’re videos were very helpful in giving me up to date information on contacting galleries and developing relationships. Onward and upward…thanks a million!

  23. Thank you so much Jason for al the time you give to help us all. I am justing beginning this journey and it helps so much to have your videos, interviews and tips. The responses from everyone also helps me to keep encouraged to continue knowing that everyone has been here at step 1. My dream is to have my work in a gallery and these videos make me know that it is possible. I just have to keep working. thank you!!

  24. Ruth
    Thanks, Jason for your very informative videos. In the past I have sold work in street fairs or to friends, but made my living in other ways, never believing that I could be an artist who made their living from their art. It is late for me but it is my fondest dream to accomplish. I have been exploring photography for the last few years, and have a desire to get back into painting with acrylic s and oils, although my largest body of work has been in abstract monotypes with mixed media.

  25. Thank you, Jason, for the insightful information. I have successfully sold several of my small sculptures through a local gallery. Unfortunately, it went out of business because the owner suddenly had pressing family matters. After that, I have spent a year buying a house, remodeling and selling a house, moving, and very little time on making art. I do have a good inventory, and your videos are helpful in putting my priorities in order. I feel less intimidated and more confident that the next year will be my best yet. Thanks again!

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