you want to be an artist
create. You paint, sculpt, draw or take photos. But do you have
what it takes to be a professional artist and be successful?
is a form of communication. Artists must be willing to communicate
and to translate, especially when they are seeking to exhibit
are a few rules to follow when marketing your work:
Create a proper and professional presentation
2. Research and find the right gallery
3. Work with the gallery
it is your job to create a portfolio package with three key elements
to sell your work to the gallery market. Your resume, artist statement
and sheet of slides must be presented in a professional manner.
You have exactly 35 seconds to make an impression on the person
who opens your material.
your material slip in an out of the envelope easily? Does your
package have all the necessary elements? Is it clean and labeled
properly? Is it simple and easy to understand?
someone, most likely the director or curator, will remove your
sheet of slides and look at them on a light table or through widow
light - not removing them from the plastic sheet they are in.
If your slides are not good, you don't have a chance. The image
must be centered and exposed correctly. Do not use mylar tape.
If you cannot shoot your own slides, find some one who can. If
you cannot pay them, trade them for artwork. All slides must be
labeled: Identify top of slide, your name, the title of the piece,
medium and size. If you cannot fit this information onto your
slides, label each with a number and enclose a slide script. A
slide script is a sheet of paper that lists each slide number
and the pertinent information.
you pass stage one and the person screening your work likes it,
they will read the enclosed information. It is very important
that your artist statement correlate to the slides you are presenting.
Steve Frazier from the Schneider Museum of Art in Ashland, Ore.,
urges artists to have friends read the statement and look at their
slides. If there is no relationship between the two, the statement
needs to be rewritten. As your work evolves, so should your statement.
Lawrence, photographer and owner of Lawrence Photographic Gallery
in downtown Portland, shared the elements an artist statement
needs. Half the statement should describe why you do the art you
do; the other half should be about the process. What is pertinent
to your work? What are the aesthetics? What issues are you exploring?
Where do you see yourself in the history of your medium? Who are
your influences? What makes your work cohesive? These are among
the questions that need to be addressed.
resume should be straightforward and to the point. You want to
get into the door - not overwhelm anyone. Your resume should list
your experience as an artist, seminars you have attended, what
influences you have, your education, who taught you (are you self-taught?),
your process and your exhibition experience.
your resume and artist statement. Do not print it on handmade
paper. If you cannot do it, go to a place like Kinko's that can.
You do not have to do the whole nine yards yourself. You are the
artist; all you really have to do is create the artwork. But to
get an exhibit you have to meet the requirements.
finding the right gallery can be overwhelming. Make a list of
galleries where you would like to show your work. Always call
first to make an appointment with the person in charge of screening
portfolios. Most likely you will be asked to drop off your presentation
package and it will be mailed back to you or you can pick it up
a few days later. Never stop by without calling first and expect
the gallery to receive you with open arms.
If you are unsure of where would like to exhibit, make a list
of galleries you want to find out more information about. Steve
Frazier suggests to call and interview the gallery director -
everyone likes to talk about themselves -- or even volunteer a
couple hours a month with the gallery to find out more. Make sure
you want to be represented by the gallery before you ask them
to show your work. Why would you want to show at a gallery where
you find out the director is fascist? Do not lower your standards
because you want to be exhibited.
when working with a gallery you need to know the protocol. Recognize
that the gallery is providing a service. Galleries are in business
to make money. Be flexible enough to walk away.
prepared to sign a contract or loan agreement. Always read the
fine print and never assume you are going to be taken care of.
You may decide to get an agent who is there to protect your best
interests and understand the business side of being an artist.
you have landed your exhibit, relax and enjoy. The hard work is
over -- for now.
thanks to Steve Frazier of the Schneider Museum of Art on the
campus of Southern Oregon University in Ashland, and to David
Lawrence of Lawrence Photographic, 205 SW Pine St., downtown Portland.