Category - Arts Resource
Written by Richard Garriott-Stejskal
Editor: Kellie Hanna
A number of artists have asked how to market their work. Galleries are
often overwhelmed by artists seeking representation. Several galleries
tell me that they are approached by 10 to 15 artists a week. If they are
looking for artists they will look for those who have a show record and
the desire to participate in their own marketing. One gallery owner told
me, "I am looking for someone who is serious, knows what it means to
show in a gallery and will produce work consistently. I am not
interested in emerging artists that I have to train."
What can you do?
The most important thing an artist can do is to have really good slides
of their work. If an artist is not a skilled photographer then he or she
should work with a professional. Having good images of work is vital for
any promotion. Magazines and newspapers want images, but rarely will
they have the resources or interest in going out and getting them. A
gallery will use them to approach collectors. When you approach a
photographer, it helps to have a clear idea of how you want your work
photographed. This is particularly important with three dimensional
works where lighting can establish mood and render volume. Sometimes you
have to go through several photographers before you find one that works
for you. I keep a file of images from magazines that have caught my
attention; I found it helpful to bring samples of what I think would
work with my pieces to the first shoot. One of your most important
relationships will be with your photographer.
Galleries want a well-crafted resume. This should reflect shows and
exhibitions, education, awards, collections, and any publications that
featured the artists work. There are several standard formats. Go into a
gallery and take a look at the ones they have on file (or take a look at
mine at http://www.collectorsguide.com/rgs). Resumes should be constantly
updated. Galleries use these to interest collectors and to generate
publicity. A reviewer will often ask for a copy of a resume to help with
Additionally, galleries like to have an artist's statement. They use
this to educate their staff, write press releases and talk to the
customer about the artist's intentions. A statement should be clearly
written. It is not the time to be cute with obscure references or with
lines such as "my work is my statement." The trick with a good statement
is to talk about the issues you are exploring in way that makes them
accessible. It is worth taking time with and having others it look over.
Listen carefully to feedback and try to incorporate it into any
Entering shows and generating your own publicity also helps. I
frequently send out press releases about my work, where I am showing, or
about awards I have gotten. It is surprising how many get published. I
had an artist friend who sent out so many press releases that I accused
him of notifying the press when he woke up. Yet every bit of publicity
you can gather shows a gallery that you are serious. It also means that
they are working with someone who has already established some presence
in the community. Keep copies of everything. The gallery may want to
develop a "book" of your publicity to make available to collectors.
A relationship with a gallery is a bit like a marriage: you will be
expected to carry some of the load. A gallery will want to see
willingness of that in the beginning.
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Mr. Garriott-Stejskal's work is currently featured in the Artwell gallery.
Do you know of a similar organization in your community? Perhaps you know of an invaluable national resource we can all share. We'd love to know about it! If interested in sharing your resourceful knowledge with other artists please write firstname.lastname@example.org
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