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How to win a Modern Art Gallery Representation?

The life of an artist is filled with a myriad of ups & downs that pave the way for an excruciating experience of rejection and failures. But the passion and the persistence of an artist is what makes the entire journey worth the pain and troubles.

To be honest, today’s artist experiences a little less struggle than the artist 50 years ago. Today, as an artist, you have all the opportunities to earn a decent living (if you are not able to make it big) using various platforms that are available. Thanks to the technological advancements, the ‘starving artist’ notion doesn’t exist today.

Amidst all this, an artist stills find it extremely hard to find a prominent art gallery to represent his/her work. And if the pursuit is for the modern art gallery, the entry becomes more arduous. Getting your work showcased on the online gallery and web-based channels is all easy and good. But, in the heart, an artist wants his/her paintings, modern sculpture, etc to be displayed at an illustrious brick & mortar gallery.

The challenges

There are several roadblocks for an artist looking to score an art gallery’s representation. First of all, as an artist, you need to understand that merely crafting impeccable paintings, sculptures or art pieces is not enough to make it big in the art world. Communication and social skills play a vital role in making an artist shine in the art community.

However, if we see the personalities of artists, most of them do not like to be much social. In fact, getting social attention is avoided by most of the artists all their life. They do not like to speak out much. Unfortunately, to win a representation in a famous art gallery, an artist requires to be flamboyant and interactive. This is perhaps one of the biggest hindrances.

Along with this, brick & mortar art galleries are known to charge a heavy commission from the sale of modern sculpture, painting, etc. This makes a lot of artists uncomfortable as online platforms a very small part of the sale cost comparatively.

Another bottleneck is that art galleries are becoming extremely choosy while selecting artists. Previously, like 3 decades back, the number of artists were quite less as compared to the present time. Since more and more artists are emerging each year, the gallery owners are scrutinising the artists quite stringently. This makes the entry of artists in the art gallery a marathon task.

Modern Art Gallery Online

So, what’s the solution? Follow the below-mentioned tips that will help you win a gallery representation for sure:

Adhere to the gallery’s taste

Without having clarity on which art gallery you really want to tie up with, you cannot expect to move further. So, select the art gallery you want to display your work at. Then follow its social media feeds crosswise all the available channels so as to get familiar with the gallery’s aesthetic. By the term ‘gallery’s aesthetic’ we mean,

  • What kind of artists does the gallery represent?
  • What sort of press it publishes on its press releases
  • What are the guidelines for artists to showcase their work?

These things will help you to understand what the specific gallery requires from you. Visit the art gallery multiple times and attend the exhibitions held there. Get into the conversation with the artists representing their work there and with the gallery owners. The more you interact with them, the better you get with your chances to find representation. In fact, other artists can offer you a better insight on how to actually score a representation for your modern sculptures, paintings, etc.

Once you get the required familiarity, you can shoot up the proposal in email.

Be creative

90% of the artists reach out to an art gallery with the help of a form letter. Ironically, being an artist, you should be inventive in your approach rather than following the herd. So, make sure to send out your bio and portfolio in a new manner.

See, an art gallery owner receives 100s of mail on the daily basis. Your target is to stand out of those 100 emails. To do so, you can write an intriguing subject line, with a compelling intro of the email. You should try to cement the similarity between your work and the art gallery’s aesthetics.

If you know any artist whose work is being represented in the modern art gallery, talk to him. Request that artist to send an introduction email (copying you) to the gallery, which will establish higher credibility for you as an artist.

Art gallery owners really appreciate the artists who actually understands formers’ taste and vision. So, when jotting down the email, you should try to bring down the sameness between your paintings and the gallery’s taste.

Do not make the mistake of stopping at just the intro email. Regular follow up is important to be on the gallery’s notice.

Persistence is the key

When you want something, never give up. That’s a universally sound mantra that works everywhere. Visit the art gallery and casually give away your card to the owner or the director while appreciating the ambience and sound environment of the place. Getting a gallery representation is not an overnight task. It takes days, weeks, and even months. Stick to your plan and alongside, try to make a social media presence by posting your work like modern sculpture, painting, etc online.

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Written by Katie Jones

Katie is a professional writer. She has published various articles on artist’s artwork and paintings. 

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