Hello! I am a student who is looking for any tips or advice for applying to galleries, exhibitions etc. I am not a confident person so I would like to arm myself with knowledge and understanding before I start reaching out to places! Thanks.
If you are applying with images, make sure that they are great images. No strange, dramatic backgrounds . I wrote this essay when 35mm slides were the basic currency of application to galleries, shows, etc. But I think it still holds true.
There was a discussion around a similar question earlier this month.
Andy is correct. Good pictures of your work are what will sell it if you are not able to directly present it to a potential customer. Spend some time putting together a place in you shop where you can take good pictures as described by Andy’s essay and not have to put it up and take it down every time you use it. Keep records of what setups work and don’t work. Good lighting is important as well as a camera that you can control. I have had a number of cameras over the years, but as pointed out by others in the past, newer cellphone cameras take great pictures. I still like to use my digital camera where I can control focus, depth of field, speed and other variable. You will also need some editing software to get the picture just right. If you work in silver, it is especially difficult to photograph because of the reflections that it produces. Spend time staging your work and then using diffusers and reflectors to remove these spots. Once you have work that you are proud of and represents you and your creative self, and decent pictures that reflect your work, you should have the confidence needed to approach a potential customer. Think about who or what your market is. Look for places that cater to that market. Spend time trying to build your own market if you don’t have one yet. Get into local shows once we are able to do them again. Donate to raffles or money raisers for “worth causes”. Definitely build a website. Don’t worry about it being perfect, they never are. Post you best pictures there and you have another way to get them in front of potential customers. This takes work and time and you need to be in it for the long haul. I know that I spend more time photographing, documenting, posting and distributing pictures of my jewelry than it takes to actually make some pieces. You need to take this time and expense into account when you do your pricing. Good luck…Rob
Thankyou to you both for taking the time to offer this great advice! Much appreciated!
I do have a website and the images I have taken on my phone look good and crisp, on my phone. Not so much on a bigger screen. I will definitely invest in a camera!
Now just the manner of tackling my lack of confidence in myself! As you say, it’s a long haul thing and I suppose there are people who have been in the industry all their lives who still doubt themselves.
Thankyou both again!
If you are curious about other topics, such as my take on donating to auctions, there are more essays on the Words page of my website.
Including 7 essays/articles that I wrote for Jewelry Artist magazine a few years ago. Uf you want a chuckle, there’s “And a Chicken Shall Lead Them”, written for the book “Humor in Craft” from Schiffer publishing. “There’s Something About a Tool” was adapted for an article in American Craft. There may be something there of interest.
Yes images are important, however one thing that should be mentioned is that if the gallery is in your area don’t just pop in with your portfolio, contact and make an appointment to see the manager. It’s more professional.
I am involved with a co-operative gallery which can also be an option. In this case, I suggest visiting the Gallery to see if it is a good fit. We have full members who work and run the gallery and consignment artist.
Hi Natalie, I think most people are nervous about approaching galleries, after all you are asking to be judged. I have found that the key to success is to spend time researching to find a gallery where you think your work will fit in well in terms of style and price. If possible, visit and get a feel for the atmosphere and friendliness of the staff as well as the quality of their stock. Once you’ve found somewhere, the next step is to approach the owner/manager which is the scary bit. I’ve found the best way is to phone and ask to speak to the manager, or visit and ask if you can have an appointment with them. Then introduce yourself briefly and say that you love their place and think your work might fit in well, and ask what you should do to present your work to them. This way you’re asking them to be in control which is how they like it. Once you start selling your confidence will grow. Good luck!
Thankyou to you all, this is invaluable advice! Everyone has been so helpful and in turn I have found some courage to apply for a great exhibition!