Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Getting it out there

Dollard Gallery
If you're an artist who wants to sell your work, I figure there are at least three components to success.

First, you have to produce the work, preferably quality work. This can include doing the groundwork, like reading, taking workshops, sourcing or preparing your materials, but mostly just getting down to it and being productive.

Second, you have to find venues to show your work. This might mean you join an organization because if offers an opportunity to exhibit. It might mean that you donate a piece to a charity fundraiser, to enhance your visibility in the community. It might mean submitting images to a newspaper or magazine. It might mean answering a call for entry or joining a studio tour.

Third, you have to get people out to see your event. This is where posters, newspapers, social media and word of mouth come into play.

Maison de la Culture, Côte-des-Neiges

I have spent this past week marketing my own work and a group show that includes my work.  As well as doing all the things in Step Two above, I have submitted portfolios to a number of galleries, urban, suburban and rural, and what I have learned is that every gallery has different requirements. You might be asked to send in hard copies by mail, or send in images on a CD, or submit low-res images with an e-mail. They might ask for a maximum of ten jpg's or a minimum of twenty. The whole submission process might be done entirely through the organization's website.

L'Entrepôt, Lachine

I would bet most artists would much prefer to be in the studio generating new work rather than grinding through the exercise of finding venues. But I must admit that it has been fun to discover galleries I've never visited before. Questions to ask include "Is there an admission charge for visitors?" "Is there a fee to rent the space, or a commission charged on sales?" "How secure is the work hanging in the gallery?" "What are the hours?" 'Is there adequate parking?" "Will I get the right audience for my work?"

So now I will wait and see if any of these efforts bear fruit. Another twist to this initiative might be to collaborate with one or two other artists whose work would complement mine and propose a group show. I should also probably look into Etsy. I'm just a newbie when it comes to marketing, so if you have any brilliant insights on the subject, I'd love to hear them! But mostly I'd like to be back in my studio....

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