By Artists For Artists

From Emerging Artist to Gallery Glower: How to Get Gallery Representation

Emerging artists often feel a keen dread and apprehension regarding elevating their artwork to the next level. While many people are enamored with the appreciation of their artwork on social media, the artistic community only goes so far, leaving many people craving displaying their work on physical walls rather than Facebook walls. While the art sphere is undoubtedly a competitive one, it pays off to remember that getting your work out there comes from more than having talent alone. One must constantly strive for their work to meet wider audiences, have their name recognized, and engage in the artistic community. Here are some tips on how to get gallery representation.

Your Online Presence Matters

The first step for anyone wanting to reach an audience in 2020 is to have an online presence. Whether it’s a well-designed website that showcases your best works (most galleries will not be interested unless you have a website) or a consistently updated social media page to gain interest and a fan base — the world is online, so your art should be too.

Start Local

It may seem small at first, but aiming your outreach locally is the first step in getting your artwork out there. Familiarise yourself with the artistic community and find local artists that are on the same path as you. Connecting is mutually beneficial by enabling access to each other’s art networks, connections, and personal journeys! Try out local art fairs and shows, and if there isn’t one, set up your own, you’ll be surprised how many people are interested in such events in your home town. Selling prints, originals, and merchandise at local fairs and sales, or selling via independent stores for a commission is a great way to get your name out there and gain experience with the public interacting with your work.

Don’t Be Afraid to Submit Your Work

Be proactive in searching out local and global art competitions or call-outs that look for emerging artists, be savvy when it comes to hefty submission fees as these can be money-making schemes. Stick to contests with low or free submission fees as they are usually genuine and operate off the love for art. Prepare a concise file of your best pieces to submit in high-quality files, and if there are guidelines or submission forms to fill in, check them meticulously. You never know whose eye you might catch, and mistakes on submission papers can be a big turn off! Remember, galleries get hundreds of submissions, and it may take time for them to respond. It will happen with time, dedication, and commitment, even if it doesn’t straight away.

Believe In Yourself

To move forward, you have to believe in your ability to make artwork that you want to see. It helps to create content that you are genuinely passionate about rather than trying to fit into a pre-determined niche; originality and true organic meaning will always stand out to galleries and the public. Don’t be afraid to communicate your rawest self through your works, as thought-provoking, unique, and striking visuals are always appreciated! 

What Happens If You Are Accepted? 

If a gallery does accept you to exhibit with them, you should expect to pay a commission on any sale that is made through them, much like with any store/art fair commission. It is essential here to have consistent, fair pricing and an agreed contract between you and the gallery. Consider preparing a bite of information about you and your work to display alongside your work at the gallery, with links to your website and social media channels for people who want to find out more. 

Remember, the art world is a competitive one; people make it at different rates for a host of factors, from who they know to where they are. Try not to get too focused on comparing yourself to others’ success and aim to be better than you were yesterday. Improvement is the ultimate success, so keep creating authentic content, share it regularly, reach out always, and believe in yourself — you’ll get a gallery representation in no time. 

Article written by Kate Smith

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