Further art discussions and notifications for the artwork of Sam Thorp

Saturday, September 17, 2011


How to get shows

When I first started out I was told about having a portfolio on slides and a resume and writing a proactive cover letter and all that crap. And honestly it never got me anywhere.
I wasted a lot of time crafting the “perfect resume” and worrying if the paperclips I used got enough attention.

This is what I figured out. This is what has worked for me.

Step1 : Make Art.
Maybe this is a “duh” moment for some people, but I'm constantly amazed how many artists are NOT making art. They get distracted, they get frustrated, they get lazy. But you have to have the inventory when the opportunity DOES come. Make great art. Dig deep to create the most eye catching images to the best of your creative and technical ability.

Step 2: Go to Shows.
Scout the playing field. Go to the galleries. Get on the mailing list, or follow them through online social networking. Go to the openings. BUT go as a viewer or customer... at first. Gather information. Look at the type of art they show. The type of client that comes in. How openings are conducted. How the art is presented. How and if they sell the work.
If you are observant you will see that not all galleries are the same. Each is trying to find their own niche. Maybe this niche is a match for you, maybe it is not.
You will see some amazing shows. Great work that pushes the boundaries shows you what is possible. Let this inspire you to go back to step 1, go back to your studio and make even better art.
You will also see some terrible shows. True “WTF” moments, and “I can do better than that” pronouncements. Again let this inspire to go back to step 1 and make even more art.

As you gather information you will figure out who is worth talking to and who to avoid.
You will figure out which galleries you want to pursue. Usually a good way to start approaching is to talk to the artist who is showing there now. Tell them congratulations, introduce yourself, and wish them luck for the opening. Don't be too flattering unless you sincerely like the work. Don't be fake and schmoozy. This artist can possibly give you some insight an what it is like to work with the gallery and gallery owner. They might be able to network you to opportunities. (Although many visual artist are not known for their social skills, so there is no guarantee here. I've attended many openings where the artist hides and is very difficult to approach. )

This may take some patience but you have to be willing to put in the time and do your homework.
When I talk to a gallery owner; it's usually about their gallery, not me. I'll ask them about the current artist or a piece in the show. (If they can't answer these questions, a red flag goes up.) But usually they have seen me at the shows, so they know I'm serious about art. Many times they ask me to show.
Seriously, I haven't had to ask anyone for a show in the last few years. They ask me.

Step 3: Follow Up.
When you get an opportunity or offer, be Professional. I know some people will give an artist some leeway because of the artsy, flaky stereotype; but don't push it. Be reliable. Be on time. Show up with the art ready to go. Have it labeled and framed (or ready for display if frames do not apply). Help out with advertising. On opening night don't hide in the back being drunk and surly. Be honest with sales. Don't try to cheat them out of their commission. When the show is over pick up your work.

Monday, September 05, 2011


The First Zine

I had been contributing to other zines around the world for years. So when the zine fair popped up I decided this was the time to make my own. Strong visuals are a must so I invited other artists I knew personally who do great work. These are artists who live work and show in the Pittsburgh area. I also got some fascinating writers. The result is a catalog or collection of some of the best emerging talent in the area. And this is the premiere first issue. You KNOW this is going to be a collector's item some day. I got a few left so get your copy now. Only $2 plus shipping.

The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh acquired a few copies for their collection. So should you.


May 2005   June 2005   July 2005   August 2005   September 2005   October 2005   November 2005   December 2005   February 2006   March 2006   May 2006   June 2006   July 2006   August 2006   September 2006   October 2006   November 2006   January 2007   March 2007   April 2007   May 2007   July 2007   August 2007   October 2007   December 2007   January 2008   February 2008   March 2008   April 2008   May 2008   June 2008   July 2008   August 2008   October 2008   December 2008   January 2009   February 2009   March 2009   May 2009   June 2009   July 2009   August 2009   September 2009   October 2009   November 2009   December 2009   January 2010   February 2010   March 2010   April 2010   May 2010   June 2010   July 2010   August 2010   September 2010   October 2010   November 2010   December 2010   January 2011   February 2011   March 2011   April 2011   May 2011   June 2011   July 2011   August 2011   September 2011   October 2011   November 2011   December 2011   January 2012   February 2012   March 2012   April 2012   May 2012   June 2012   July 2012   August 2012   September 2012   October 2012   November 2012   December 2012   January 2013   February 2013   March 2013   April 2013   May 2013   June 2013   July 2013   August 2013   September 2013   October 2013   November 2013   December 2013   January 2014   March 2014   April 2014   May 2014   June 2014   July 2014   August 2014   September 2014   October 2014   November 2014   January 2015   March 2015   April 2015   May 2015   January 2016   March 2016   October 2016   November 2016   December 2016   April 2017   August 2017   December 2017   January 2019  

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Subscribe to Posts [Atom]