Further art discussions and notifications for the artwork of Sam Thorp
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.
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.