Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Gallery Game

I have been represented by a local gallery since before I switched from sculpture to painting. Since then as we know the economy has tanked and I was just grateful the gallery I am in survives. And getting my studio built so I can have events here and sell from home is also nice.

But it occurred to me after doing new inventory for the summer fairs that new galleries to carry my work would be nice. About that time an invitation to show in the Old Pass Gallery in Raton came about. But I would like to find a gallery in Albuquerque an/or Santa Fe to represent me. There was a time when you just did a few of the big name shows and received invites from galleries. Obviously the economy has changed all that. Too many starving artists an too many galleries closing their doors. Some of my friends have even lost work they had in galleries that went belly up without warning.

For years I did freelance writing and before you submitted a piece you wrote off for writers' guidelines.With those in hand you could make judgments about which piece to submit to which periodical. I thought maybe galleries would have such things but no it seems. And each seems to want to be approached differently. And as an artist I am probably just as picky. Before I turn over thousands in inventory I want to know if it will survive and if I would feel comfortable having my work there. So yesterday I did a level one survey of Canyon Road in Santa Fe. Hey, why not begin at the top?

I had developed a short list based on ads in the Art Collectors Magazine and whether a gallery represented artists I liked or not. My work does not belong next to cattle drive images. You cannot walk in looking like an artist on the first pass. You need to look like a patron or possible patron to find out how your potential market would be treated. The list got shorter. I now totally understand why sidewalks were invented in Paris and used as an art market. Canyon Road does not even have sidewalks and the parking lots are few and far between.

Any tips out here from other artists looking for venues?


  1. I don't have advice.. just a further question... When do you know that you are even ready to start looking to show in a gallery?

  2. Gallery owners I am told are looking for a "body of work" which translates as to a recognizable style.

    I think we all play around in the beginning attempting to find our palette and a style we like and even subject matter. And we from time to time challenge ourselves with something new and different. Galleries really don't want to see that "play." They want you when your style and palette is established.

    Still even the most "settled in" artist has various subjects within that style and some galleries may want one - as one I am in loves the churches most and the other takes the canyons and the churches. I seem to win acceptance into exhibitions most with my Canyons and goddesses because they are edgier.

    As for when for an artist to begin looking for a gallery? I think when you are comfortable with your signature as it were.

    Does that make sense.


I appreciate all kind comments on my art and poetry.