Guest Blogger: Jeremy Mason
As an artist without formal training, I have had to really break into the local art scene. That process is still happening and it has been a great learning experience.
I haven’t yet landed that show at the gallery of my dreams, but I have optimized my exposure by finding creative and respected places to hang my art.
Specifically, I have looked for fantastic art spaces without huge barriers to entry.
My first show was a solo show at a local community art gallery that has made it their mission to give artists a chance. My second show was at a church (I know what your thinking . . . just trust me here) as part of a gallery they added to their new modern addition. The space looked great and thousands of visitors looked at my art each week.
Currently I have my art in a new winery in northern Michigan. They built a modern tasting room with a beautiful view of the bay. They make great wine, have a modern feel and have been awesome to work with. I get to work with really great people, drink good wine and will have great exposure as hundreds of people visit the tasting room. I got the gig, by the way, by emailing one of the owners. I simply said that I thought my art would be a good addition to their tasting room. He agreed and the rest is history.
You, too, can create non-gallery opportunities for your art.
Here are some items to consider before deciding whether or not you should hang your art in a particular space.
1. Verify that the space will complement your work and give you positive exposure.
Let’s face it. Art is incredibly subjective. Your success is based on the opinions of others. The space surrounding your art says as much about the artist as the art itself. It is not possible for most people to separate the art from its surroundings. Make sure the space enhances your work, looks professional and is given proper wall space to be appreciated.
2. Discuss the details of the arrangement.
If you are not dealing with a gallery, you will have to take the utmost care to make sure the details and expectations surrounding the arrangement are crystal clear. As you are not dealing with a gallery, you have to be the one doing the legwork a gallery would normally do. Here are some items to start your negotiations.
- Who is going to hang/set up the art?
- Where is it going to be visible?
- Who is your primary contact?
- What is the timeline for the show?
- How do you handle sales? (What is their cut of sales?)
- How is purchased art finally acquired by the buyer?
- Will there be an opening or reception that you need to attend?
- What are their expectations of you while the art is in their space?
- Will prices be posted?
3. Be sure you need the exposure.
Showing in non-art venues is obviously not for well established artists who have the gallery scene figured out. It can be a lot of work. Make sure you outline your goals for the arrangement and consider all the work involved.
Remember, you are doing the extra work so that you can build towards a long-term goal. Any exposure should further your career and open up more opportunities.
Jeremy Mason is a financial planner by day and a painter by night. He is currently learning as much as he can about the art of encaustic painting.