Images of WorkMake sure that you have good quality images taken of your work (35mm transparencies, digital images for CDs or email), after all, you will be competing with practitioners that have been in business for years and are firmly established as leading national and international designers. Sending poor images/presentations reflects very badly on your approach and your work.
Invest in a professional portfolio filled to the brim with beautifully laid out colour photography on a black background. Don’t walk into the gallery with a handful of snapshots.
Sending Biography and VisualsSend general descriptive information about yourself and your work to the gallery first. Then follow this up with a telephone call. Find out the contact name you need for the relevant department within the gallery. If you send something with no contact name your presentation can sit in a pending tray for months! Contact as many galleries as you can handle, rather than waiting for a reply from the first one on your list.
Research and Make Appointments
Don’t just turn up at a gallery with your work. Galleries plan their exhibition schedule at least two years in advance. They are busy most days with artists and dealing with clients so it is always best to make an appointment first.
Pop in regularly to your local galleries, or research on the internet, to get an idea of the kind of designers they display, and the style and quality of work on show.
Keep in TouchContemporary galleries are always looking for new original designers for their exhibition programme, so update the gallery regularly by sending emails, transparencies and CD (with images).
It is especially important that the gallery can see how serious you are about your work, how it develops in style and that you are still exhibiting and producing work 2-5 years later. Make sure your work is unique and difficult to duplicate. Keep your own designs and patterns dated and own the copyright to them.
Don’t give up. There's someone out there who will like your work. When you find gallery owners who are crazy about your work, stick with them.
When you have an offer of a show
Watch the papers for announcements of other openings at the gallery to see how well each opening is advertised. Ask around the arts community to see how well known the gallery and its owner are.
Check on the gallery/artist percentage agreement when calling each gallery. Your price to the public must be calculated based on this. Charge what the work is worth!
Check around with other artists represented by the gallery, asking them about promptness of payment by the gallery.
Be businesslike in all dealings.Prepare a contract, if the gallery does not have one, to cover mutual expectations. It should include who does what, e.g., mounting of the work, invitations to the opening, opening night, payment terms, artist’s residual and resale rights, etc.
Don’t be a pain to the gallery owner. Don’t pester. If you have to be anxious about the show, do it privately.
Enjoy the opening night!