You’ve been invited to a group show at a gallery. What can you do to make a strong impression and be invited back for future shows?
We talked with Erica Berkowitz of Haven Gallery to get some tips on how to work with a gallery from a gallery owner’s perspective. In our last part of the Ask A Gallerist Series, Erica tells us what makes for a great relationship between artist and gallerist.
Stay Consistent With Your ...
Style of work
If a gallery invites you to a show based off of your submission, take heed to create work with respect to that style or subject. The gallery enjoyed what they saw and recognized the potential of such work with their collector base.
Keep your pricing consistent. If you’re selling a 12x16in painting to a collector directly out of your studio for $1,000, keep this pricing for pieces with the same size and style. If you’re new to pricing your work, do not hesitate to ask the director for assistance. Once you set a price point, you’re responsible for maintaining it. You can always go up in price but never down (this would be to the detriment of your market and current collectors).
Don’t know where to start? Take a look at these Do’s and Don’ts of pricing your artwork.
If you have questions that you cannot find answers to on your own or amongst your peers, ask your gallery. If you’re running late on deadlines, give your gallery a heads up. If you want to change directions in your work, open up a conversation with your gallery. Remember, you are in this together.
Remember the Presentation of Your ...
This is the first time the gallery, as well as their collector base, is seeing your work in person. If the work is 2D, be sure it is properly framed. Framed works should be ready to hang with hardware and wire and not have poor tape jobs or dirt trapped beneath the glass or acrylic. The framing is one area that you should view as an investment will pay off in the reception of the piece as a whole and not an area to save a few dollars.
Do not skimp out on high-quality images of your artwork. Remember, many collectors are online based and will never see your work in person unless they acquire it. Make sure your image is crisp, true to color and accurately lit.
If you are taking the photos yourself, check out these tips for getting a great shot every time.
And Don’t Forget About the Importance of ...
Shipping artwork can be extremely stressful. If you are shipping work for the first time, consult your peers or even ask your gallery on proper wrapping methodologies. Do not guess and hope the artwork will arrive safely.
Galleries have strict deadlines to allow for preemptive collector outreach and marketing efforts. Be respectful of these efforts as they are only meant to ensure success for both parties. Ensure ample time for varnish or paint to dry and get your artwork to them on time.
Above All, Be The Professional That You Are
This is your first working impression. You want to make it a good one because even if the new work does not sell, you’d still like to work with that gallery again.
Present yourself professionally with a beautiful list of your artworks including all the details that the gallery needs with an inventory and art management program like Artwork Archive.
Artist and gallery relationships are partnerships. A strong line of communication and trust is essential. Do your research, remain professional and never stop creating!
Erica Berkowitz is a co-owner of Haven Gallery in Long Island, New York. She has her Master’s Degree in Contemporary Art from Sotheby’s Institute of Art and has worked locally on Long Island at the Nassau County Museum of Art and the Islip Art Museum. Most recently, she left her position as Director of Last Rites Gallery in NYC for nearly three years to open up her own gallery space. Prior to Directing at Last Rites, she was the Director of Press and Publications at Forum Gallery. She has been working in the art world for over eight years and is also a self-published author. Along with her husband, she has been collecting art for nearly a decade.