How do I approach fine art galleries
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Thread: How do I approach fine art galleries

  1. #1
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    How do I approach fine art galleries

    I live in north San Diego County and oddly enough there aren't many galleries around here I think I'd fit in with. I'd like to approach some of them without looking like a doosh.

    My fine artwork consist of small to medium sized watercolor paintings, with simplistic composition and I don't have enough work for a solo show. And the most awkward part for me is I'm not a part of "the scene". Which I'm afraid may be a decisive factor.

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    If you can name all those reasons you shouldn't be in those galleries, why should they think about taking you? Is there anything you bring to the table? Once you figure that out yourself you will be in a better position to not look like a "doosh".

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    a very very good book on the gallery business: How to Survive and Prosper as an Artist

    but mostly I agree with RyerOrdStar, sounds like finding a gallery may be premature? Most won't start you off with a solo show anyhow (it's more common to start off in a group show so they can test your work with their buyer) but you ought to have a solid body before you start shopping around. There's also non-traditional galleries you could look into like co-ops, coffee shops, etc. And you can always look outside your immediate area if you feel you'd fit in someplace else

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    Ryer: I'm not affraid that I wouldn't contribute something unique. It's almost the opposite problem. My work is very rawkus and contains a certain amount of playful aggression that I believe would sell to the right crowd. Not to mention my stuff is small and casual enough to sell at an affordable price. But most of the galleries around, that I've seen sell allot of "sail boats and seascapes". I wish I could could get excited about producing mainstream Bob Ross style paintings, but it wouldn't be genuine.

    Dave: thanks for the book recommendation and the advice. I'll hit up some coffee shops and research co-ops.

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    yeah, I've never thought of San Diego as the sort of town to have a very cool gallery scene, always seemed more "vacation art" to me (like you say, sail boats and seascapes). Which is a shame because LA and SF seem to have pretty vibrant scenes for the lowbrow/Juxtapose type stuff

    But maybe there's something? I don't know, ask around some tattoo shops or something, surely there's something there

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    Thanks Dave, I'm still searching for co-ops. It's hard to figure out what's still operating though.

    There is a grip of tattoo parlors around here, but I don't have any tats and nor do I want any right now. It would be a sweet gig otherwise.

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    good grief. I'll definately hunt around those links you sent me.

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    I don't have any tats and nor do I want any right now. It would be a sweet gig otherwise
    what I meant by that was alot of tattoo artists do their own stuff on the side and may know where to find good non-mainstream art galleries, some shops even operate their own. Asking around or even just looking for flyers by the front door might put you on to something.

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    Do galleries actually bother with new artists? From what I know, they'll only bother to show your work if you're already established some-what. Otherwise, they wont waste their time on new artists as they don't know if they'll attract the public, as of course it's business.

    When I lived in a nice little town, most coffee shops and bars and even guest houses would put up local artists work. Sometimes they'd have an opening show. All you need is their permission and a bunch of flyers. Worth doing if you can team up with other artists for it.

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    Hi and I used to have a gallery for 9++ years, do as Dave just said and buy Juxt Apposed Mag. and google "Low Brow" -- , some galleries take submissions on line for group shows, you do have enough work to be in one of the group shows for sure, I happen to be from SD, Calif, this is just weird to me that there is not some underground thing going on in SD, we're all a bit strange, I'll bet the beach area like PB would have something cool, a surf or skate shop would also like your work... but if you show in a shop it's a risk due to the fact that the main focus is really selling everything but art... it's a cool place to start though... There are many small galleries for your work in LA and SF for sure. The fact is if you want to do this you have to submit your work like Grief just said. we all have to start somewhere. Also a good thing to do is look up similar artist's and see where they are showing their work, keep those galleries in mind due to the fact that they are more apt to be open to your genera. The cool MKT's for this work are: Chicago, Brooklyn, SF, LA, Atlanta (has two cool galleries).
    Check out Creep Machine, they list all the galleries and do write ups on low b all the time. http://www.creepmachine.com/
    Hope this helps...
    I no longer have my gallery, just a starving artist trying to do the same thing as you at the moment and from SD!! There's got to be something cool in SD??! But I lived in the Valley... the best to you and your ventures, your work is cool by the way.

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    Hi just remembered this: They would like your work and yours too Grief, they take a lot of new artist's and it's a cool gallery. Yuki, is one of the artist's featured all the time now and she started there with two very rough sm. piece's in a group show.

    > And the Hive Gallery has Yuki Miyazaki
    > feature art walls.
    > 729 S. Spring St.
    > Los Angeles, CA 90014
    > 213-955-9051

    www.thehivegallery.com

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    The California low brow place I know about would be La Luz de Jesus Gallery in Hollywood.

    Try the San Diego Art Institute. It's a nonprofit situation so there won't be so much pressure to fit into an immediate sellable pigeonhole. They have plein air days where you can go and get to know some of the people. We had their Director come around and judge the Cal Bar lawyer and judge art show about four years ago when it was in San Diego and he was a knowledgable guy who obviously gave a damn about art itself. My overall impression was good.

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    Hey, Kelly...what's the best way to hear about these group shows? I lurv Juxtapoz magazine, though my stuff is a bit more academic than low-brow, but I've been really jonesin' to hit the galleries in my area (Columbus, Ohio.) I'm never sure exactly how to get my foot in the door, though I have no qualms about flashing a portfolio at anyone who will look. Any words of wisdom would be appreciated!

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    Columbus Ohio has a great art scene near German Town, it's really cool there and believe or not very artsy and progressive, I used to have to go to Columbus once a week, and always ended up in that area, just check all of those galleries, I'll bet there is a gallery that does break in shows and/or group shows... I did two large group shows a year and even showed some highschool kick ass students, even sold some of their work.
    Usually galleries will refer you if your not right for them, make sure to ask if they could recommend someone, "usually fairly nice" unless they're stressed out trying to do a show, then they will be really abrupt or not respond. Do your home work on the galleries in the area, see if you think your work fits what they usually show, look at their website for their submission process (everyone is a little different) If they have no process listed you can either write to them (e-mail or reg mail) or last resort call them.

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    dream_sear, Just looked briefly looked at your work, nice and be sure to cut it down to your best five or seven, don't bombard galleries with too much work, they don't have the time to look through too much, plus you only want to show your best and if the work has "your personal style" it helps a lot.
    Don't forget these galleries get lot's of submissions and it takes time to go through all of them, alas,,, sometimes they may seem bitchy, I hope not, but sometimes they are super stressed.
    Also I'll bet the area I mentioned has some great artist's groups, look at the local art rags... and gallery guides and or on line local gallery guides.

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    Wonderful, thanks! I've tended to fixate on the Short North, w/o much consideration of German Village. Columbus is a great city, in my humble opinion. I'll let you know, if anything, comes of my Gallery Quest!

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    it is great there, who would have thought!!?? Cool

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  28. #19
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    Last night my google search brought me to allot of dead galleries. I can tell these places have a short shelf life.

    Kelly: I've had better luck looking thru juxtapozes site than google. I'm checking out creep machine right now.

    Dave: I'll definately keep an eye out for fliers hanging around tattoo parlors.

    Burl: I think the key is I should find some new bars. I only know of one that hangs art, but nobody comes there to spend beer money on art, It wouldn't hurt though.

    Attorney: Do I have to be enrolled at AI to be envolved in those activities?

    It's odd with the underground music scene in san diego being so successful, but the art scene is dead-ish.

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    I think the plein air things are just out there in Balboa Park. I don't see how they can kick you out of there for not being a member. It's an open park I think. I'm not a member, and they have been sending me emails for years about one activity or another. I live over a hundred miles away and they know it. I don't think they are too crabby about whether you are a member or not. They are into outreach.

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    Do galleries actually bother with new artists? From what I know, they'll only bother to show your work if you're already established some-what. Otherwise, they wont waste their time on new artists as they don't know if they'll attract the public, as of course it's business.
    It depends on the gallery mostly, and sometimes on the artist. After all, everyone starts someplace. There are galleries which actually specialize in emerging artists. Higher end places are not likely to bring in artists without a track record, but with the right timing and circumstances anything can happen.

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  33. #22
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    Forgive me if someone has already mentioned this, but it's a good idea to make an appointment to speak with someone at a gallery you are considering (locally speaking, of course). Not only will you get a feel for the type of gallery they are running, but you can potentially make a good first impression as well as create a face to face relationship with the people who work there.

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