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  1. #1
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    are you intimidated by galleries too?

    I've been pondering approaching galleries for way too long. My problem is it's intimidating.
    If the gallery has bad work I think "maybe I just don't understand it and I'm the stupid one"
    If the gallery has boring work "maybe creativity is seen as cheesy here"
    If the gallery is cheesy "what if I'm boring?"
    If the gallery is awesome "I'm not worthy of the awesomeness that is this gallery"

    It's not just the fear of rejection, there are anxieties involving a bad turn in my career.
    What if this gallery has the wrong clientele?
    What if this gallery is too big and I can't sell anything because I'm unknown?
    What if the gallery is too small and couldn't sell their way out of a paper bag?
    What if I get screwed with a sandpaper dildo by the owner?
    What if I give myself a bad name because of something I do or say?

    I know it's silly, but that's just how I feel. I keep on thinking about what I have to lose rather than what I have to gain. I hope to overcome this fear soon.


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  3. #2
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  5. #3
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  7. #4
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    You obviously aren't poor enough. Try buying a lot of things you can't afford, then I can guarantee those fears will be swept aside by the fear of not being able to eat for the next few weeks.
    My Sketchbook

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  9. #5
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    I think it might depend upon the gallery.

    Just stoll on over and ask em what's the deal.

    Might need a special club badge or something. Some active galleries might have some "open seasons" or event's where your work might qualify. I think there's even clubs that makes your work travel from gallery to gallery accross the country but dunno how that would work, sounds like an expensive club.

    Over here there's some cool event's and places where you can join up and just go book a stand and sit in spots for the day and showcase your own work. While the grounds makes money on selling soft drinks and snacks.

    Good topic.
    Last edited by George Abraham; February 3rd, 2010 at 02:31 AM.
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  11. #6
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    just walk in and wear your best poker-face,

    if the works crap then the game is how to get back out onto the sidewalk without looking too earnest/desperate about it, try not to be disrespectful for the sake of other visitors,
    i covered the entire tate gallery modern (in London) pretending i was looking for the toilet, the shows were so terrible <super8mm projections of naked people rolling around with balloons for example>

    if the works are good, then you've struck gold,
    the old Tate Gallery in Pimlico is far better, if you get the chance

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  13. #7
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    zaorr-I've never heard of such a club. Is there a link you can drop with info on that?

    Mungus- I live in the US, so I may not make it to the Tate Gallery. I've heard bad things about that place and the Turner Prize. That is precisely the kinda scene I'd avoid. Not only does it have a creepy rep, but it's waaayyy out of my league. I think that joint is reserved for art appraised 10k+

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    While people still put their works into galleries here, it's seemingly a lot more common for artists here to rent small buildings for short periods of time for the sole purpose of showcasing their work... their own small exhibition.

    I'm not sure about the cost of something like that... or the profit. But maybe it's something to look into?

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  16. #9
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    You think too much.

    You need to get hammered. Preferably with "moonlight", home made stuff. That`s how we get down in Europe. And that is why we had all these great artists.

    So...yea... or bust.

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  18. #10
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    All the things you say can and will happen if you become a gallery artist (except for maybe the dildo thing) I've been in galleries for 10 years now; having become bored making art for other people and drawing women with double z boobs and weapons they could not really lift.
    Anyway in that time I have had to sue two people, had my work stolen, lost, and damaged. I have been audited twice. I have pulled out of as many galleries as I am currently in (10). I have been rejected by at least 10 galleries a year. I still continue to make more money than I did in production art and every year I make more than the year before and charge more for my paintings.
    It is the hardest thing I have ever done, I'm not getting any younger, and I will probably never have a retirement account or good health care, but I paint what I want, charge what I want and do what I want. No one is ever going to say I'm the greatest painter of my generation and no one will ever call me cutting edge or a trendsetter. I'm just a guy, doing what he loves to do and making a living at it. If you need more than that it is probably not the right choice.
    Its not for everyone, and it is definitely not for insecure people or those who have no business sense. For you to survive, you need to constantly grow and change as an artist, at least enough your collectors can see it. No one will make you paint or tell you what or when to paint, all that responsibility falls on you. If you can't bridge the gap between painting what you want and what people want to buy you will fail. Having said that there is nothing out there that you can't paint that someone wont buy if it is painted well enough. When I say paint replace that word with whatever you do, be it paint, sculpt, illustrate, demonstrate, conceptualize, etc

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  20. #11
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    The gallery world is changing and expanding. I pulled out of the gallery scene years ago because I found it limiting. I really felt like I was playing games. I found it much more limiting than the illustration world. Recently, within the last 5-10 years, there has been an explosion of work in galleries that in the past would never have gotten a look. The whole build up of the west coast underground, grafitti, hot rod, skateboard, then pop-surrealist/lowbrow movements have opened galleries up to great new things. In fact illustration has another branch of what I call; wall illustration. I have been participating in a lot of "tribute" shows with some great illustrators, artists, and concept artists. The openings are insane and the work sells well. It's a great avenue for a lot of people like the artists here. The key is building visibility. It's really hard to walk into a gallery cold anymore and say well here I am. Positioning on the internet and in competitions will get you noticed. It's a lot like the professional world of illustration. If you think about it, galleries do at most a show a month and that is rare. They need to be very selective of what they choose. Granted you can still walk into galleries and see work that "sucks". I am blown away every time I go to New York and do the gallery thing. There is still a lot of head scratching. But if you pick and choose galleries there is a ton of cool work out there. There is also the thing about digital vs. traditional. People buying from galleries are buying artwork not images. As and illustrator or concept artist our world is about selling images. With gallery stuff there is another level of craft involved. The surface quality and presentation are all critical. Things look much different on the wall. Wow wordy post. I guess the main thing is if you are really interested in to gallery stuff find out what it takes. Ask positive questions to get there. But most of all really want it. Just like anything else that you want to be good at it takes that focus.

    http://billcarman.blogspot.com

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  22. #12
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    I'm not sure what your town is like, but one suggestion might be to get in touch with local artists, some of whom might be managers or owners of galleries or hosts of art events etc. That is if you haven't done so already. They can help you point in a direction or perhaps even host an exhibition for you (or include you in an already ongoing exhibition).

    A way to meet such people: craigslist ads for local events/artists, http://www.meetup.com/, facebook, or other social networking website. Or even a local newspaper/friends.

    This might help you get a foot in the door and some exposure. Just my two cents.

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  24. #13
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    You can put your toe in by membership in a non-profit gallery or two for a while. Typically you pay a membership fee of about $35/year and there is an annual Members Show where you can get work hung without haveing to get it past a juror. The entry fees for the juried shows are typically reduced (e.g. $25 members fee instead of $35 for non-members). At least you can get used to preparing physical works, getting slides, matting/framing etc. and talking to people at receptions. Save the show brochures and any press you get to help sell yourself to commercial galleries down the line.

    I think you are geographically somewhere between the San Diego Art Institute and Long Beach Arts (as examples of the kinds of places I am talking about).

    Eventually you will probably want to move on because the boards of these organizations tend to occupied and controlled by bickering senior citizens who rarely have the economic sensibilities you will find at the commercial galleries.

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  26. #14
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    dpaint, how'd you get started?

  27. #15
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    If you never try, you never fail... but you never win, either. If you try and sell nothing, you lose nothing either.

    Last October, 3 artists took a short lease on an empty shop here. They're not set for life, and somebody else took over the lease, but they made money. What's stopping you trying?

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  29. #16
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    Blighted art-I definately can't afford to rent anything like that right now. Maybe one day.

    pxelslayer-The two galleries I'm most interested in have parties every time they open a show. Last time I went to one I had fun, but discovered the intimidation factor. Next time I'll drag my friends along with me, so I don't feel like a loner.

    dpaint-Thanks for sharing your experiences with us. That was very insightful. Yes you have confirmed some of my fears, but I guess it's not that bad.

    bcarman-Yes I'm going for the Lowbrow scene. It's hardly present around here (San Diego) but still present. Do you have any links to any forums related to that scene?

    Tea Passer-Thanks, I'll try craigslist. I looked through meetup.com and found that to be a hodge podge. Mostly body painting and improv groups. I'll also investigate facebook a little further.

    Attorney- Now I can recall some of those groups around here. Mostly the Kinkade crowd. Maybe I'll find something worthwhile if I look harder.

    Aleson- Thanks for the suggestion, but I don't have the money or credit for something of that nature.

  30. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by TASmith View Post
    dpaint, how'd you get started?

    I sent out portfolios for a couple of years, entered national art competitions, kept my job and painted at night till my gallery sales equalled what I made at work. Winning some art shows really helped get me in galleries. Then I gave notice and went for it.
    In retrospect it was like jumping off a cliff and knitting the parachute on the way down. I got in one gallery, then two, then lost one, got another and on and on. 6 months after I quit 911 happened and everything tanked. I cashed out my 401k and worked harder, things got better. After awhile my old co-workers would ask me to help out on projects so I did on my own terms. I still do game stuff and some illustrations, small stuff, but things where I have a lot of say in the process. I miss that retirement account but what the hell.

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  32. #18
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    I'm just kinda jealous most of you get to visit/participate in galleries.

    The nearest "gallery" I know of is a 13-hour drive from where I am. ._.

  33. #19
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    If you are interested in lowbrow, try La Luz de Jesus Gallery in Hollywood.

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  35. #20
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    Tea Passer- I did find some good leads on meetup.com after all.

    Dpaint- Once again your experiences are very insightful.

    Attorney- La Luz looks pretty good, but it is about 100 miles away. It's worth it if they can ad an extra zero to my paintings value. I just need a number that isn't zero first.

  36. #21
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    Expand your definition of gallery. You never know who, how or where someone's going to connect with your work.

    Seriously, try any outlet you can. Some of the best sales I've had have been from galleries I totally dismissed as not "real galleries" - like tattoo shops and bars. You're trying to connect with people that buy art, whether it's art collectors, art directors, or ex girlfriends. Doesn't matter, it's all the same, they want to have what you made and hook you up with some cash for it.

    Here's another tip: PROVIDE FREE BOOZE AT YOUR GALLERY OPENING. This fifty dollar investment in a half barrel of Pabst may pay back exponentially.

    Updates and new work:
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  38. #22
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    I don't know of any lowbrow forums. Plenty of sites, but we are spoiled here at CA. There is not a group like this anywhere. I'll list a few of the site that I go to. La Luz is a great gallery but pretty much the top of the heap, May want to start smaller as you build a rep. There really are quite a few in So Cal. I've shown at Gallery Nucleus and 1988 and there are plenty more.

    Try these sites:

    http://www.fecalface.com/SF/

    http://www.dangerousink.co.uk/

    http://www.lostateminor.com/

    http://www.diskursdisko.de/

    http://www.juxtapoz.com/

    http://www.hifructose.com/

    http://www.giantrobot.com/

    Check out a couple of the galleries to see what they're exhibiting and talking about on their blogs:

    http://www.gallerynucleus.com/

    http://nineteeneightyeight.com/

    http://www.thinkspacegallery.com/

    http://www.roqlarue.com/

    Of course there are a ton more but my bookmarks are at work.

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