I recently was contacted about advice on hosting a show to exhibit your work.
I thought it would be really useful thing for you guys to know this because at some point or another you will have the option to exhibit work to the public. Exhibitions are a great tool to market yourself, and your work to potential clients and art buyers.
Remember...Exhibitions should never be scary or intimidating as long as you are focussed.
Galleries, like everything else, are a business. They rely upon the custom of exhibitors to ensure their space is always looking top-notch and full of cool and interesting stuff.
I have created a few tips that can make your exhibition experiences rewarding and hassle free.1. No Artwork – No Show
Before deciding to go through with the exhibit, an artist should always make sure their work is ready.2. Doing it solo, or as part of a group?
One of the biggest things to ask is if you want to exhibit as a solo artist, or as part of a group. There are pros and cons to both sides of it. Solo
PROS: It's all about you.
CONS: It's all on you. Group
PROS: It becomes a shared responsibility giving you free time to brush up on any pieces that will work in your set.
CONS: You may have to compromise for space.
Ultimately an exhibition will incur costs:a)
Prints/media being displayedb)
Food and drink (the lubricant that entices people into a private view and may possibly swing a sale or commission)
Costs can easily escalate under the best of circumstances so detailed requirements need to built in at the earliest stage possible.3. Choose your best work to show
You'd be surprised at how many artists and photographers have shown work that has defects—tears in the picture, back papers, end-papers, matte's, Knicks in the frames, scratches, etc. This is totally unacceptable if you want to sell your work.
People judge you not just by your great art; but also the quality it's kept in and preserved, and how you decide to present it at a show.4. Pricing
Pricing is always the most difficult part of the process but each of your pieces in the show will need a title or price card.
I should mention that you should not expect to make money at your first showing – or your second – or most of the ones after that. If you go into it as a money-making endeavour, you'll probably be disappointed. But you may be able to offset your costs a little.
Not everyone can afford to purchase original work, so try to have something to offer those who cannot. For instance, have a selection of greetings cards available during the exhibition. Museums do this with posters and postcards of famous works. It's basically the same principle5. Check out the venue
Don't solely rely upon a website review to know what it is going to look like. Go to the venue and check it out.
By checking out the venue, you gain a better understanding of what it'll be like to exhibit your work there. It may or may not be for you.
Don't be afraid to approach places that have never done exhibitions before. All you need are a few walls. For non-traditional spaces, think of it as a trade. You're bringing all your friends and your local community art supporters to their business for the night of the reception. That gives the space exposure. 6. Book the venue
When you happy with the venue, contact the gallery and make the booking. By making a booking you give yourself a deadline to get the logistics of it all sorted out.
Once the booking is confirmed ask for a receipt, and terms and conditions of gallery hire. Making the booking establishes a relationship between you and the gallery. The terms and conditions are there to allow you to understand exactly what can and can't be done in a venue. You may want to hire a group of monkeys on roller skates but the gallery may be against it.
Find out how much commission will the gallery charge for each sale or possible commissions.
Among other things, you need find out who is responsible for insuring the work at the gallery or you may need art-exhibit/event insurance. Nothing worse than losing an expensive piece of work to an over-excited visitor. 7. Floor Plan
If you fail to plan then you ...erm... plan to fail – I know that is a cheesy line but it is true
If you exhibit badly then you will come across as an amateur. An exhibition is a professional step forward that takes your creativity to the next level. After all, the main reasons for exhibiting are to further your contacts, sell work or gain commissions.
Get an idea of where you want your work showcased in the venue. Most venues will have this to hand, it'll simplify your job of knowing what can fit where, and if you need to cut back on something, or fill in somewhere else.8. Logistics
If your work is not at the exhibition then you have NO show.
You will need to find a method in which to take the work up there securely. If you have your own car then that is brilliant. Your trusty friend, bubble wrap, will come in handy.
If you don't have a car, consider renting a budget commercial vehicle, speak to a courier, or a specialist art handling logistics team. Nothing would suck more than your work arriving late or your work is destroyed hours before the exhibition is due to launch.Remember... you will need to take it back when the exhibition is finished.9. Marketing
Marketing is very important - Spread the word.
Use email, Twitter, Facebook and all possible avenues in which you can promote your exhibition. This will help draw more people and in turn spread the word further.
If you have a few special people that you want to attend, give them a personal invite to the private viewing. Having a flyer, poster or something that can be physically put somewhere can further strengthen the presence of the show.
If you are holding a private view, invite more people than what the venue can take. About a third of the invites you send out will attend the event. Ask your family or friends to attend to increase numbers and be there for support.
Don't forget to get some business cards or some material that informs potential clients who you are, and what you are about.
If you are doing a group show, you are competing for the attention of someone amongst a show of other exhibitors. Have something that you can hand over while having a friendly chat. It'll stick with them and you may get an email or phone call inquiring about a new opportunity.10. Have Fun
It is a huge step launching an exhibition. If you get stressed then you may end up getting things horribly wrong.
That being said, it is a great experience that gives you the opportunity to meet new people. The rewards can be phenomenal. A personal tailored event can establish a close rappor, with potential clients and new contacts. You can possibly sell some work, or even gain a great job out of it.
Enjoy it and make it count.Asalaamu alaikum = Peace be upon you!
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