When an artist is seeking gallery representation, the artist will need to look for certain elements in the art gallery, before making an appointment to show their portfolio.
Galleries have a group of artists whose artwork sells well. This is their “stable” of artists and the gallery will continue to show their artwork as long as the artists work is selling. These are the artists who get promoted with featured artwork in the gallery and sometimes advertisements. These artists will also be given one person shows in the gallery. In some cases, the gallery will produce limited edition prints of their paintings. The artist may be asked to participate in the cost of the one person shows.
When checking out prospective galleries in the hope of getting gallery representation, look at the stable of artists to see if your work would fit in. Does the gallery show your type of work? Would your work be an addition to the gallery, or would your work be competing with other artists in the gallery? Maybe they don’t need another African animal painting. If possible, look at the gallery and see how the work is exhibited. Do they have the work on the wall, or leaning up against the wall on the floor? Is the lighting in the gallery professional? Does the gallery have too much art? Are they showing too many artists? Is the gallery showing original art or just limited edition prints? Look at the condition of the framing on the paintings. Is the glass clean? Are the frames in excellent condition or are the frames dusty or scratched? Ask if the gallery frames the artwork it shows, or is the artist responsible for the framing. Does the gallery pay for the artist to ship the art to the gallery, or is the artist responsible for the shipping?
Consider purchasing the book, “Artist’s & Graphic Designer’s Market”. This invaluable book is published every year. The book lists galleries with their criteria for artists who are seeking gallery representation. There is usually a contact person, phone number, address, and sometimes a website listed. The listings also are very specific as to what type of art they are showing. Also, they list their price ranges of the artwork that they sell and the range of prices that sell. This is very helpful when choosing which gallery to send ones portfolio to. If the retail prices for your artwork are much lower, or higher than the artwork already being shown in the gallery, then perhaps you need to check out another gallery.
Look at all the galleries in your geographic area first to see if any of them would be a fit for your work. If not, then check out the galleries closest to you in a large metro shopping district. Look for gallery districts where the tourists shop for artwork. Look to see how long a gallery has been in business. If possible, call their 800 number to see if they are still in business. Galleries come and go regularly, so don’t be surprised if the gallery in question went out of business since the last artist market guide was published.
Finally, ask what the gallery charges the artist as the commission. Most galleries take 40% to 50% of the retail price from the artist. A few charge the artist 60% of the retail price, giving the artist 40%. This is OK if the gallery is selling your work. You set your cost as to what you want for a particular painting. List each painting on a consignment sheet with the size, description, your inventory number, and your cost you will receive upon the sale of the art. Make duplicate copies of the consignment sheet and get the gallery to sign one and send it back to you. Keep a file on each gallery that shows your work with an up to date inventory. You always need to keep your own records, because not all galleries will; and it’s your pocketbook that will suffer.
That’s it for now …Please post a question or comment if you have one.
Thanks for stopping by, Jacquie.
Our African trip was planned to coincide with the herd migrations. We decided to drive through Masai Mara where the wildebeest were heading to greener pastures. We drove through the Great Rift Valley in the early morning. We were heading along the highway traveling at 35 MPH. I looked out the window and was surprised to see an ostrich running along beside us, easily keeping pace with us. The ostrich was traveling along side the road, alone and apparently in a hurry to get somewhere.
Soon we were in a wooded area and came upon a creek which crossed the road. We saw no bridge so decided to drive through the creek. The water turned out to be deeper than we thought, but we made it through with water sloshing just below the doors of the bus. Farther along the road, we came to the river at one of the places where the wildebeests cross. There was a narrow bridge crossing the river. We got to the middle of the bridge and stopped to look down at the river. There was very a bad smell coming from the river area. When we looked closer, we saw the crocodiles, feasting on the drowned wildebeests, which were still floating in the water. I have seen this sight many times in nature films. However, experiencing this scene complete with smells and sounds was very thrilling.
After crossing the bridge, we continued towards the plains. We could see the occasional wildebeest, standing alone, separate from the herd. They are very funny looking animals and make strange noises, kind of a ga-nu sound (which probably led to their other name : gnu). Within a few miles, we saw the beginning of the wildebeest herd. We were compelled to stop the bus in the middle of the road. Soon, our bus was surrounded by twenty thousand or more wildebeests walking along and ga-nuing as they went. This was an amazing encounter and we just sat quietly while the animals slowly moved along on their way to new pastures.
After twenty minutes or so, the herd had finally crossed the road. We decided to find a place to camp for the night (inside the bus). We found a nice area under some acacia trees. Later that night after we had gone to sleep, something woke me up. I looked out the car window in the dim light and saw large ears flapping very close to the bus. I was immediately terror stricken. I thought we were in danger of being trampled by a herd of elephants. After my eyes had adjusted to the light, I realized my elephant vision was just our clothes line with some towels flapping in the breeze. My vivid imagination had fooled me.
After two weeks, our great African adventure had come to an end. It was a wonderful experience and we came home with hundreds of great photos of African scenery and African wildlife. Reluctantly, we boarded our flight and headed back to the United States, with many wonderful memories.
When we got out into the park in the morning, we wandered around for a few miles looking for wildlife. Jim encountered a giraffe and got out of the bus to take a few photos. We had been cautioned about not leaving the vehicle. So I was somewhat concerned that Jim not be out of the car for very long.
We then began to turn the vehicle around to return to the lodge. At that point, we saw a herd of twenty or thirty elephants of various ages’ right in front of us about fifty feet away. I enjoy seeing wildlife in its natural element, but this was more wildlife than I was prepared to encounter up close. I urged Jim to hurry up and get the bus turned around so we could get back to the lodge.
At that point, we got stuck in the middle of the road. I was trying to take movies but was having trouble as my hand was shaking so much. (Watching these videos later was almost impossible due to my trembling hands.) The elephants were now much closer, and two were charging each other. I expected them to charge us at any moment. Jim was obliged to leave the vehicle and try to push it with me behind the wheel urging him to speed it up. He was not able to budge the bus one bit, no matter how hard he pushed. The elephants were getting closer and I was getting more nervous.
This was when the park ranger came to the rescue. He got out of his jeep and helped push us back on the road. After receiving a stern warning from the ranger about never getting out of the vehicle, we returned to the lodge and heaved a big sign of relief. We had survived a close up encounter with a whole herd of elephants and lived to tell the tale.
African Adventure part two
When we started our adventure, we began in London where we were to pick up our tickets for Kenyan Airways. We looked for the address of the travel agent and were surprised to find the office down a small alley near Piccadilly Circus. As we climbed up the three flights of stairs, we felt a bit concerned. The office was a tad seedy. However, the flight arrangements that we had made earlier in the US weeks in advance, turned out to be just fine. It was an actual travel agency and we got a very good price on the airline tickets.
We landed in Nairobi after a long flight of ten hours. We took a cab to the car rental agency and picked up our VW bus. We then stocked up on supplies for the camping part of our trip. After that, we checked into hotel at the animal park that was close to Nairobi.
When we first got to the hotel, we each took the antibiotics that had been recommended to prevent various tropical illnesses such as Malaria and parasites. We had already gone through the multiple immunizations for bubonic plague, yellow fever, and smallpox before we left the US.
We were leaving nothing to chance as we did not want to spoil our trip with amoebic dysentery or some other exotic illness. So, being cautious people, we swallowed the big blue pills. One minute later, we both threw up. So much for the medication keeping us from getting sick.
Later that evening, after we were feeling better, we had a wonderful dinner at the lodge. We were then escorted back to our hut by an armed guard carrying a spear. He told us that he was protecting us from the leopard and lions that frequently wandered into the hotel lobby. We thought that was pretty exciting, as so far, we had not seen any African wildlife. However, I did not feel that a spear was much of a weapon against a lion or leopard.
The next day, we drove to Samburu where we stayed at another lodge. I thought the monkeys were so cute coming into the lodge dining area until they started to grab our food. Then, the waiters started yelling at the monkeys and chasing them out of the dining area. I realized that the monkeys were rascally little critters who were very good at stealing food.
We went out to our VW bus to tour the park. To our shock, our bus had been broken into by a raucous bunch of baboons. They were having a great time eating our food supplies and ripping out the rubber seal on the sliding car door. We yelled at them and jumped up and down waving our arms. This had the affect of causing them to pause, look up at us and then continue to eat our food. We got some help from the park guards who charged the baboons and forced them out of our bus. So our first wildlife encounter was a bit messy. After that, we were cautious about leaving the door unlocked. Who knew that baboons could open car doors?