Whether you are an aspiring or established artist in any form of art, one of the biggest challenge is where and how to showcase your art work. This is, after all the whole reason why you decided to be an artist in the first place, so that you can deliver your messages to the public. Whether or not your artwork get sold is another matter altogether where there are some who wants to sell while others who are only interested to promote their art.
In today’s art scene, the most common places to promote your body of work is through galleries. In Malaysia for instance, there are the public and private galleries that you can approach while the new media like the internet and mobile avenues are also channels worth considering. How then should you approach these parties?
Approaching any art gallery with your portfolio is very much a pitching process. You have to think of it as presenting a business plan to them because if you succeed, you will become their ‘product’. The challenge here is to convince them that they will have a good product to sell to their clients where in this case, the collectors. Hence, whatever you have in your portfolio would be worthless if they cannot see any value in representing you.
Always remember that as much as art galleries represent art, they are also a business that needs income to survive. Perhaps the public art galleries are less profit-prone but even with that, they will go about representing anyone who could put colour on canvas.
As an artist, you must position yourself well so that the gallery knows who they are dealing in and how to sell your work. If they are not in agreement of your persona, it is very difficult for them to give you a show. There are only 12 months in a year and they are not about to take uncalculated risks with a show for someone they have no confidence in.
Always listen. Unless you have the capacity to showcase your own work at your own space, you will need these spaces to help you. If they tell you that a specific series of work cannot work, then they might be right because they know the market well enough. Learn to accept before starting to reject. Take your time to study the situation before making any approach. Never go unplanned, prepare your portfolio and then call or email the gallery, after that prepare yourself and go with confidence.