Should you use non-gallery places to showcase your art?

As an artist, the most common place that you can showcase your artwork is at galleries. When it comes to these venues, there are numerous public and private ones that you can choose from. However, many artists find that it is often quite a challenge to find a gallery to represent them unless they are very well established.

One of the strategies that new or aspiring artists usually deploy is to look at alternative non-gallery spaces where they can start to establish themselves before heading toward the bigger players like galleries. This is where you can look into alternative places which could range from embassies to hotels, shopping malls and such, all of which would garner large crowds of traffic as compared to the selected few in galleries.

The downside of using alternative spaces is that you might not earn as much as selling them through galleries.

This is because it provides what is known as a win-win situation where your art becomes the decorative factor for the space (like shopping malls) while as an artist, you have your body of work seen by many. In a way, you get the leverage of gathering impressions and ‘eye-balls’ in which you will be able to establish your artistic brand to the world. Some of these spaces would keep ownership of your art and move them where they deem fit which means that you will not be paid any sum for your work. If that is the situation, unless you are very tight in budget, it would be a great way to create exposure for yourself.
After all, art is an investment, and that is one way you are investing in your future. From there, you will then be able to ‘move on’ to other spaces. Furthermore, if buyers see what they like and they would like to commission you for a piece of work, they can contact you.

When exhibiting your work in alternative spaces, you need to be more pro-active as well as planning. This is where you must know when is the time to move on and when not to. This is where you must be able to use these spaces to create a name for yourself and then use that to leverage your discussion with galleries in the future. One or two exhibitions will not be sufficient. So you will need to be patient, show more of your work in public spaces and then build your portfolio and curriculum vitae around that. When doing this, you must also take note of the spaces that you will be showcasing your work. If your work is displayed in restaurants, you will find that the people there are less interested in art and more interested in food. Knowing who the people who frequent such places would also help you tremendously.


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