Partnership? I only wanted an exhibition of my work.
Well, it’s not as simple as you may think. It’s all about mutual acquaintances, and relationships built upon the meetings. . along with a well-thought out contract signed by both parties. Artists and dealers tend to refer to their relationship a type of marriage, and that is exactly how it should be thought as. Until death do us part, or rather until money buys me out. Although some marriages tend to last longer than others, same goes for a gallery partnership. In the book The Artist Gallery Partnership the author describes how the marriage needs catering, and tending too for it to work successfully between both parties, and the artwork itself must bring in a revenue for both the artists and the gallery involved.
Money, power, and connections go hand in hand when dealing with these types of partnerships. You need to know your dealer, and ask specific questions when you go to meet them for the first time. Even if they are a friends contact. Some friends have good suggestions but not all of them, you need to find the dealer that is right for you. Especially if you don’t want to go into the marketing business for your art. You only need to market yourself to the dealer, and then the dealer can take it from there. Have you read the post on how to market yourself? I suggest you do.
The top questions you should ask a dealer (and others who’ve worked with said dealer) in your first meeting are listed below;
- How was business with [dealer] when you showcased your work?
- Where there any problems or complications that arose from [dealer]?
- Can I look around the gallery to get a feel?
- Are the exhibits clearly and attractively mounted?
- Are the exhibits changed at a regular interval?
- Are the artworks treated carefully?
- Is there a security system in place?
- Does the gallery deal in only consigned works?
- How long has the business been in operation?
- What is the background of the hired staff, and business?
These are honest questions that the artists (you) should know. The gallery should have no problem in answering any of the aforementioned questions. There are no real secrets in how to get a gallery to like you other than having proper etiquette and being professional. It’s similar to a job interview. You need to look, and dress professional. Also know the answers to your questions, and the questions that might be asked of you.
Semi-formal attire is perfect. It shows your professionalism, and when you know the answer to every questions asked of you it makes you seem more attractive and smart. Sporting a tux to an interview is only good when you’re apply for the head position of a major corporation. Plus you’re an artist; keep it comfortable but clean.
DON’T come to the interview wearing this, and expecting to seal a deal.
Despite that both of these outfits look great, and comfy. This isn’t the time nor the place for them. Please keep your appearance professional when trying to get a partnership. The last step in creating this partnership with a gallery, assuming you’ve been accepted is to have a written contract. You can find more information within the sources below on the laws and legal codes when it comes to consigning art to a gallery.
I will write more on that at a later date.
This was just some quick tips on how to get into a gallery, and build a relationship with the dealer.