Home Website Plans Blog Artist Gallery

Blog

Applying to Art Shows - How Will it Hang?

Think about ease of installation of artwork you submit for gallery shows...most likely you won't be the one installing it. After all, you don't want your work crashing to the floor because the installation was too difficult for a gallery employee to manage easily.

 

Pay particular attention to weight/size/display limits outlined in the prospectus. They are there for a reason. If you disregard their stated limits, most likely your artwork won't be allowed into the show.

 

Make sure all hangers are secure, bases are stable for display, etc. Remember that you won't be there the whole time to watch over your artwork. The general public will be in and out of the space. Even if its a venue with a strict "do not touch" policy, not everyone listens and accidents do happen. You don't want someone to be able to easily knock your painting off the wall or your sculpture off of its stand.

 

Previous:

Applying to Art Shows - Don't Split Your Personality

Applying to Art Shows - Give Us Your Best Shot(s)

Applying to Art Shows - Get the Right Fit

Applying to Art Shows - Do a Background Check

 

Next: Applying to Art Shows - You Want to Ship What?

Applying to Art Shows - Don't Split Your Personality

When you are applying to an art show or gallery, submit a unified body of work. You need to show the jury that you have a vision, a voice as an artist. Scattered work in terms of styles/voice makes you look inexperienced. This doesn't mean you can't experiment with your work- it just means that for any particular show you should submit a body of work with a clear focus.

 

Also, when submitting images of several pieces, make sure the images look good together as a group. Sometimes jurors will view each image individually - other times they will view your entire submission at once - you just never know. Make sure that your images read well both individually and as a group.

 

More Tip on Applying to Art Shows:

 

Previous:

Applying to Art Shows - Give Us Your Best Shot(s)

Applying to Art Shows - Get the Right Fit

Applying to Art Shows - Do a Background Check

 

Next: Applying to Art Shows - How Will it Hang?

Applying to Art Shows - Give Us Your Best Shot(s)

Now that you've found a show/gallery/fair you would like to apply to, it's time to get your images picked out for your submission.

 

Let's face it, the competition to get into quality shows is fierce. You need to put your best foot forward. Professional looking images of your artwork are essential.

 

Look at photos of your art work with a critical eye. Pay particular attention to focus, lighting, and compositon. Choose only shots that make you and your work look professional.

 

Photography skills require practice. And, photographing artwork requires its own special set of skills.

 

On a side note, these days everyone has a camera on their phone/tablet - and some of these devices do have the capability of taking really great pictures. However, just like with regular cameras, the skill of the photographer makes all the difference in the quality of the image.

 

If you have not yet developed the skillset to take professional looking shots of your artwork, you should consider hiring a professional photographer who is well versed in this type of photography.

 

Don't know what constitutes a professional looking image?

 

For standard square or rectangular artwork in two dimensions, it's an image cropped ony to show the artwork - no background peeking through and no frame unless it's an intrinsic part of the piece. It should be evenly lit and and clearly focused.

 

For unusually shaped work and three dimensional art, the work should fill as much of the frame as possible. Again try to get the lighting as even as possible - watch out for hotspots, reflections, and deep shadows. Focus on 3d work can be a bit trickier because you may not be able to get everything to look crisp. Make sure the most important parts are in crisp and that anything not in focus is not distracting.

 

Check out our photo tips for more info.

 

Previous:

Applying to Art Shows - Get the Right Fit

Applying to Art Shows - Do a Background Check

 

Next: Applying to Art Shows - Don't Split Your Personality

 

Applying to Art Shows - Get the Right Fit

When applying to an art fair or gallery show, make sure your work "Fits" the show theme, gallery style, etc. As I mentioned in my previous post, if it's local check it out in person. If not, research online - most shows/galleries have some semblance of a website.

 

You needn't waste your time (or the jury's) applying to a show that's not appropriate for you or your work - say for example by sending images of your traditional representative work to a gallery that only shows abstract art.

 

This goes for the show's theme as well. Don't send landscape images to a portrait themed show. Believe it or not some artists do this - either they don't read the prospectus thoroughly or they figure that their work is so good that they can somehow slide it past the jury. Doing so will get you a reputation, and not a good one, it shows you don't value you the jury's/show's time.

 

On this note- make sure you follow the submission guidelines- for the same reason- not following guidelines wastes the jury's time and may get your submission thrown out.

 

Previous: Applying to Art Shows - Do a Background Check

 

Next: Applying to Art Shows - Get the Right Fit

Applying to Art Shows - Do a Background Check

Do a little research about any show before applying.

 

Whether you receive an email invitation to apply or you hear about a show through an advertisement or word of mouth, the first thing you should do is try to find out more information about it.

 

Make sure the show sponsor/gallery is legitimate and above board in its dealings. There have been stories of scams so you want to protect yourself. Also, I and some of my artist friends have had issues with galleries that are careless with work or don't pay their bills. Sometimes a quick Google search will tell you if others have had problems with a show or gallery in the past.

 

Google the sponsor/gallery. Look at their website and make sure that looks professional. Do they advertise? Do they participate in social media? Check out the work of other artists they represent - you might even contact one or two of them for references.

 

If the show is local, try to visit the venue. Go to the gallery and check out the space, note the manner in which they display the art - Are the works displayed professionally? Do any show sign of damage from improper handling? Look at the exhibition space - Is the gallery clean? Is it well organized? Pay attention to the staff - Do they seem professional and well-informed? Attend an opening - Is it well trafficked? Does it look like they are making sales?

 

Reach out to other artists you know and see what they have to say about the show/venue - ask questions about such things as care and handling of artwork, turnout for shows, and promptness of payment for sold items.

 

For art fairs/festivals - if possible, visit the show the year previous to applying. That way you can get a sense of the quality of the fair itself and the artwork being shown, see what's selling, get a sense of the crowd, and speak to other artists (see my artist's guide to visiting an artfair).

 

Doing a bit of legwork before even applying to a show will help you prepare for what to expect and may even save you money and potential heartache.

 

Next: Applying to Art Shows - Get the Right Fit

Applying to Art Shows

You've compiled a body of artwork and you feel you are ready to start applying to shows.

 

Where to start?

 

Whether you are interested in applying to gallery shows or art festivals, there are some things to take into account before you start filling out applications and sending in those jury fees.

 

Doing your due diligence up front may save you from some costly mistakes.

 

There are numerous things to think about when applying to shows. Some may seem obvious but others may be things you never would have thought of until confronted with a problem.

 

Over the next few blog posts, I will point out a few things I have learned over the years about applying to shows.

 

Next: Applying to Art Shows - Do a Background Check