As commercial galleries are all run by individual companies or people there are no black and white rules for submission. However, there are some basic steps that you can follow to make sure you’ve covered their requirements.
Applying to sell your work with an art gallery is much like applying for a job. As the curator/gallery owner will read dozens of applications a week it is very important to make it easy for them to appraise your application.
It is useful to bear in mind before contacting the gallery that the time of the curator/gallery owner is their most precious commodity. As most commercial gallery curators/owner also take on the role of the selling the art work. They do not have the time to trawl through artists websites to seek out the artists images that they are submitting. In fact, if you only send a link to your website when submitting to a gallery, you’ll be lucky to get an acknowledgment email back.
The following steps will enable you to apply to art galleries with the knowledge that you’re making a comprehensive application to the curator/gallery owner without taking up too much of their time.
- Make sure you have clear photographs of your work. Not blurred, and preferably taken without a flash. It is best to photograph your work when it’s straight this way you will not have a distorted image. Some artists photograph their work when it’s fixed into an easel, or they balance it against a wall.
- Edit your photographs so that they don’t have your easel or wall still in the background. Make them look like they could be used in a catalog for the gallery. Make sure you have a small version of the image as well as a larger version. The reason for having two versions is that it is easier to email the smaller versions to prospective galleries. But they will most likely require an image that is larger and with higher resolution so that they can list your piece of work on their website and to magazines and newspapers for publicity.
- Find out who to submit your work to. The easiest way to do this is to have a look on the galleries website. Most galleries will have a section where they explain the submission process or who to contact at the gallery. If they don’t have a comprehensive website, then call them and find out who and how to submit you work to for consideration.
- If the gallery requires you to go in with a portfolio of your work. Arrange a time with them, and take in a copy of your artists CV and a selection of your work that you would like to exhibit.
- If the gallery accepts email submission then send them 3-4 images of your work based upon a similar theme. Also send them a summary of your artists’ CV which should briefly highlight any awards you’ve won, a few of the key places you’ve exhibited, where you’re from and what other exhibitions you’ve got coming up over the next few months. Most importantly include your telephone number, so that they can call you with any questions they might have.
Please call them to confirm that they’ve received the email if you’ve not heard from them after a week. This way you can check your email has been read and if it hasn’t been received, then you can ask again for the email address to send your work to.
Sophia Smith is the owner and curator of one of the largest commercial art galleries in the North-West of England, Revolve Gallery http://www.revolvegallery.co.uk. Through her experience she is able to assist people to invest in fine-art from the North-West of England. With over 10 years experience working in the creative industries in business development and marketing I am able to promote the galleries artists and increase their profile and price.