Have you ever wondered how people get into group and solo gallery shows? I know I did when I was first starting out! I wish someone had just given me a list of WHAT TO DO when approaching galleries!
So...here is that list, from me to you.
1. Do your research.
When e-mailing galleries with your portfolio, PLEASE put in the time to research the gallery and the owners. Pay attention to the style of art they represent and the price points they carry. If they only carry abstract art, and you create highly realistic art, they are not your gallery.
2. Personalize your approach.
Gallery owners will be able to tell if you send the same email to every gallery. Make a point to mention what you love about their gallery, and use the names of the owners and curators if you can find them. Only send art that is applicable to the particular gallery you're approaching.
3. Give attention to detail.
Usually galleries ask for certain file sizes and names for your photo submissions. These are not suggestions! Make sure you format all your photos according to protocol.
Is there a theme for the show? Stick to it! Submit work that fits the theme, or wait for a show that DOES fit your work.
Furthermore, having a well-thought out bio and artist statement will serve you well. Knowing how to talk about your art in an intelligent manner is huge.
4. Take good photos.
Use good lighting, and make sure that your photographs accurately represent your work. I use my iphone and VSCO to edit my photos to reflect reality. I never overedit to make them look better.
5. Keep records.
Keep track of your submissions. Don't just email blast a bunch of places and hope you get in. If you end up booking three shows on the same date, you'll be in a pickle and the galleries will not be pleased!
6. Don't just drop by!
This is a BIG no no. Do not show up to a gallery with your portfolio in hand and expect the owner to look at your work and answer all your questions. Galleries want you to submit through the proper channels, usually through a tab on their website that says "Call for submissions/entries/proposals".
7. ...And don't monopolize another artist's solo show.
If another artist is showing at a gallery you want to get in to, do not show up to their opening and make the event about you and your work. This is a good way to ensure that you will never show at that gallery!
8. Price with intention.
Pay attention to the price points the gallery offers. If your prices are well below theirs, they might not be a good fit for you. Alternately, don't price your pieces so high that the gallery won't be able to sell them to their current clients.
9. Title your pieces.
As much as you might want your work to speak for itself, "Untitled" just isn't going to cut it for every piece.
10. Expect to book shows in advance.
Most galleries organize group shows months in advance and solo shows up to a year or two out, so expect to book them early!
I hope this short list of do's and don'ts was helpful to you as you consider approaching galleries with your work. Pay attention to details, submit only your best work, and you should do just fine! Good luck!