“What advice do you have
for emerging artists
who want their work to
be seen by galleries?”
You don’t want your fine-art work to be the proverbial tree
falling in a forest, but the fine-art world is less receptive to
traditional marketing and pitching tactics than in editorial,
reportage and commercial work. So how can you get your foot
in the door? These seven photographers share their insights.
Compiled by JACQUI PALUMBO
You have to have passion, will and
patience. Working with galleries—
actually, most aspects of pursuing a fine-art career—takes years of persistence.
Your art must be what you absolutely love
and the only thing you want to do. Otherwise, there are
many better fields to go to. Then, you have to develop a
clear perspective and make a coherent body of work that
is unique—work that means and says something. To have
your work make us see what we other wise cannot, make us
think deeper, feel deeper, understand better. It has to move
us, upset us, amaze us. Then! Find a way to put it in front of
those you want to work with, which is challenging in itself:
well-crafted emails, letters or, if you are lucky, a meeting.
Study the gallery you are thinking about approaching, their
programs, past shows, staff and so on. And don’t give up.
My advice would be to make
yourself as visible as possible,
because some galleries prefer
to “discover” and follow you for
a while before approaching you,
rather than you contacting them. This
is reflected in the “no unsolicited proposals”
statement on their contact pages! But some
galleries are, of course, happy to be contacted.
Try to get your work published in magazines,
blogs and features by sending work via their
submission pages online, but make sure your
work fits the brief. Have exhibitions with
friends and university contemporaries to
build up your CV.
Entering competitions is also a great way to
get your work under the noses of curators and
gallery directors on the jury whom you would
otherwise not have access to, but always
make sure to read the terms carefully first.