Exhibiting your artwork should be one of your professional goals. But it’s not always an easy thing to accomplish. In previous blog posts we have discussed exhibition possibilities at museums, art centers and galleries. In this post we will focus on the materials you should bring with you when you contact an exhibition venue about showing your artwork.
When you approach a gallery for the first time bring a promotional package with you. Something you can give them if they seem interested in your work. This package will help introduce you to the first individual you talk to. If they need to discuss your work at a later time with other people at the gallery, the package will help represent you in your absence.
The promotional package should include five to ten photos of your best artworks. These photos should be high quality prints 4”x5” or 8”x10”. Each photo should focus squarely on the artwork and not include any distracting background textures, colors or shapes.
In our digital age it is important for artists to also have some sort of website that showcases their artwork. This can be anything from a public Flickr album to a fully developed website with your own domain name. The “hard copy” photos in your promotional package will serve as an introduction to a more extensive web-based collection of images showing a full range of your artwork.
In addition to photos the promotional package should include a resumé.
An artist resumé contains contact information (including website URL), a brief list of art schools or universities you have attended (with degrees noted), and a list of your previous exhibitions. The exhibitions should be categorized as juried, group or solo exhibitions and should include dates and location for each show. If any newspapers or magazines have published articles about you or your artwork those articles should also be listed (with dates).
Other items you might want to list on your resumé are grants, awards, teaching experience and art collections that include your artwork.
Your resumé should be clean, minimal and easy to understand…very professional. Appearances matter when you are making a first impression.
On a separate sheet of paper – or as a separate entry on your resumé – write a brief artist statement. This statement puts your artwork into a larger context and helps the reader see things about your work that might not be obvious when viewing your photos for the first time.
This is Alison Moritsugu’s artist statement.
So that’s the promotional package. Photos. Resumé. Artist statement. In the next blog post in this series we will discuss what you can expect from your visit with a gallery owner or gallery director and what you should do to follow up on your visit.