Making Submissions To Art Galleries

You may have read our recent post about Raw Canvas gallery in Canada accepting submissions from artists seeking representation. If not, you will find it here. Raw Canvas Gallery prefers email submissions and are one of many on our art gallery PDF list.

Recently, on the Artsy Shark blog, I read an interview with a female gallerist who angrily described how she deletes all email submissions from artists. I also personally encountered a small gallery in South Carolina,USA, with a rant posted on their website stating that they only represent artists outside the area and did not want email submissions from local artists! Should you care or does this really have anything to do with you, that a small percentage of gallerist have a personal preference for doing business other than via email? Should you allow their preferences to influence how you make contact with other galleries? Would you even want to work with these gallerists?

Famed and popular New York City gallerist Ed Winkleman connects with artists online via Facebook and receives numerous email submissions. I know an Artist liaison at another gallery who expects first contact from artists via email, and I also recently had a phone conversation with the owner of a large art consultancy in California who makes all of her art sales via first email contacts!  These are just a few. Let’s face it, email is the way business contacts are made these days. It’s fast, easy, relatively inexpensive. I have gotten gallery representation and solo exhibitions for other artists (and for myself) from making first contact via email. Yes, just one email got an artist a solo gallery show! Just one email got an artist representation. Just one email got an artist a print contract which led to sales. So of course you are not going to let others discourage you from sending out email submissions!

Many gallerist  receive email submissions daily, and many will admit that they do take a look. Artists, have you thought of ways to make it easy for gallerists to view your work, such as by submitting a direct URL to your best artwork? A direct URL gives a professional impression and shows that you value the gallerists’ time. (To understand how to submit a direct URL link, read the details in my ebook Guide to Making Submissions).

I know from the many submissions that artists have sent to me that only about 1% know how to present themselves well. Artists make every mistake, and yes, it can get annoying to see the same sorts of poor presentations over and over.

Some of the most common mistakes include–long rambling emails that contain too much information and leave a bad impression, (such as the one I received yesterday from an artist who wrote that she is unemployed and broke so would I hurry up and get her some free resources). Then there are artists who send a gallerist a link to their website, but when the gallerist clicks on the link they are taken to a landing page with no art image and a confusing menu that includes: gallery, paintings, new work. Let’s say the gallerist takes the time to click on *new work* expecting to see art, but instead a long rambling essay comes up, or another menu, or instructions on how to use the site. At this point the gallerist will likely quit. Obviously the artists is not confident about their work buried under so many layers. Or let’s say an artist has sent a few sample jpegs in an email along with their bio. The gallerist finds the work interesting and thinks of saving it for consideration for a future group show but the artist hasn’t labeled her jpegs professionally. This causes many problems for the gallerist so she decides not to work with the artist after all.

I have received a large number of artist bios and CVs  labeled *My CV* or *My Bio*!  Think about it–if you and other artists all send out files labeled *My CV*  and the gallerist has a long list of downloaded files all labeled that way, then how will she find yours?  Busy gallerist will not and will likely cut your submission unless you label your files professionally. Also, I have received dozens of images labeled only with number strings! I really don’t want to spend an extra hour trying to match-up artist names and titles to jpegs because the artists did not take the time to label them.

After seeing these and other mistakes made by artist after artist,  I wrote my ebook Guide to Making Artist Submissions to guide artists beyond making common errors.

To go with the ebook information, Artist Marketing Resources provides artists with the International Gallery list PDF containing thousands of links that click-through to galleries. On the list, the galleries that state that they accept submissions are highlighted in yellow to save you time.  Once you have your presentation polished it will be easy for you to submit to those galleries first. Also, with our contact list of art consultants you could gain representation so that you have an art consultant making email contacts on your behalf to sell your work to hospitals, corporations and interior designers.

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