Archive for August, 2011

Dear Artists,

Greetings from The Business of Art! Today’s topic: Old V.S. New

You’ve found a gallery that seems to be a good fit for you, the director has agreed to review you work, and then it happens – you realize that it is you who are on top of your game, and the gallery director is just an old relic from the past, standing there in pretty shoes, telling you in a cold flat voice to send slides, and by the way don’t forget the self-addressed stamped envelope.

Should you pursue this exhibition space? Absolutely not. Don’t waste your time. An art gallery director who asks for slides is living in the past. If they haven’t moved on then you Dear Artist must move on.

Anyone still asking for slides is obviously not in tune with today’s world. Do they even know how to hunt for art collectors and close a sale for you? They might be able to put a show together, and of course you’ll have to pitch in with the cost of the show, and then what? Are you independently wealthy? Don’t you actually want to sell your work?

I’ve even found art advisor websites referring to slides. Slides! Then I check out the so called professional art advisor’s personal information and of course they’ve been in business for a respectable 20 or 30 years. Very nice, congratulations, I too have been in the art business for 25 years, but I’m not doing business the same way I did 25 years ago.

That Was Then, This Is Now

Art dealers worth their salt actively pursue art sales.

Then: We took photographs of art, had them developed, wrote letters, put the photograph and the letter in an envelope, put postage on it and mailed it. We called the client a few days later to ask if they got the letter and the photo. If the client said “Yes” we went further, “Do you like the piece …” and so on. We would try to get a home show or perhaps a deposit right then and there. Often the clients would say, “I don’t know if I got the letter.” Or “Just send it again.” And of course we would do the whole thing all over again.

Now: We take digital shots, we email them, we call the clients right away, “Did you get the email?” perhaps they are willing to check, and we say, “I’ll hold on, let’s look at it together.” Then we try to get a showing or a deposit. Ahh, simple and efficient.

Artists worth their salt actively pursue gallery representation.

Then: You had slides made, you labeled the slides, you put them between two pieces of cardboard, put them in an envelope, wrote a cover letter, put that in the envelope, wrote out a self-address envelope, put sufficient return postage on the return envelope, put the whole thing a bigger envelope, put postage on it, and mailed the whole package to a gallery. Several weeks later (if your lucky) you got an answer. Thank God those days are over.

Now: You call the director, you ask if you can send a few jpegs, you send low resolution images, a maximum of five for the first approach, you also attach your resume, and then you call back the next day. If the director is interested you can send a link to your website or send more jpegs. Ahh, simple and efficient. Beautiful! Welcome to the twenty-first century! Good bye slides. Good bye snail mail.

Wishing you a busy and productive art life,
Gloria Gales


Amiry, Nightcap, Oilgraph on Canvas, 23"x29"


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