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This article is mainly for young artists. I apologize if it brings back some painful memories to any older artists who may have frittered away their most productive years making stupid mistakes.

Recently, I was invited to a university art exhibit. There was to be a reception to meet the senior art students and the art would remain on exhibit for a few more days. I was invited by one of the student’s mothers. The show was to be held in less than two weeks. I checked my busy schedule and found I had the evening free, so I saved the date. I was surprised to be told that the actual invitations had not yet been designed and printed. Invitations by email could be done in an afternoon; but, the students were dragging their feet. They had not yet come up with a title for the show.  They were thinking about something vegetable related because their art has nothing to do with vegetables and “Wouldn’t that be a hoot?”. It wasn’t their fault; they were given poor advice. So, instead of giving you some good advice, I will continue with the tradition of art school and give you some bad advice. It’s up to you to do the opposite if you wish to have a successful show.

Poor Advice #1: Two weeks before the show, start thinking about a theme and a title for the show. Make sure the title is funny, funky, and frivolous; remember, it’s your friends you are trying to impress. Your parents and anyone in their age group who can afford to buy art, should not understand your art. Remember, you don’t want to sell your art anyway. (Who needs their own apartment?)

Poor Advice #2: Don’t bother designing your invitations until ten days before the show. Then, figure out how you’re going to print the invitations. Don’t include an R.S.V.P; that way it will be a nice surprise if anyone shows up. Now, decide who you are going to invite. Print the invitations and address the invitations (printed labels – not hand-written) and take them to the post office. Maybe a few of them will arrive and be opened before the show, maybe.

Poor Advice #3: Do not invite gallery directors, art dealers, captains of industry, the mayor or anyone you don’t personally know. They won’t come anyway, so don’t even put your name in front of them. Make sure that no one important ever sees a card with an image of your art and your name in big letters. God forbid they might actually like your art and come to the show. That could lead to an art sale and would be very bad for your career.

Poor Advice #4: If anyone tells you that three months before the show, you should already have a theme for the show, and a good descriptive title for the show – don’t believe them!

Poor Advice #5: If anyone tells you to design the invitations four weeks before the show, include an R.S.V.P. and your phone number, print the cards, hand-address them, and take them to the post office three weeks before the show – don’t believe them!

Poor Advice #6: Do not create an e-invitation exactly like the printed invitation. One week after mailing the printed invitation, do not email the e-invitation to all the same people. People are busy; the printed invitation may have been misplaced and you don’t want to remind them about your show. Also, receiving two invitations might make them feel too important. You really want to build a reputation as an aloof, crabby artist; like the kind you see in the movies.

Poor Advice #7: Never bother people with a friendly phone call or email one week before the show to ask them if they have received the invitation and let them know you would love to see them at the show. They might be flattered and decide to come. This could lead to a sale and you don’t want that.

Poor Advice #8: Art is all about fun and creativity. It’s all about YOU! Expressing yourself, waking up every morning knowing that you don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do – that’s what being an artist is all about. The selling, the marketing, the planning, the organization, the discipline – that’s for idiots who want to make a living.

james_collender
James Collender, Line Rider, watercolor, 34″ x 27″ framed

Best regards,
Gloria Gales
http://www.TheBusinessOfArt.com

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