art gallery stuff (pt 1) – a few lessons learned.

ever had your stuff submitted to be in a art gallery? i haven’t and i’ll tell ya, for someone who’s never done it – it can be a stressful & scary process.

the past few days i had been getting my stuff together for a jury review to get into a new art facility. its a photographer co-op consisting of 30 photographers. at this time – they got 13 selected already. great – now i have to compete against everybody on earth for a chance to get in as one of the other 17.

i made the mistake by thinking this would be easy. i didnt take everything into account. there’s more than just taking pictures, sticking a price to it, and hanging them up on a wall for people to buy.

there’s the in between stuff. the stuff that just drove me crazy. *note – this may not apply to the not a newbies.*

so during this event, i’ve learned a few things and thought i’d share them…

1. don’t procrastinate to the last minute to get your jury packet together.

cause i did – and it sucked. i had been slowly assembling my packet together for the art jury thing. a month ago it didn’t seem like a big deal – pick out 22 of your images from the past 2 years. 18 go on CD at requested specs and the other 4 are to be printed for final presentation. easy.

i set up a survey and had a group of folks give me their random opinions on certain pieces of my work. (btw, thanks to everyone that participated!) i figured that with as many i had posted i would be able to select 18 easily… except it didnt work out that way. at the end of it, i had to come up with more pieces from my own choosing. thats a hard task – picking out pieces of your own work to show off to a jury of people that do this art stuff for a living.

i wasted so much time trying to figure out what would be best to show off diversity, color, subject, blah blah blah… pick one, would toss another. questioning myself, doubting myself – arghh! is this one good? not good enough? good grief! when did this become so complicated?

simply put, it will take some time to figure out what you choose to submit. so make sure you have your selection of work put together prior to the day before final submission.

2. framing is professional looking and can be expensive.

besides the challenge of choosing what images you’re going to present to the jury – you have to think about presentation. are you going to just mat the image? frame it? what size will it look best? big mat, little print? large print, large mat? how long is it going to take to put together? how much is this going to cost you?

thankfully i have about a week before i have to submit my 4 prints. so i have time to figure out what will look best and in what mat size/frame size. so i experimented. i went out, bought a buncha frames in varying sizes and started checking out what works best.

buying a bunch of random picture frames isn’t cheap. its isn’t terribly expensive either. i guess it just depends on your budget. right now for experimental purposes i went to Target to grab a handful of different black frames. they have a resin type frame and metal frames that include standard image size mats.

i’ve been figuring out what looks best and how to present it. i was informed that whenever submitting your work for jury – always present it in its best, meaning mat and frame it. have it ready as if you were going to sell it.

3. pricing your own work sucks.

so how do you figure out how to put a price on your art? i’ve read that general rule of thumb is to markup price by 3-4 times the cost of final product. so say it cost you $100 to print, mat, and frame your work. by the general standard – you might jack up the price to $300-400.

other factors to consider is how long you spent creating the image… did you drive out of state to get to that waterfall? did you wake up ass crack of dawn to get the light just right for your scene? did you trek through the woods, miles and miles just to get to that perfect spot? these along with the cost of your equipment are things that you have to take into consideration. (keep in mind that expensive ass glass and camera didn’t come for free…) so based on that – you might want to charge more.

just make sure its worth doing in the end. i found out that the foundation will be charging a 30% commission on all sales. so besides cost of print, mat, & frame – i have to raise the price to compensate for the 30% difference. so like i said, make sure you calculate the numbers and figure if its worth your time.

4. do it because you want to – not just because.

now don’t get me wrong, i’m a very confident person. but when it comes down to being critiqued by pros/peers/fancy smancy art people – it makes me a little ill. sure, people can see my stuff on the www – but i think of the net as a buffer. i dont see reactions or hear what people have to say about my work. so its easier to deal with criticism.

i almost let this whole thing go and not do it – thinking that it was just too much a pain in the ass. but then i thought – how awesome would it be to get to see my stuff up in a public gallery, somewhere besides the interwebs?

*** Read the rest here:  art gallery stuff – Pt. 2 & Pt. 3 ***


4 thoughts on “art gallery stuff (pt 1) – a few lessons learned.

  1. I enjoyed reading your thoughts on putting together a proposal. You’re right, they are very important both to the artist and the gallery. I work in a gallery and see the other side of it (and I have of course been in your position too). Without seeing an artist’s work, a gallery can’t make an informed decision that serves both the gallery and the other artists who use the gallery…and of course the gallery visitors. I’d like to put a link to this article on our site in the near future, I think a lot of our artists would relate to what you’re saying.
    All the best…it sounds like you’re on track.

  2. I swear i had this conversation with some family members that had never seen my art….and I was dismissive of the quality and my ability to actually see this process ( whatever that may be) through…

    Thanks for the heads up on all of the info…frame? what do you mean mat and frame…whoops did not even think about that..I was thinking of being bored at an art show and watching peoples faces as they looked at my stuff.

  3. thanks for stoppin by Rosie. if you have the opportunity to have your work showcased, i think you should. it’s worth doing it for the experience. stressful that it can be…

    i don’t think i’d be bored at an art show, especially observing peoples faces as they looked at my stuff… i’d like to know what they do think and what they interpret from my stuff. i’m sure there’s some bizarre answers and views from other folks out there… 🙂

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