January Is Submission Time!
If you aren't an artist this title might sound otherwise slightly blush inducing! All joking aside, with the hustle and bustle of the holidays behind us, January is the traditional time to renew and invest in yourself. Who said January is only for resolutions?
As an artist, January and February is a perfect time to apply to exhibitions, submit images to galleries, update your website, research artist grants and residencies and take the time to figure out your goals or 2023 and continue to research and contribute images and announcements on social media.
Speaking of research on social media... Yesterday while I was according to some "wasting time" following more artists and curators accounts on instagram, I received a message from a curator from a major gallery who wants to do a virtual tour of my studio tomorrow. I don't want to jinx it so will share later any news. Fingers crossed!
Back to best practices... I spend the whole month of January every year searching for galleries I want to apply to. I know this post is a bet late but well, I was busy actually practicing what I preach here. I really only need to spend about 15-30 minutes a day on this since I have my standard email that I send. It's only a matter of a few minutes more to make each email personal. Everyone can tell the difference between a form letter and a real deal personal letter so don't be ordinary. Be engaging.
What to say? Well "WHO" are you are reaching out to? Address the Curator or Director by their name and why not mention how much you enjoy their curatorial eye. That's probably the reason their gallery caught your eye in the first place and why you chose this gallery to introduce yourself to. What about the artists they show? Do you admire their work? Could you see your art work with theirs? It's perfectly fine to mention all of this. As I said, be engaging. Back in my Director days, I once had an artist text me his submission in text speak literally telling me to show his art "Cuz it all gud" Not the best approach there. Yes he stood out but not for the right reasons. Another sent me images of his artwork spread out on a bed and the photos were sent upside down very sort of killer/stalker like. Stood out but not in a good way. Be professional. Please!
Why apply to galleries at the beginning of the New Year? Because many galleries begin to set their shows for the whole year in January. I personally have found January submissions lucky. As a former gallery director and as a seasoned artist, I know often a gallery is willing to try a new artist with one or two of the other artists in their roster. I have a list of galleries that once a year I resend my submission to with updated images and information. Doing this the same month each year just makes it easier to know that I am not overdoing my contacts with them. There can be a fine line between reminding a curator of you and your work and being annoying to the point that it will always be a NO. Don't give them a reason to put you on their no no list.
The last thing I want to mention is short, medium and long term goals. I redo my goals every year. I split it in to categories like my ultimate wish list which is of course to "Take Over The World!" (Any Pinky and The Brain fans out there?) You got that right?
There's the "Reality List" that I break down in to
Weekly Monthly 6 months
10 years Long ago I met with an art advisory/mentor who said she really wanted to work with me because the goals I had were doable and set in reality. I wanted to support myself as an artist. I wanted to grow a respectable exhibitions list. I wanted to eventually show in NY in a good first floor gallery. I wanted to come across as professional. I wanted to have a gallery or galleries to take me on as a represented artist. Those were the goals. Plain and simple. I did achieve them through hard work.
Before I leave you for now, I wanted to sharing a new piece I finished inspired by Valentine's Day.
Happy 2023 Everyone!