Wednesday, September 26, 2012

My Idea of a Good Gallery Director

"Emerald Waters", Pt. Lobos Reserve, California

I am learning so much from my experience with the gallery in California. First, I learned that it's very important to reach out if you have concerns.  Second, I discovered that some galleries set a minimum price for pieces in their exhibitions.  I like that and wish more galleries exhibiting fiber art would consider a similar policy.

I learned that some gallery directors will go above and beyond to make their exhibitions come together.  In my case, I had asked a California photographer to print out my image and deliver it to the gallery on my behalf.  Unfortunately, there was a miscommunication and the print arrived..... in the wrong size.  The gallery director called me, realized that this wasn't my error, and suggested another local professional lab I could work with.  Then, he picked up my print himself.  "I really want this to be seen", he told me.

I've also learned that some gallery directors take marketing seriously.  When I spoke with him, the gallery director shared that they'd done a marketing push to area interior designers, hoping they'd come to see the exhibition.  He told me, "I hope a decorator calls you up and asks for five more prints."

There's nothing like having a cheerleader in your corner who also happens to be working very hard on your behalf to help you be successful.  It's clear to me that a good gallery director views the artist as an integral part of the artistic team.  This is a professional relationship I'd like to cultivate and which will be the benchmark against which I judge all others.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Gallery Pricing Philosophy

As I noted in my previous post, one of my images has been accepted into a gallery exhibition in Carmel, California.  All images submitted to the exhibition had to be for sale and arrive at the gallery framed and ready for hanging.   The gallery also set a minimum price for any photo in this particular exhibition.

I like that.

I've been in a few gallery shows for my textile art,  but I don't recall ever being asked to adhere to a minimum pricing philosophy.  I wonder why that's the case?

In this particular instance, I think the gallery is being very smart and supportive of the artists. First, they want to establish an implied value to all the artworks selected.  The gallery doesn't want anything to appear "cheap".  The exhibition has consistency among the works.   Second, the gallery knows what the market will bear in the area it serves and that's very good intel.  And third, they are setting themselves up as a seller of highly valued art -- they look more prestigious to buyers -- and that will look very good on my resume.

For what it's worth, I hope galleries that host fiber art exhibitions will consider doing the same.  It's clear that other parts of the art community are doing it and I believe there's merit in it.

What do you think?

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Happiness with a Price Tag

Back in August, I submitted some images for a photo exhibition in California.  The deadline was set and the notification date was to be one week later.

Then.... an announcement came out that the submission deadline was extended by two weeks and the notification date was pushed back another week beyond that.

Now the difference between the notification date and the receipt date of framed artwork went from four weeks to nine days.  That's not a lot of time to get something professionally printed, framed, and shipped.  It meant, for me at least, that I was going to have to pay for some expedited services to get something cross country if one of my images was accepted.  


I didn't know the proper etiquette for the situation. Announcements hadn't been made yet, but should I call the gallery and let them know of my concerns?  Can I withdraw at this point because the expenses would be more than I had intended to spend?   What to do?

On the sage advice of Jane Davila, I called the gallery and spoke to one of the folks in charge.  I didn't come away with a promised solution -- mostly because the gallery hadn't yet received the list from the jurors -- but I did propose an extension of the receipt date, given my distance from the gallery and the shortened time table.  The idea wasn't approved, but it wasn't nixed either.

As it turned out, one of my images was accepted.  WOO HOO!  This is a very prestigious gallery and most of the accepted photographers are professionals.  I'm pretty psyched that one of my images was selected out of a pool of more than 500.  Very cool.

But now how to deal with the expense?

It turned out that the gallery was willing to make an exception on the receipt date, but only because I had reached out to them ahead of time.  Whew!  That means my happy dance doesn't come at too great a price tag.

Lessons learned:
1) If you have an issue that arises from new terms/constraints set by the gallery during the jurying process, be sure to call.  Voice your concerns, but try also to present a solution.  I think that's what worked for me in this case.

2) I know this isn't new, but send as many entries as possible.  The image that was selected was not one of my favorites, but it's the one that fit the jurors' needs for the exhibition. 

"Seagull before the Storm" -- an image NOT selected for the exhibition

Friday, September 7, 2012

Ring around the Renga

You may remember that I told you about our fiber art group's Renga exercise with surface design here.  This week I added the fourth, and final, layer to another member's fabric.  It started off as a hand dye with lime green and acid yellow (not really evident with the icky lighting here).  The second layer was made of randomly strewn blue lines created by a rubbing; the third layer comprised of more randomly strewn lines made from Lumiere metallic paints painted over shibori stitched lines (the stitches were removed after painting).

I thought the lines evoked a feeling of the ocean and seaweed flowing in the currents; however, they were also pretty spread out across the fabric.  I felt the fabric needed some sort of overall element, so I cut a random design from wax paper and ironed it to the surface,

then sponge painted over the stencil with lavender (the irony of using a sponge on a sea-like fabric wasn't lost on me),

and, viola! here's the fabric after four different surface design processes.

We shared all the fabrics at last night's meeting and it was fun to see all the creative ways people met the challenge.  If you're looking for something fun to do with friends that's relatively easy, but more challenging than you'd think, this might be a good idea.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Lessons from the Design Wall

I live in an old (250+ year old) house.  Storage space is at a premium; the colonials weren't big on closets.  As a result, my design wall doubles as a holding zone for completed works.  Pieces I've finished sometimes hang there, pinned to the wall because I don't know where to put them now that they're done.

This weekend, in a fit of "getting ready for school" clean-up, I decided that this wasn't going to be the case any longer.  I took down my completed pieces and lay them over a cabinet top.   I put away a piece-in-progress that's been pinned up for months; another is going to get a bit of TLC today... and then get put away.

I also decided to sort through some of my inspiration images.  At the start of my passion for quilting, I tore out pages from magazines and stored them in giant folders.  I was hoping to be inspired by the great things I saw.  It was a good idea except I only opened the folders to put new pictures in; I never revisited what I gathered.

On Sunday, I decided I could use the shelf space for things other than folders with fading old pictures.  I went through hundreds of pages of images and set aside only those that immediately struck me.  I started to pin the pictures in a small section of the cleared out space of my design wall.  Now there are pictures of all sorts of works of art from saris to paintings and, from pottery to antique quilts on my design wall .

Small section of my new inspiration wall

Aside from making my space look much cooler, I also learned something about myself in the process.  I  am very drawn to works of art that are graphic in nature and exuberant.  Many of the pieces I selected had a circular motive in them somewhere.  I didn't select any artworks that immediately express a solemn or gloomy topic.  I love color and it seems that reds, oranges, and yellows are striking my fancy most these days.  This last point is particularly compelling since I hardly ever use orange or yellow in my own work; I think I'm going to have to try to.

This was an unexpectedly fun exercise in knowing where my creative head is these days.  What does your inspiration wall tell you about yourself?