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Are you ready to display your work in a gallery? A guest post by Jenny Timms.

VitreusArt-gallery-studio-Wakefield-Country-CourtyardIf you think the answer is ‘yes’, how do you do this? It can be a daunting undertaking if you haven’t done it before.

Maybe you belong to an art group and you’ve been lucky enough to sell your work at group exhibitions. Hopefully you’ve sold and family members and friends are queuing up to tell you what a great artist you are!

But here’s the crucial question – is your work really ready to be out there? And are you ready too, as an artist, a professional, a business person?

We (Vitreus Art) opened our doors 18 months ago, after 10 years of selling through other galleries, online and at craft shows.
Since then we have received a stream of people though the door asking if we would display their work and sell it for them.  This really isn’t the way to get a gallery onside!

Ask yourself – would I appreciate visitors to my workplace trying to sell me things? Probably not. A gallery owner has to be responsive to their customers (and potential customers). Artists turning up during the day without an appointment gets a future relationship off to a bad start!

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves – there are some absolute fundamentals to take care of first:

  • Do you have a website and a business Facebook page (not a personal one that can only be viewed by your Facebook friends?
    • If not why not – you need one, it’s as simple as that, you need to be able to direct a gallery owner to your online presence when you first approach them
  • Whatever your art form you need good photos, for your website and for advertising whether it be printed or online – Good photos are a must. If you can’t show a prospective gallery photos of your work how do you expect them to agree to take your work?
  • If you are taking pictures of 2D art, take the photos before the glass goes on – reflections in the glass are a no-no!
  • Do you have business cards and or a flyer with information about yourself and your work?
  • Have you decided what you will be offering the gallery?
    • A one-off piece of work
    • A body of work (hopefully with a consistent look or theme)
    • Continuous supply of work – if this is your option then can you keep up with demand, can you supply the work as and when it’s called for?
  • Is your work properly prepared for a gallery?
    • Is it framed well?
    • Does it have hanging fixings applied – And yes, I have had work with the fixings in a bag, expecting me to fix them onto the back of the frame before hanging; that’s not the gallery’s job!
    • If the work is in a frame – is the back sealed properly?
    • Is the work labelled in the way the gallery would like? Please don’t deliver work to one gallery straight from another with their labels on, and don’t leave the previous exhibition’s pricing on a piece of work.
    • Go to the trouble of printing new labels for each time you change it from one gallery to another, it really is worth the time

And here’s a critical point – will the gallery be able to make enough money on the commission to justify devoting wall space to your work? If your work sells for £30 and the gallery’s commission is 50%, the potential revenue to the gallery is only £15; instead the gallery is likely to prefer to display a work with a selling price of (for example) £200 – the gallery makes a nice round £100 instead when they sell it!

As an aside – some galleries run themed exhibitions – if your work suits the theme of a show coming up you may find submitting work for a themed show is a good ice-breaker as those galleries will be expecting submissions from artists they haven’t worked with before.

Now – please don’t tell me you’re now off to see a gallery before you’ve done some research?

Consider the points above – come up with a list of galleries you think will be a good fit. Pay them a visit but don’t approach them on this occasion. This is your chance for you to see if you think your work will fit in their space. At this stage we suggest you consider the distance – if your work sells well will you be prepared to travel to the gallery to re-stock?

We’ve been guilty of this ourselves – working with a gallery more than 100 miles away, so the sales generated didn’t even cover the petrol, let alone the time involved or the cost of creating the art-work in the first place!

Now you have your list of possible (your work suits their style, price points and ethos) you can initiate contact!

Send them an email, addressing the owner/manager in person, introducing yourself and the reason you are contacting them – this is where having a decent website, a business Facebook page and  good-quality photos all matter.

If you don’t hear back within a few days, follow up with a phone call – but be polite. Most gallery owners are busy and get a lot of prospective introductions. If they are interested you should ask for an appointment.
If they aren’t, thank them for their time and ask if you may contact them at a later date, most will probably say that’s ok, but if not don’t waste any more of their time, or yours, and leave it at that.  Just remember – the art world is a small place so be courteous to people you may encounter again in the future!

If your contact is interested in your work, great – make an appointment and get your pitch in order. At this stage make sure you find out how the gallery operates. Most galleries will display your work on a sale or return basis; if this is the case you need an idea of how long they would like to exhibit your work.

It’s unlikely a gallery will buy your work outright so be prepared to understand how this will work. Sale or return will come with a commission fee charged by the gallery. This is standard practice (and a subject for a whole other blog) but you need to know how much that is and include it in your pricing structure

Make sure you turn up to your appointment on time and present your work and yourself well. Your art is your ‘passion’ and how you present it should be confident, but not pushy.

I get frustrated by artists who tell me they love what they do but then turn up with their work in a supermarket carrier bag.  Much better to carefully wrap the work, or make protective sleeves to keep the frames in good condition.

And think about how your 2d work is framed – marks or damage to frames is a no-no. Who would buy a piece of art with a damaged frame? Your work should look as if it’s brand new – even down to making sure there are no fingerprints on the glass.

And if you want to be taken seriously, make sure your own presentation is smart too – no painter’s smock please!

If the gallery owner likes what you show them, you may be asked to leave some of your work with them. Make sure it’s in saleable condition, and make sure you receive a consignment note detailing the work and its price – a piece’s wall price is the price the customer pays, the artist price is what you’ll receive when it sells.

Most galleries pay their artists in arrears by direct transfer – have your bank details to hand! This is a new professional relationship so it’s important that all aspects are professionally handled.

If the gallery doesn’t take your work, ask for a reason why (without being offended) as feedback is often useful; aim to keep the door open for future approaches with new work or a different style, or a different price point.

Happy hunting and good luck getting your work on show!

 

It’s been too long since the last time….the Vitreus Art & Wakefield Gallery March Newsletter

Hello!

With spring tentatively springing and most of us emerging from hibernation it feels like it’s time to turn the creative dial up a bit!

We’ve got lots of fun classes to offer you, new art work in the gallery and some events we hope will get you out and about in the NN12 7QX area!

How about getting to grips with Mixed Media?
Clare Tebboth’s new one-day class will expand your artistic horizons and is suitable for beginners and established artists alike.

Or for the complete beginner, Clare Tebboth’s Painting & Drawing for Beginners will boost your confidence and inspire you to start creating your own masterpieces.
Clare will introduce you to a range of essential techniques including sketching, colour mixing and brush control, use of watercolours and more.
The course takes place over one morning per week for 5 weeks.

Clare Tebboth Mixed Media Madness, 9th May or 6th June £65 per person including materials and lunch.
Clare Tebboth – Painting & drawing for beginners, 5 week course, mornings, £85 for all 5 sessions, starting 24th April, including materials.

Find out about Clare’s courses here:
http://www.vitreus-art.co.uk/classes

We’re delighted that Phil Madley (artist and encaustic wax evangelist) is to be running his highly-rated one-day class in our studio. You will use heated scribes, wax irons and coloured waxes to produce abstract art as well as exploring natural subjects via this unusual (and ancient) artform.
Materials are provided and the class is suitable for beginners.

Encaustic Wax art with Phil Madley, Weds 22nd April & Saturday 2nd May, £70 per person including materials and lunch.

Find out more about Phil’s classes here:
http://www.vitreus-art.co.uk/classes/encaustic-wax.html

And for everyone interested in working in 3d, take a look at what you can achieve on Liz Dixon’s Textile Sculpture classes. Liz will demonstrate the use of textiles and Powertex resin to create unusual figures and sculptures. As with all our classes, materials are included, and so is fun!
Liz tells us that many of her students go on to make more sculptures at home after her classes!

Textile Sculpture with Liz Dixon – 20th June, £95 per person including all materials and lunch.

Find out more about Liz’s classes here:
http://www.vitreus-art.co.uk/classes/textile-sculpture.html

And for the budding stained glass artists, we’ve added some additional beginners class dates for both leading (aka garden panels) and foiling – the next foiling classes with places available are on 27th June and 25th July, leading on 4th April and 30th May.
These are all suitable for beginners and cost £125 including all materials and lunch.

Find out more about our stained glass classes here:
http://www.vitreus-art.co.uk/classes/stained-glass-classes.html

And for something glassy but a little different from our stained glass classes, how about learning the art of glass appliqué? Appliqué has been described as ‘see-through mosaic’ and is easy to do at home too.
Jenny will teach you how to use appliqué to make pictures in glass as well as decorate a mirror or a simple glass vase on these Tuesday classes.

Glass appliqué with Jenny Timms – 7th April and 5th May, £60 per person including all materials and lunch.

Find out more about our appliqué classes here:
http://www.vitreus-art.co.uk/classes/glass-applique.html

All our classes are limited to 6 places (5 for stained glass) so early booking is advisable.

Events coming up at Wakefield Country Courtyard

On 3rd April (Good Friday) we’ll be running free stained glass taster sessions for anyone who’d like to have a go at making a simple piece in the foiling method.
Each session lasts about 90 minutes. Get in touch to reserve a time slot soon as places are limited!

Also on Good Friday several of the other businesses at Wakefield Country Courtyard are running events.

Join the friendly folks at Upton Smokery for their tasting day – sample local deli produce, pies, cider and beer, smoked meats and fish and all sorts  of tempting goodies!

The ARTea Rooms are running afternoon tea with sandwiches, tea and cakes (as road-tested by Jenny and her Mum recently!) and pet owners can have their pets photographed by local photographer Barefoot Photographics at Bark N Purr pet boutique.
Have a look at the Wakefield Facebook page to see what’s going on!

Our gallery will be open 10-5pm on Good Friday, Saturday and Easter Monday, closed Easter Sunday.

A bit further ahead but definitely one to put in your diary – how about visiting some artists during Bucks Open Studios in June?
BOS is a 2-week-long festival of Art throughout Buckinghamshire during which we’ll be offering taster sessions, running classes and showing new stained glass plus a few surprises that we’ll hint at in future newsletters!

Last year’s BOS involved 500 artists exhibiting at 200 venues and this year’s season is expected to be bigger yet. This year’s event runs from June 6th – 21st and all exhibitions are free to enter.
There are no prizes for telling us that our gallery / studio is in Northants!

For more info go to:
http://www.bucksopenstudios.org.uk

New work in the gallery – Sophie Court Designs and Tlws Johnson

Continuing our policy of displaying work from the best local artists, we’ve just added cute animal and bird acrylic & paper framed art and jewellery from Sophie and amazing cast glass ammonites from nationally recognised Tlws Johnson.

All our work is affordable with prices starting at £5 and appealing to tastes from serious to frivolous!

Finally – we’re currently taking commissions for stained glass mirrors – just tell us what kind of shape, what size and colours you’d like and we’ll do the rest. Prices start from £50 for square mirrors.

We hope to see you at our gallery soon!

Best wishes,
Mike & Jenny

P.S. We’re delighted that the popularity of Poldark is generating new interest in Cornwall – we’ll be visiting some of the best locations seen on screen during our painting and photography courses in September.

Later in the series, some of our favourites – Gunwalloe (or Church Cove) and the Crown Mines at Botallack – feature in dramatic scenes (no plot spoilers here).

How do we know this?
Mike and photographer Stuart Grieve were scouting for locations for this year’s 3 day photography workshop while the series was being filmed and we bumped in to camera units at several of our chosen locations!

We have a few places left for both painting and photography in Porthleven in September – details here!
http://www.cornwallartschool.co.uk/index.html

Cornwall is open for business…and so is Vitreus Art

PORTHLEVEN_2782446aWe’ve always been a little suprised at how many people have visited Porthleven, Britain’s most southerly working harbour.
We’ve known the place and the fantastic scenery it nestles amongst for ages – first as holiday visitors far too many years ago to reveal, and more lately as the location for our 5-day stained glass courses and some of our new business opportunities too.

Now there are a whole lot more people who know something about the place. And what they know is probably that the little village has been battered by the recent storms.
There have been TV shows broadcast from the head of the harbour; Radio 4’s Today programme was presented from delightful ice-cream parlour and cafe Nauti But Ice; photos and videos of waves crashing over the roofs of houses by the harbour have been seen in every reputable newspaper and news website.

Like much of the south west, Porthleven and countless other lovely places have been pummelled and will need a lot of repair – just as soon as the storms have died down.

When the storms have dissipated and the sea is calmer, the fishermen will be out in their boats, the many excellent cafes, pubs, restaurants, independent shops and galleries will be open and, with a bit of luck, the sun will be warming our skins once more.

The British coastline with all its varied beauty is truly an asset for our country.
We invite anyone who’s seen photos of Cornwall receiving the full force of extreme tides and winds to make a point of supporting the people who live and work in places like Porthleven.
Get out and enjoy our natural and man-made heritage, feel that refreshing salty air on your skin, spend some of your holiday money in our own country where it will do us all some good!

In a future post I’ll write a little about the art holidays we run in Porthleven. Until then, our thoughts and best wishes are with anyone who’s been affected by this year’s storms and flooding.

Stay safe and warm!
Mike

Won’t get fooled again? Let’s hope not. And here’s a suggestion…

_72731124_72731123From the album ‘Who’s Next’ by The Who, the loosely political ‘revolution’s coming’ song written by Pete Townshend:

Pick up my guitar and play
Just like yesterday
Then I’ll get on my knees and pray
We don’t get fooled again
Don’t get fooled again

I’m not thinking of Heston Blumenthal who quoted the line in connection to the latest outbreak of norovirus at one of his restaurants. Especially because it wasn’t the first time, so clearly he was fooled again!
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-26006223

No, I’m thinking about Martin Lang, the business man who has discovered that the Chagall painting he bought is a £100,000 fake. and he may not get to keep it either, as according to French law it should be burned to prevent it from being passed off as genuine to another punter.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-26081005

My suggestion to Martin Lang (and anyone else who loves art)

Maybe Mr Lang isn’t too short of cash and he can afford to buy something else to fill that annoyingly vacant space on his wall?

Well, Martin (may I call you Martin?)….here’s my suggestion to avoid getting fooled again.

Buy a piece of art from an artist who’s still alive to vouch for the piece. Yes, I made it, yes it’s not a copy, yes, thanks for your patronage!

From my admittedly non-objective point of view quite a few benefits accrue when somneone buys a piece of art from a living artist. Add your own if I missed any:

  • You help an artist make a living, thus contributing to the viability of a community of creative people who havent harmed any nation’s finances, unlike some
  • You get something with a story behind it – you can tell people about this great artist you know
  • It might go up in value – and if you help to widen the audience for the artist’s work the worth of the piece may increase more
  • You show people you have not only great taste but also originality and that’s cool
  • Members of the opposite sex may find you more desirable because of your humanity (this is not guaranteed though)
  • You’ll be a genuine patron of the arts without having to pretend or be an oligarch
  • Above all – you’ll feel good about your decision, with little likelihood of buyer’s remorse and no chance you’ll have to burn it because the French government says so

So go out, look at some new art, maybe make an investment, and enjoy.
Will your purchase repay you generously over time?

You better you better you bet!
Apologies to Pete Towshend (again).

Happy hunting
Mike

 

 

 

Why do people buy art?

Change the way your space looks with art

Change the way your space looks with art

Here’s a question that might seem a bit odd…..why do people pay money to own art?

No doubt there are a lot of reasons – all sorts of people have all sorts of motivations for doing all sorts of things.
Maybe we can come up with some answers?

Here are some obvious ones:

  • I want to show my friends that I have good taste / am wealthy enough to buy art / am educated
  • I have walls that look empty and un-decorated
  • I like pictures of places I have been or things I have seen
  • I’m a collector and regard fine art as an investment

OK – these are pretty straightforward. But my preference for adding complexity means I can’t leave the question there!

In an earlier blog I discussed ‘costly signalling behaviour’ as a motivation and considered how art buying could be a form of that behaviour.
So how about:

  • I want to use my obvious ability to choose art and pay for it as evidence of my desirability as a mate and provider
  • Now my kids have grown up I want to have my house reflect my tastes, not other people’s’
  • I wanted to get someone I care about a gift that would really show them how I feel about them

I’m fairly sure Jenny and I (Vitreus Art) have sold work to people who were acting on all these motivations.
And we can add another couple, working in the field of stained glass –

  • I want to change the way my house looks using light
  • I want to create space between my and a neighbour’s house by obscuring a window or two

What other reasons can you think of to add?
Do leave a comment and let us know!