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Working as an Artist – galleries

Part of doing the whole Fine Art Way thing is to realise that I need to be working as an artist if I want people to take me seriously. I haven’t really worked as an artist for a long time, and I think it is time to get back to it. One aspect of that is approaching galleries.

Working as an Artist – galleries

Part of being an artist, I suppose is the idea of finding places to exhibit. Unfortunately, that isn’t as easy as you might think.

However, that could all depend on where you are in the world as well. From what I’ve been learning it seems that Melbourne is one of the hardest places. When you look around at the galleries here photography is quite under-represented. Not to mention photography that doesn’t include people. It has been quite amazing looking around to see what people do and show here. I certainly don’t fit in.

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Approaching Galleries

I think we all know that galleries can be really snobby and have diva attitudes. The ordinary person shouldn’t even consider approaching them.

Seriously, I kid you not. There is something quite horrible about them at times. You have to wonder about their approach. As artists, we might also be buyers and there are quite a few galleries I would never go to now.

One of the things that I have been finding a lot is when you send inquiries to them and ask questions, you don’t get any responses. It makes it so hard as an artist trying to find information when the galleries are that rude.

I approached Red Gallery in North Fitzroy here. At first, they responded, but when I answered back with some images and information about me, I never heard from them again. Okay, I get they may not be interested in my work, but do they have to be so rude?

It doesn’t take much to respond with an email to say yes or no.

Then I emailed the gallery ELEVEN40,  supposedly a dedicated photography gallery. I wasn’t approaching them as an artist that wanted to exhibit, but more as someone who was trying to gather information to share with you. Again, I never heard anything back. I even tried sending a second email, but again, silence.

How do you fight that kind of thing? I just can’t help thinking how rude it is.

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Working around Galleries

I have found a gallery that wants to work with me, thankfully, but I have to wonder if galleries are starting to become obsolete to us. Do we really need them? Or do we need to find a different way to work with them.

Finding other places to showcase our work is the next step for me. I’m talking to some people now about other possibilities. I will share more in the future.

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Finding a new direction

That is where I am at now. I need to start thinking outside the box to see where I can go from here. As things develop I do plan on sharing with you what is happening.

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34 Responses

  1. Sue

    Hi Leanne,

    We have given up…. for the moment…. trying to take an outstanding photo good enough for a wall in our
    new home. We bought one lovely Tasmanian scene which is a limited edition print of
    a pencil drawing, and we are grateful that we can afford the print… and just
    love it. Then we searched for one more outstanding local photograph and
    thought we had found it….Tree on a rock, Binalong Bay. Yours! Perfect! Tantalizingly close but not sure how to make the purchase, or how to contact you. For us public the online stores are a dead easy way to shop. Just so you know, in our search for local scenes your Binalong Bay photographs are our favourites. Really beautiful.

  2. Marketing Clouds

    Hi Leanne,
    I’m visiting the first time on your blog platform, you’re the best fine art photographer. I viewed all your challenges, it’s amazing, continue with your creative photographic ideas and the best of luck. Visit the galleries of famous artists here like JJ adams, Alex Rose and others. Alison Johnson

  3. Hi Leanne. Your work is striking. Galleries are in a tough spot. They only have so much “real estate” on which to hang art, and they receive many many inquiries. Have you considered engaging an agent to help gain entree? Agents with their own connections can be indispensable in the art world just as in publishing. Keep up the good work. Best, Babsje

  4. Sorry to hear how rude people can be Leanne .. they never cease to amaze me! It is so easy to reply, not a hardship at all. Best of luck with your endeavours …

  5. This is a really interesting topic. I leave in Sydney and I believe that in here it’s not different than in Melbourne, but I never tried. I am convinced that people still buy art for their walls. Probably today with faster and faster Internet connections they buy online?

    • I don’t understand the market at all, I think. I’m trying to study it more now. I think people still do as well, we all like something on our walls. I’m not sure about the online though. If that’s true, then perhaps it is really true and people are not interested in my work.

    • You work is amazing Leanne!
      I never tried to sell my photos, so I’m no expert. What I think I know though is that in general, selling online is not as easy as uploading products on an online store, but what is certain is that in the last decade the traditional art market has seen little growth, while Internet transactions and online shops have reshaped many industries. Art included.

    • Thank you Stefano.
      You are right selling online is not easy, and the art world has changed so much over the last 10 to 20 years. People don’t have the money to invest in art anymore, the golden days of the 80’s and 90’s are definitely gone. Now it is time to work out how to get past all that.

  6. Amazing photos. Thanks for sharing them and also for sharing your thoughts. Good luck with your quest to showcase your photos. They deserve to be seen.

  7. I was talking with a world famous photographer a couple weeks ago about this same topic. He said that until he had a huge following on social media, no gallery wanted to talk to him either. It was after he broke 200,000 followers that galleries were willing to showcase his work. That said, I don’t think this is just a problem in your area. I believe it is global and the way people are viewing art is changing as a result. So much is viewed on a digital screen, be it a SmartPhone, TV, or laptop. We take more photos than ever before, but less and less are printed out and shared.

    • That’s interesting Darrell, I asked a gallery once and they said it didn’t make any difference to them, so who knows. I think people are changing the way they do it, but people still want to put work on their walls, at least I hope they do. I want to get into the printing. Thank you Darrell.

    • Leanne, yes some people do. But the number of people putting prints on the walls is decreasing, at least here in the US. I am sure every gallery is different in how they approach things. I have even seen a gallery that charges the artist a monthly fee to host their work. If you are interested I will sent over the information, it is a very unique concept.

    • I don’t know that people are not buying art for their walls, but I think they are investing in art as they did say 10 or 20 years ago. That is different. People still want nice images for their walls, what they buy has perhaps changed. It is a changing world, which is what I was trying to say, that maybe we have to begin to understand how we can survive in it.

  8. In the United States here galleries can be just as rude. Some give very restrictive conditions on their websites about approaching them, even the time of the year or month when they “might” consider a new artist. Others demand a list of your sales for the past year or demonstration that you crank out tons of work per week.

    Exhibits, however, are plentiful, at least here in the Southeast. From large events run by museums to smaller local shows at community centers and such, especially in connection with festivals. We also have lively art organizations, including photography clubs, that have regular public exhibits. Smaller towns seem more enthusiastic. Galleries in touristy places seem more receptive than those in high-rent districts.

    • It must be something about galleries. I understand that they get a lot of people making inquiries, but still, they don’t have to be rude about it.

      Yeah, I don’t know what the answer is, I thought if my work was different it would make a difference, but apparently, it doesn’t. Thank you Ludwig, I answered your email as well.

  9. You remind me of my artist’s block as a painter. I exhibited and sold professionally for about 20 years. It was the galleries that did me in. One day I just could not paint. The block was because I could not face going to sell my work to the galleries any more. I had been making my living as a fine artist. They (every gallery I sold at in NYC) were so cruel to me every time even though my work sold well. I can no longer paint. I do photography now, but I can never face going to another gallery, so no one buys anything.

    • I have to admit, I’m starting to wonder if there is a way to work around the whole gallery stuff. Do we really need them? I’m sorry to hear how it worked out for you, it really doesn’t make sense.

    • Gallery owners are profit oriented. Every time they try to cut the price when they buy by putting down the work and claiming it won’t sell well. Every time an argument. I find out later what they bought for $200 they sold for $5000.

    • That doesn’t happen here, Galleries don’t buy work like that, they sell it and take a commission.

  10. Cushla Moorhead

    It is much the same here in New Zealand. A friend has taken some of my work to Auckland art Galleries but the answer there has been we like the work but don’t do photography. At present I exhibit my images and my art at shows like the Christcurch Art show and the NZ art show in Wellington. Thjese shows are on over a long weekend with lots of types of artists and lots of people too.

Conversation is always encouraged.

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