Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Gallery Relationships: Diane Salamon

In preparation for our Artist Survival Kit workshop, “Expanding your Horizons: Finding New Markets for your Art ,” on Saturday, October 23, 2010, several artists who show regularly in venues outside Oklahoma will discuss their galleries, how they built the relationships and tips for other artists. 

Diane Salamon

Diane Salamon, Trio, Acrylic, 12"x12"
Q: Where are a few of your favorite galleries you have shown, especially outside Oklahoma?

Salamon: The favorite place I have shown outside of Oklahoma is Eva Reynolds Fine Art in Kansas City.   Within Oklahoma I enjoyed my time in Color Connection Gallery, but have preferred showing at Pickard Art Gallery in Oklahoma City.   As far as museum shows, Springfield Art Museum in Springfield, MO, Gilcrease Museum and Philbrook Museum have all been good experiences.   Leslie Powell in Lawton is another venue that was a positive experience for me.   

Q: Tell us about your most positive gallery relationships, what made them good? 

Salamon: I have a very positive relationship with both the galleries that represent me at the moment.    I think both dealers understand and respect my work.   We are honest with each other and support each other.   The artist/dealer relationship needs to be one where both sides understand and work together.  Operating a gallery is not easy or inexpensive (especially in this economy), and artists need to keep this in mind.  There also needs to be patience on the part of the artist and owner.   It takes time to develop a clientele.    Both reps have been very helpful in letting me know their clients' response to my work and both have encouraged me to expect a bright future.  

Q: How did you initially find gallery representation and/or seek galleries outside of your community?

Salamon: I tried several methods.   What did not work was sending out portfolios without visiting the gallery.   What did work was putting together a portfolio and presenting them in person to the gallery.    I visited the galleries first, made notes and then called for an appointment to bring in my portfolio.   I have also walked in with portfolios and presented them without making an appointment.   This method is not as effective.   I think the gallery wants to know they have been selected for a reason and that you are not just walking in willing to show anywhere. 

Diane Salamon, Art Thought 10, Acrylic, 20"x16"
Q: What advice would you give to artists about committing to a gallery or gallery show?

Salamon: Don't be afraid to stretch your abilities.    I have found I can do more than I think I can.   That being said, make certain you follow through with what you promise.   Don't approach someone for a show until you have at least 10 works ready.   If you are approaching a gallery for representation, you need at least 20 works.   One mistake I made was showing works to galleries that were from different series.    It made me look inconsistent, when in fact each of my series are very consistent.    The gallery doesn't want to guess what you might exhibit.   I have found that later the dealer wants to see what else you have done, but the initial presentation needs to be very consistent.   Once you have committed to the gallery make it clear to your clients that the gallery owner is your representative.   And, don't sell your work at a discount from your studio--the pricing needs to be consistent.   Also, don't price your work too low or too high.   Figure out a method to price your work that makes sense.    I see artists charging different amounts for the same size painting.   This is confusing to the buyer and makes the artist look uncertain about the value of their work.   As you start selling, the pricing becomes easier.   Also, clients expect to see your work gradually get more expensive, so raising your prices every year or so is wise.  Don't be upset if the gallery doesn't want to show every new painting you bring in.   The gallery has space limitations, and their wall space costs them money.    I take several new paintings at a time and let the dealer pick what they want to place in their inventory. 

The Artist Survival Kit workshop, “Expanding your Horizons: Finding New Markets for your Art ,” is Saturday, October 23, 2010
; 1-4 pm at
Mainsite Contemporary Art Gallery, 122 E Main St in Norman (map).  This panel discussion will cover the basics of how a professional gallery relationship works, as well as tips for approaching galleries and exhibiting your artwork out-of-state. Panelists include artists Jonathan Hils and Kate Rivers, as well as gallery owner Joy Reed Belt. See the Artist Survival Kit page to register. 

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