05/28/2004: "Putting on your first Exhibit"
Stacy had some questions in the comment section of the last post but I thought I'd make my reply a new post. She is in charge of hanging the pieces and doing the labels for her first show, which is a group show she'll have several pieces in as well. She wanted to know what to include on the labels, she has:
She also wanted advice about business cards, commissions, and pricing. (you can read the comments from last post if you want to see the whole enchilada).
I'll just mention how I normally do things but i could be doing it wrong so anyone else feel free to correct me. Anyway, I like to have the titles mounted on foam core...i just think it looks more professional but I can't remember how they do it at the Empire Gallery. An easier way to do it is just have them printed out on clear contact paper that you just peel and stick on the wall.
The only thing missing from your title list is the dimension of the pieces.
If you wanted to have business cards you can buy Avery business cards and just print out some simple ones, your name, and contact information, the type of work you do, and if you want to do commissions, then put that on there too. Ideally you'll have a picture of one of your pieces on there but since you're stretched for time, just simple black text on white business cards is fine.
I wouldn't build up too many expectations about doing commissions from a show. I mean, it could happen but it's never happened to me. I've had people contact me after a show, sometimes months later, wanting to commission a piece but I've never been approached about it at an opening, but I've only started doing commissions this year so I never mentioned it or had it on any promo literature so who knows.
As for pricing, even though you'd like to have the buyer set the price, I think you should list a price on it; a lot of people are too intimidated to ask. Check out this good article on Pricing Your Art Realistically. It's a website called artbusiness.com and has lots of other helpful advice you might want to try reading this week...like writing an artist statement etc. If you really wanted to you could print (negotiable) under the price, to let people know you're flexible in your pricing but I wouldn't really recommend that.
Anyway, I really hope you sell some work but don't be discouraged if you don't (easier said than done). Selling work as an "emerging" artist depends on a lot of factors. Certain kinds of paintings seem to fly off the walls, sometimes there is a feeding frenzy type mentality, if pieces are selling people want to buy one more than if they aren't. The whole law of supply and demand.
Plus, some artists can really work a room, go up to people, talk to them about the pieces, put them at ease etc. Iím not good at that. I usually just get drunk and (as Iíve mentioned many times before) hide in the bathroom as much as possible. That is NOT the right way to sell work, particularly at a gallery like the Empire, where an attendant isnít going to be walking around making pitches to people.
OK, itís late and Iím tired. Iíll leave any other advice up to othersÖanything Iím forgetting. Good luck by the way, I would come to the opening but next Friday Iíll still be in Boise. You'll have to let me know how it goes.