Monday, December 22

Ask binglish

Over the past year I've made many new friends through my art. We ask questions and discuss how we can continue to better ourselves and our art. Here is what my friend Michelle was wondering...

Q. I have always wondered how you actually approach cafe's and restaurants etc about them hanging your art... do you call, write, or pay them a visit with samples?

A. Think about it like someone coming over to your house. How would you feel if a stranger showed up on the doorstep asking for something? We usually would turn them away. Even when solicitors call on the phone I want to hang up! So what I would suggest is to first visit the venue you want to show in, make sure your artwork would even "fit in" with the space. If so, ask for the contact information of the person in charge of booking the artists. Then send an email with links to your work. If that doesn't seem to work, do it again. Be persistent, but not annoying. Most of the time when we receive emails from someone we don't know, we put it off... but a friendly reminder will hopefully jog their memory. Another sad truth... most of the time venues known for hanging art are booked up at least a year in advance. That's so long! Be ready to get on a waiting list, then improve your art 10x during the year to show your best by the time your turn comes around.

Q. How do people get their art into galleries... it sounds like its very difficult... is there a certain way you have to do things? certain size paintings? Certain theme or a collection of similar works required?

A. Wow that's a whole lot of questions in one. First thing I had to realize when it came to galleries... I am competing with professionals. Just because I painted 20 or even 50 paintings, artists showing in galleries have painted 10x as many. Professionalism is key. Know who you are as an artist, know what you like/dislike. For example, I started painting a year ago, I thought I knew -- but really had no idea. Here are a few things I've learned:

  • Considering my work space, I can't work with oils (too messy) but I like them better than acrylics.
  • Use professional materials, they look and can be managed so much better! That means stop buying $0.97 acrylics from Walmart!
  • Do work that you know you'll enjoy after the 100th time you've done it. There is no use making art that you don't like making. It's so important to be true to yourself!
Back to the question... go to galleries to see what they are showing, if you fit in join their mailing list and see if they ever have a "call for artists". Email the curator and ask questions about their policies for accepting new artists. Most galleries now view artist's work digitally from CDs that have been submitted. So get together your collection with quality photographs and make a slideshow including names, prices, and sizes. Be organized. Be professional. Be yourself.

Q. What do you use to package your art to send it? Cardboard? Wood frames? And what carrier is the best for sending canvases? UPS? Fedex?

A. You can use bubble wrap and boxes. Always brace a print or photograph with cardboard/foam board. United States Postal Service (USPS) is cheapest. You can even order boxes from them at and get them for FREE! Package your art as if you were receiving it. Take care of it as if it belongs to a museum.

Thanks Michelle for all the great questions! If you have any questions and want to be more than a living room artist send me an email at

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