My first experience of exhibiting my work

I thought I would write a little follow up jounal after some of my paintings had recently been included within an exhibition. I hope that some of my experience will provide a few pointers for those who by design or accident find themselves venturing into the world of galleries, exhibitions and, dare I say, trying to pursuade people to part with hard earned money for one of your works. I think my experience is equally applicable whatever type of artist you may be.

I was and still am extremely excited about my first experience and breaking my duck was probably as important as anything but I also have one or two words of warning if you actually want to sell anything. It is tempting to think that the hardest bit is getting you work in an exhibition and everything else will take care of itself but I think that is only half true. The exhibition I was in was an open exhibition within a gallery and what I didn’t really think about was what sort of work would be in the exhibition and what sort or clientelle would come to the gallery. When I went to see all the works mine kind of stuck out like a sore thumb for lots of reasons. My work is generally abstract in nature and whilst there was some abstract work in the exhibition there was also an awful lot of landscapes and flower paintings. What struck me most, however, was the colour, so many of the other pieces used a muted pallette and in comparison my work looked like a bunch of 6 year olds had gone mental with a pack of crayons. This could have been to my advantage but I am not convinced the sort of people who went to the gallery would necessarily find my work to their taste and I needed to do a dam site more work myself to get people in to see the work..

If I sound bitter, believe me I am not and it was still a wonderful experience for me and taught me some new skills, not least how to prep a painting properly for an exhibition. I guess, what I am saying is if you are seriously thinking about exhibiting and trying to sell your work it is not just about getting your work into a gallery, it is about getting your work into the right gallery, do your research properly, go and see an exhibition at the gallery first and see if it fits your work.

On a positive note I have now followed my own advice and a very talented friend of mine called Matt Best and I will be taking over the Seven Arts Centre in Chapel Allerton, Leeds during July to exhibit our work. This has only just been agreed, so I will post more details when I have them and when the promotional material is done.

Nathan

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