Alright so hello again, this is the third video for artists who want to get into art galleries and it’s about being wanted.
If you remember, the goal is for you to have more time to spend on your art because you’re not trying to drive sales using the social media hamster wheel.
Thank-you so much for your comments so far, I’ll tackle these as we go along.
So, video one was all about discovering new galleries who fit you perfectly. Video two was about being discovered by them. This video is all about that moment when they click through to your website and decide whether you are interesting to them or not.
One comment I received was about being nervous whether they could put across their story to a gallery, and that hits the nail perfectly.
Imagine the moment when a gallery calls you and they say they’ve been looking at your website, they love what you do and they’d like to talk about diarising a show. All the work’s been done, there’s not really any selling involved, the sale is done, you’re just sorting out the details.
Let’s just put ourselves in a gallery’s shoes for a minute. They know what they want, let’s start there. If it’s a gallery that sells art, they’ll know their buyers and what they want. If it’s a public gallery dedicated to pure art, they’ll have an idea what works for them.
If it’s a gallery wanting to schedule an exhibition, they’ll be concerned you have enough work or are reliable enough to deliver, so seeing your previous shows should settle any concerns.
But the other side is they know they have to market you. If it’s a public gallery they may be paid by footfall, at least indirectly. Or maybe they make their salary by the commission they charge on every sale.
One way or another, they’d love some sort of ‘blockbuster’ exhibition even if it’s only at village or town scale.
Each gallery has its people who turn up regularly. But actually we know from email marketing that the most active people on a mailing list are the newcomers, so everyone with a mailing list wants a flow of new people.
So a gallery is going to love that you fit in with their programme, with their style. We pre-selected for that when we did our research in step 1 you’ll remember.
They will also love you for being able to bring in a new, connected bunch of people who may then become a fan of their gallery. Of course you also want to bring that gallery’s fans into your mailing list.
But the big deal is the story. Here’s their question: “what are we going to say to our people that would persuade them to come see this artist” (you)?
Galleries are marketers.
Obviously, you have your artist statement which usually makes sense to other artists and people in the art world.
Imagine, though, a newspaper wanting to write about your show. What’s the story?
There are some common story frameworks. For instance .. you weren’t going to be an artist, you were going to be a lawyer but you were dragged into it by demand for your talent.
How, actually, did you get here? Not the shopping list of this college and that whatever. What are the emotional waypoints? Namecheck your influences.
What other connections are there? Health stuff? Geography/culture. Any other interesting hobbies. Trauma you’ve lived through. Politics/gender.
What change do you want in the world? This is about values. You want to make people happy through your art? Great, let’s say so and get people who want the same thing to come to your show, or get people who need to be happier to come to your show.
The Big Story Narrative goes like this. Everything’s fine. A bad thing happens but you cope. Then it gets worse. And worse and now you’re out of control. You reach the bottom, you’re absolutely at the end of your tether and you resolve to try something you never knew was in you, something new, you dig deep to find new grit or you discover The Secret. It works. You fight your way back. Now you are back in society having discovered this new magic sword/part of yourself, you have a lesson for us all.
If you can fit yourself into that, brilliant.
See how all of this forms a cloud of possibility? Lots of things for a journalist to ask about, lots of angles for the gallery to play with when marketing you.
Notice as well, I’m not prioritising the actual art. We’re talking about the effect of your art on others.
The other thing about all this is it’s great SEO copy (it helps you get found in online search).
When I went bust, I felt sad and I called the Bankrupt’s Association to ask whether they kept a list of successful, inspiring people who had gone bust. They had no clue why I was even asking.
But in that moment, I’d have loved to know that this inspiring artist or that amazing songwriter had been through what I was going through. It’s a connection.
So if you’re plagued by toenail fungus, let’s hear it. (That’s a joke btw.)
Any gallery stumbling on an artist that matched their shtick and who had any of this addressed, even partially, would be begging you to work with them because half the work is done, all they have to do is communicate it.
What do we know about comedian Harry Hill (assuming you’re in the UK)? He was a medical doctor previously, right? We all know that, these things stick.
Alright, so let’s recap. You’ve found a load of new galleries that you’d love to work with. You’ve made yourself discoverable to them. And now, when they do discover you, they’ll love what they find. Ultimately, you’ll have galleries selling your work which means you can spend more time doing the art, which is .. what you wanted in the first place.
I’m not saying galleries are perfect. Galleries obviously like you to do work that sells so sometimes they can constrain you a little, but the rockstar lifecycle might help with that. (Just quickly: it’s like recording and touring an album then resting. This show is work on a theme, buy it now, because the next time you see me, I’ll be doing something different. It plays on scarcity and connection.)
And you’ll still want to sell direct. Well great news, the things you change about your website that make galleries want you, that will encourage direct sales too so it’s all good.
I hope these videos have given you some great ideas about how to find great galleries and engineer things so they discover and desire you.
There is one more video to come because actually there’s another angle to this and you’re going to love it. Plus, I’ve quite an unusual offer in case you want me to work with you so you get discovered by galleries. You’ll benefit most by opening that email straight away because there’s a big early adopter discount. Remember I said that I built some tools that can help with this and that will save you some of the legwork? Well, more on that in the next video.
Alright, I have to go and work on my toenail fungus, I’ll see you in the next video.