One of the first things that I’d recommend for an artist when they’re contacting a gallery for the first time is to never do it cold. Don’t just walk in off the street and expect that the gallery director will want to discuss your work with you. I’m amazed at how many artists do this on impulse, most likely because they don’t know better.
To give you a good example of this, I’ll let you in on an experience I had with my first trip to New York. I had armed myself with approximately 100 catalogues from a previous recent exhibition on his first trip. It comprised most of the weight in my suitcase and around one third of the space. I saw myself as being highly organized and ready to take the Big Apple by storm.
The daily walk through the gallery regions in New York comprised of myself with my portfolio of large-scale prints of my work and my trusty catalogues. I don’t know why I suddenly imagined New York to be any different from any other place on earth, with the well-known gallery edict, that artists make appointments before they drop off their material and before they ask to see the director. I think I just got caught up in the whole excitement of it all and had blindfolds on when it came to proper standard practice.
So here I was going from gallery to gallery from Soho to Chelsea to Tribeca and Uptown, delivering my catalogues and asking if it was possible to have a chat with a director. In fact most galleries were remarkably friendly and some even went as far as to direct me to another gallery or a colleague of theirs, with whom they thought my work would fit.
But to be honest it was all an uphill battle, because I simply had not planned ahead to focus my attention on a handful of chosen galleries who had expressed interest in my work and a desire to want to meet me, as a result of my contacting them and others prior to my visit.
Although I did end up having some very good contacts to being referred by the galleries that were kind enough to do so, I largely wasted a good amount of time traipsing around New York with a heavy bag of valuable catalogues and marketing material which were largely wasted.