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The Art Conference: From starving artist to rising star

Today’s blog is for all the fellow, not yet world famous but extremely talented, artists out there. The ones that are just like me trying to establish their ‘brand’ in the art world and of course everyone else interested πŸ™‚

Yesterday I attended ‘The Art Conference’ at The Hoxton in Shoreditch, London. It was a great night, with lots of new insights and interesting speakers. On the panel were Calum Hall Director Creative Debuts, Eleni Duke Director Curious Duke Gallery and Craig Keenan who is a Printmaker & Photographer.
The main discussion was around breaking into and surviving the contemporary art market, followed by the the announcement of The Secret Art Prize winner of 2017 and lots of free drinks (always a plus). The winning artist Michelle McKinney – congratulations! – gets the opportunity to exhibit at the Moniker Art Fair!!

As we already live in an era where everyone has to deal with information overload, I won’t bore you with every single detail discussedΒ last night, but I felt obliged to share (sharing is caring!) the expert tips and tricks that either opened my eyes or confirmed me being on the right track. I hope reading this blog has the same effect on you πŸ™‚

Are you ready for it? There we go:
– Make sure to get your work out there whenever and wherever you can! Even if this means displaying your work in coffee shops, bars and restaurants (but do make sure to insure your work as there are often drunken people around..). You never know when that super amazing curator walks in for his or her morning coffee and croissant!
– Even though you are emotionally attached to your work, don’t price your work too low as you won’t be taken seriously by professionals. On the other hand, don’t price your work too high! Especially as a starting artist, it is better to start low and prize your way up slowly (I forgot why, but I feel it is very important to keep this in mind!). Parties such as Creative Debuts and Gallery owners are more than happy to help you figure out how to best price your work, so make use of it!
– Enter prizes, such as The Secret Art Prize. Your work will be exposed to audiences that are hard to approach yourself.
– Try to understand what type of artist you want to become, would you like to be represented by galleries, represent yourself or a mixture? Once you’ve got that clear you have a better understanding of how to move forward and which direction to take.
– In case you want to be represented by galleries make sure that they make all the effort in the world to sell your paintings. How? By working with galleries that are actually interested in you, galleries that don’t ask for a large sum of money upfront but work with commissions. They have to work for their money, get to know you as artist to not only sell your paintings but you as a brand backed up with a personal story.
– Be open and honest with the people you are working. This was the main recommendation from Eleni Duke who owns Curious Duke Gallery. She feels it is important to ask questions and share your plans when establishing or maintain a relationship with a gallery. A gallery can only help you achieve your future ambitions if you are open and honest.
– Galleries and curators are busy people. They might be polite when you walk in with your portfolio, but they rather have you send it to them via email. This way they can take a look at your work in their own time and pay better attention to it. If interested they will invite you for a meeting or they will tell you what other galleries might be interesting to look at. Be aware, when sending out emails to galleries make sure to do your research, take the personal approach (no ‘dear gallery’). Don’t waste your and the galleries time by introducing yourself to a gallery that does not represent artists like yourself, you need find the perfect match! Very obvious but always a good thing to remember.
– DREAM BIG – if you believe in it yourself, you can make it work. There are some very shitty artist out there still making a lot of money (not my words!), so just keep going!

And of course lots more.. but for today’s blog I will stick to this!

If you feel that this was useful and should be read my more artists, please share, like and comment to get it out there πŸ™‚

Lots of love,
Anne-Claire