#1. During the five years that I ran Presentation House Art Gallery the best and worst part of my job was choosing the artists to exhibit. Often that was a very hard decision to make. For every artist I could show, I had to say “No” to, perhaps ten artists.
Once when I was presented with a surfeit of equally gifted artists that had to be winnowed down to a more manageable number, I consulted an esteemed curator for advice. She advised me to ask each person, “What are some of the ideas you want to pursue in your future work/exhibitions?”
Curators and commercial gallery owners want to invest their time and resources in artists who have a future and so the question was an apt one. It became a very effective way for me to assess the seriousness of the artist’s commitment to their career as well as the strength of their creative vision.
If you secure an interview with a significant gatekeeper, I suggest you go with your future in mind and not just the immediate opportunity that the interview presents.
#2. Do you have a healthy mailing list? Are you thinking of organizing a pre-Christmas sale? If you have a healthy mailing list, you should be! And if you are, are you wondering whom to invite to share the work and the expenses?
The answer to that last question is easy: Other artists with mailing lists as healthy as yours. That is more important than a consideration of complimentary media or technique when you are choosing sale or show partners.
#3. A really great way to assess and improve your artist statement is easy. Get online and start viewing artist websites (a great resource for this is artistsincanada.com) in order to find three-to-five artists with fabulous artist statements—statements that make you itch to see the work. Then, write to the artists whose statements you admire and tell them why you love their statements. Then ask them if they would take a few minutes to review your statement and attach it. The beauty of this exercise is that the artists you ask are truly objective. They will tell the truth, plus your love of their statement speaks to their writing talent. And, you may develop ongoing peer exchange services with one or more of the artists you consult.