I was in Santa Fe last week doing some research on the gallery scene there. I am looking for new venues to exhibit my work, and I had sent a snail mail promo to many of the galleries in advance of my trip.
After following up when I arrived in town, a gallery asked to meet me and I was in the gallery speaking with the owner when a woman burst in the door with a shopping bag in hand.
"Are you Sharon?" she asked me. I replied, "No," and the gallery owner rose to meet her and asked if her could be of assistance. "I want to show my portfolio," the woman replied. To which the owner said he was busy, but she could come back another time.
She asked if she could leave the book, and he said, "Yes." She continued to push and ask him questions, without a care in the world that she had not only arrived without an appointment and was seeking to have her work reviewed on the spot. She seemed totally unaware of the fact that she had burst in and interrupted a meeting.
After she had left, the gallery owner and I were talking about their representing my work, and the subject of how the artist/gallery relationship is really a two way street. It is team effort. An artist who is gifted, but is not easy to work with can limit their options when it comes to gallery representation. While we were talking, the owner turned to me, and said," The woman who was in here earlier will never be represented by my gallery. I don't care how her work looks, or how good it is. I will never have her work here."
Clearly, her lack of professionalism closed his mind on her and her work. It is not just how we paint that galleries are looking for, it is how professional we are as well.
Next time you think about approaching a gallery, be considerate. Inquire about their portfolio review and submission requirements. Don't just show up unannounced and expect the gallery to look at your work.
Remember, it is not just your work that they are interested in. They want to know if you are professional, too.
Can they work with you?