Your Online Portfolio--What Not to Do with It

21 Aug 2012

Your website can be a terrific online portfolio. But there are definitely ways to not use your website when marketing art. An initial temptation for many artists is to find as many gallery e-mail addresses as they can and send out their website information out to all of them via e-mail. Sounds great! Easy, fast, convenient, free--they write an innocuous little note along the lines of "Dear Gallery Director, attached please find the address to my website," and just wait for the responses to roll in.

Galleries are awash with unsolicited requests from artists who want to be represented. Your time is precious, and it's not worth sending out mass e-mailings that will be lost in the waters. Opalescent Sea by Steve Henderson of  Steve Henderson Fine Art.
Galleries are awash with unsolicited requests from artists who want to be represented. Your time is precious, and it's not worth sending out mass e-mailings that will be lost in the waters. Opalescent Sea by Steve Henderson, oil on canvas. Courtesy Steve Henderson Fine Art. 
It's a long wait. Steve and I have always joked that by the time we figure out a way to do something, millions of people have already been doing it, and they're on their way to doing something else. That's why you don't find on us on the floors of the New York Stock Exchange.

On face value, sending your web address of your oil paintings or drawings to a series of unknown gallery directors does sound easy, fast, convenient, and free. But how many other artists do you think are doing this as well? Galleries and art business representatives get a lot of unsolicited submissions, via e-mail, mail, phone, or in person, and there is only so much room on their walls. They can also spot a "mass mailing" and like it about as much as you do in your own e-mail inbox.

Before you waste your time, or theirs, look up the gallery's website and see if they have a submission process. If there is no Submissions or For Artists section, look under Contact or Frequently Asked Questions. It is highly likely that somewhere they will address this issue, if only to say, "We are not accepting submissions at this time."

If this little sentence is there, have a cup of tea and a cookie with the time you save by not contacting the gallery. If it isn't, and there is a gallery submission process, then it is probably a good idea to follow it exactly.

--Carolyn


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