May 31: Panel Discussion • Managing Your Art Career

(by Mitch Kahn & Beth Kurtz)

With Managing Your Art Career, second in a well-attended series of panel discussions produced by the Program Committee, Fine Art Connoisseur editor Peter Trippi returned to SCNY, accompanied by 4 gallery owners, 1 internet auction specialist and 1 artist, to talk about various strategies and tools that artists can use to promote their careers as well as effective ways to seek out and engage with gallery owners in today’s evolving art markets.

THE PANEL (Seated L-R)

Denise Bibro has exhibited works of a diverse group of contemporary artists in corporate and alternative spaces since 1980. After showcasing work at her art salon in Union Square, she opened a gallery in SoHo in 1987, moving to its current Chelsea location in 1997.

George Billis is President of two successful art galleries and the Red Dot Art Fair; based in New York, Los Angeles and Miami.

Shawna Brickley is Specialist for Modern and Impressionist Art at artnet Auctions, a division of artnet Worldwide, a round-the-clock auction site with offices in Berlin, Paris, New York and London.

Kim Foster opened her gallery in SoHo in 1994. She was among the first to migrate to the Chelsea art district in 1998.

Madelyn Jordon is director and owner of Madelyn Jordon Fine Art in Westchester County, New York.

David Jon Kassan, born in Little Rock, Arkansas, is a contemporary painter best known for his life-size realistic portraits.

MODERATOR (Standing):

Peter Trippi is editor of Fine Art Connoisseur, the bi-monthly magazine that serves collectors of historic and representational painting, sculpture, drawing and prints. He is also president of Projects in 19th Century Art, Inc., the firm he established to pursue a range of research, writing and curating opportunities.

DISCUSSION HIGHLIGHTS:

Know a gallery’s taste and aesthetic before submitting your work. Visit often and get to know the staff.

 Do not bring your portfolio to a gallery during a reception for another artist.

 Do not even think about bringing your portfolio to a gallery on a Saturday (busiest day of the week).

 Do not approach an art fair organizer or dealer at an art fair (they are far too busy attending to the event).

 Do not bring original work to a gallery unless it is requested.

BEST WAYS TO PRESENT YOUR WORK TO A GALLERY:

 CD: Send images of selected works on CD, accompanied by color printouts and bio. Submit good quality photos of your work.

 Email: Send an email (always include an image at the top) with links to your website and any important press notices.

 Website: A good website is important.

 Pricing: Include retail pricing

WHAT NOT TO EXPECT:

 Galleries will not return materials that have been submitted • consider them disposable.

• Galleries will not respond unless they are definitely interested • do not follow up with phone calls or letters.

OTHER TOOLS:

• Analog: Networking and shmoozing are powerful tools. Make contacts through friends and other artists.

Digital: Facebook, Instagram and Constant Contact are good starting points.

REGIONS:

Consider regions of the country that have a strong market for your style of work. The large markets of New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Santa Fe may appear to be the most desirable but smaller cities may prove more successful, especially early on.

Only 1-2% of all artists make a living from their work.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Art in America issue #14 has an article with gallery info and email addresses.  

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Photos: Mitch Kahn and Dan Dillon

One comment on “May 31: Panel Discussion • Managing Your Art Career

  1. LtCol Murphy says:

    What a great day for the Navy, Coast Guard and Marine Corps to get to enjoy the fine art and hospitality of the Salmagundians! Thanks for taking such good care of your servicemembers. This was truly an opportunity they will remember when looking fondly back on their NYC experience. Thanks again!

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