So, as you know I started calling myself an artist, and I and everyone else started to take me more seriously. I was getting in a few juried shows around town locally, and putting up my art on the windows of abandoned store fronts and inside bathroom stalls with the Rebel Artist Collective.
I had my sink by then and I was painting a lot more. I needed to get focused and make some kind of move... I read the papers for any new galleries or opportunities, and I kept reading books about art marketing.. I felt like I was getting ready for a show even though I had none on the horizon, but I was clearly painting a body of work. But, how would I get this work out there- to a gallery, a coffee shop, to a buyer...
First Move: I took some pictures of my work with the help of my husband( yes, folks you are going to need some help- so ask for it) and made little portfolios. I was still going the old school route so we used slide film and we would just prop the work outside to get good light. I had the slides made into prints and hand cropped out everything in the background with a paper cutter. I went to the dollar store and bought these small photo albums, the coolest ones I could find. I put my work in them with labels telling the size, medium, year, and price. I glued one of my home made business cards to the front. Shazam! I then had about 10 mini portfolios that I could whip out anywhere to show people my work.
So, the message here is...1) they weren't the best pictures and they weren't done with a fancy digital camera ( but they didn't have a cat or tree in the background either) 2) I didn't spend money on nice black portfolio- I spent a buck and I made it work the best I could. 3) It provided easy, instant access to my work for whoever was interested 4)I provided my contact information in the book in case I left it with someone. 5)It was cheap enough for me to make that if I didn't get it back that was fine.
I also typed up my resume, and my statement and gave that out with the book. One day, I went to Tulsa to visit some galleries, and feeling really brave,I offered up my little homespun book to several of them. Some galleries thought the prices were too low, some weren't looking for artists to represent, and then one asked if they could keep my book on file....
Several months later the gallery that kept my book on file sent me a letter saying that my request for a solo show had been granted and they were looking forward to showing my work!!
I didn't know that I had even asked for a show- but I was thrilled beyond reason. So, pull your work together anyway you can and go for it. Risk making some mistakes.
Did I make some mistakes... Yes- dropping in on a gallery and pedaling your wares is a big no-no. Do them and yourself a favor and call first, introduce yourself, and ask them if they are accepting submissions to their gallery. This will make you stand out from all the artists who wander in with a portfolio or an actual painting for the gallery owners to look at.
Does it always have to be a CD of images or a slick presentation to get noticed? No, present your work the way only you can, to the best of your ability, and clearly labeled with your contact information, and most importantly hold your head up high and call first! You can do this!