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Week 5: Fine-tune an artistic target, do your research, and act based on your findings.

This week’s project is more open ended than previous ones, but I believe it is very useful method that can work for almost anyone.

It is not uncommon to meet an artist who loves to make art, spends countless hours in the studio, and dreams of one day having their art displayed in a big public gallery. Or maybe to see their work sell in a big commercial gallery. Or perhaps on a beautiful website that gets tons of hits. The only flaw in this plan is that there is no plan.

Unfortunately, artists are not likely to be “discovered” based solely on their private artistic talent. For example, it usually takes many exhibition opportunities before an artist would be considered for a solo exhibition at a public or private gallery, and even then the competition is very stiff. There is no doubt that a monumental amount of effort goes into any artistic career, and thus this week’s project is meant to harness your potential and get maximum rewards for your effort. The project this week is to fine tune your artistic target(s), do some heavy research, and then put that hard work to use for you.

To clarify what I mean by this, let’s use an example. Let’s say you decide that you want very much to have your work shown at the Contemporary Art Gallery in Vancouver. Where do you start? What information do you need? Begin by asking yourself as many questions as you can about the Contemporary Art Gallery and what artists they choose to show.

  • Who are the other artists that show at the Contemporary Art Gallery?
  • Where did they go to school?
  • What other shows have they had?
  • Are they represented by a gallery or dealer or are they independent?
  • Where are they from? (Canadian / other?)
  • Does the Contemporary Art Gallery have a mandate?
  • Do they have a curatorial prerogative?
  • Who curates the shows?
  • Do they accept submissions?
Once you ask these questions, you can start gathering answers. Some ideas for getting further information would be:
  • contacting the Contemporary Art Gallery
  • reading all information on their website
  • contacting artists who have shown at the gallery (many artists have email addresses on their websites, or you could try through their galleries)
  • looking at the CVs and exhibition history of artists who have shown at the Contemporary Art Gallery (often available online, or by contacting the artist or their dealer / representative)
  • Looking at past exhibitions at the Contemporary Art Gallery to discern whether they have solo shows, group shows, a combination, and what kind of artists they show
Once you start gathering this information, you should have a clearer idea of what kind of artists are shown at the Contemporary Art Gallery, at what stage in their career they are at, and how the gallery goes about choosing artists for shows. Then you can ask:
  • How does this compare to you and your artistic career?
and most importantly:
  • What steps can you take to make yourself a good candidate for the Contemporary Art Gallery?
This is just one example of choosing a specific target and conducting research so you can formulate a plan for yourself.
Weekly project: choose a target that you want to strive for, do the research, and turn your knowledge into definite steps toward your goal!
We have reached the halfway point of the 10 Week project! How is it working for you?
If you need to catch up:
Image: Ben Earwicker,  www.garrisonphoto.org/sxc

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