Posted by Melody
on June 4, 2011 at 8:54 PM
Following are some tips for preparing for a show where you are responsible for creating and executing your own display.
Consistency in Theme and Technique
Collectors want to see work that is consistent. They don't want to see all the work you've ever created while experimenting with different methods and styles.
- When preparing to present your work to a gallery or for a show where you are responsible for installing your own work, keep in mind that the body of work you present is what the gallery curator or collector is going to identify you as being expert at. If your work is all over the place in terms of style you will be labeled a "hobbyist".
- It is best to select several pieces of the same style and/or method, preferably in the same color scheme or in color schemes that can be easily transitioned within the scope of your display space.
Handling Your Work
It's not only important that you can speak to the value or importance of your work; you must also "show" that you value your work.
- According to Jason Horejs at Xanadu Gallery in Scottsdale, AZ, the reason curators wear white gloves is not just to preserve the art they're handling but also to convey to onlookers that they value the work they are handling.
- If a gallery owner or collector were to notice you tossing a painting into the back of your car they would not value that painting as much as if they had seen you carefully and thoughtfully prepare a space for the work and then kindly and gingerly place it into that space.
Presentation - Gallery Style
The way you display your work is very important if you want to be valued as a professional artist. The most important thing I can share with you on this topic is this:
- Displays that are cluttered with every piece of work you've ever done scream "Craft Fair!" Unless you are showing at a craft fair, that is not the message you want to send. In this case the "less is more" strategy is your best bet.
- Determine a focal point for your display. This should be a prized piece of art that you feel will draw collectors to your display. From there, add a few pieces that will complement that focal piece. If you really want more of your art to be seen, have a portfolio of images with you. This can be on display on a side table or tucked away in a place where it is easily retrievable.
Presentation - Art Festivals & Other Events
Additional Tips if you are presenting at an Arts Festival or other event where you are charged with setting up your own display:
- The "less is more" strategy is your best bet.
- Coordinate styles and colors in a way that will be pleasing to your audience. If the work you're planning to show is diverse in terms of style, method or color you'll want to find a way to display it so that it flows nicely from one end of the spectrum to the other.
- Another idea is to create separate vignettes for each type.
Remember, you want visitors to your display to be drawn in, not scared away!