International. Contemporary. Art.
You’ve got an art exhibition coming up – Great! The perfect opportunity to engage and socialise with visitors, network for collaborations, opportunities, try selling your artworks, find how people react to your art, get understand and a feel for the market, get knowledge about pricing, interact with other exhibitors, and so much more…
Now if you’re wondering how to get the most out of your exhibition here are a few do’s and don’ts.
* Be there!
* Smile, be positive.
* Engage in conversation with the visitors.
* Hand out business cards.
* Take contact details, have a mailinglist that visitors can signup to.
* Be respectful. If someone doesn’t know who you are or isn’t familiar with your art, be kind and bear with them.
* Don’t act aloof, inaccessible, or appear preoccupied.
* Stay close to your art, give people the opportunity to look at it on their own, before racing over. After a few moments go over and say hello, telling them you’re the artist and engage in conversation with a smile.
* Make sure everything is priced and that prices are visible for everyone to see. Forcing people to ask how much your art costs eliminates potential buyers who for whatever reasons feel uncomfortable asking.
* Keep an eye on the crowd. If you’re busy, but see people who look like they need help or have questions, tell them you will be with them in a moment.
* Keep your art space clean, tidy and hang your artworks professionally (never have them on the floor, wonky or in weird angles, or different awkward heights.)
* If you’re talking to someone you know and someone you don’t know comes up and wants to talk to you, politely tell the someone-you-know that you’ll be delighted to continue the conversation later, and then talk to the someone-you-don’t-know.
* Make sure you’ve got plenty of copies of your statement, resume, and price list available.
* Be careful not to pressure people or oversell.
* Be positive. No complaining. No whining. No trashing other artists, collectors, galleries or anybody or anything else. Whatever you say, make sure it’s nice. Imagine someone saying the same things about you or your art. How would you feel?
* Not selling immediately? Keep positive, sitting at your stand with a frown will not help selling. And negative energy will attract negativeness, so stay positive at all times, and keep smiling, enjoy it! You might sell loads afterwards. Keep handing out those business cards and keep engaging in conversation.
* Want to impress someone (art critic, gallery, press, collector) make them remember you in a positive way, don’t talk about you and you only. Don’t take up too much of their time, if they have questions they will ask you.
* Have your website up to date with the artworks shown at the exhibition also on your website.
* Have your social media urls on your bcard.
* Enjoy and have fun!
* Act important, distracted or preoccupied. The key here is to look as unapproachable as possible.
* Speak only with people you already know.
* Disappear for significant periods of time and make sure you tell no one where you’re going. Or tell someone where you’re going and then go somewhere else. Or arrive late.
* When people ask you questions about your art, tell them you don’t know or haven’t really thought about it. Or answer them, but look really put out by it.
* When people ask about the significance or meaning of your art tell them it means whatever they want it to mean.
* When someone asks the price of a piece of your art, tell them you don’t know or you’re not sure. Or tell them you haven’t figured it out yet. Or better yet, ask them what they think it’s worth.
* Talk to one person for a really long time (preferably someone you already know and can speak with anywhere) and ignore anyone else who appears to want to speak with you.
* Act like you can’t wait to end a conversation with someone, and then as soon as it’s over, start a conversation with someone else and act much more interested in them.
* End a conversation for no apparent reason, walk away, and start a whole new conversation with someone else.
* Walk up to anyone who has a profile in the art community like critics, collectors or bloggers, introduce yourself and immediately start talking about yourself and your art… whether they’re interested or not. Or tell them you’d like to explain your art, don’t wait for an answer, and start explaining.
* Drop lots of names whether you have any personal involvement or connection to them or not.
* Talk about all of your art world accomplishments with no prompting whatsoever.
* Suggest to people who look interested in your art that if they buy directly from you and not through the gallery, that they can get it cheaper.
* If you see someone you don’t like or who you don’t like talking too, but they have some standing in the community– collector, critic, blogger, etc.– rather than bite the bullet and exchange pleasantries for maybe 30 seconds or a minute, evacuate the premises the instant you see them coming… and make sure they see you doing it.
* Deliberately avoid eye contact.
* Ignore someone based on how they look, what they’re wearing, or their age.
* Surround yourself with several friends at all times so that no one has easy access to you.
* Launch into long and detailed explanations of your art whether the person you’re speaking with asks for them or not.
* Make sure you explain your art in terms that hardly anyone can understand. Confuse people by using as many MFA art words as possible.
* If someone can’t figure out or understand what you’re saying, make sure you act condescending or inconvenienced by it.
* Disagree with people’s impressions or responses to your art and correct them as often as possible.
* Act amazed and astonished if someone you’re speaking with hasn’t heard of you or is unfamiliar with your art.
* Drink too much, smoke too much or do whatever else you have to do to make sure you’re completely out of it.
* Look bored and unimpressed.
* Complaint and moan.
* Start packing your art before the show has ended.
* Eat at your stand
The best advise to remember is to have a positive attitude, this will reflect onto your artworks, and the atmosphere will be superb! Good things will come out of it!