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Submitting Work to Galleries

Lesson 21 from: The Art and Business of Conceptual Portraiture

Jennifer Thoreson

Submitting Work to Galleries

Lesson 21 from: The Art and Business of Conceptual Portraiture

Jennifer Thoreson

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Lesson Info

21. Submitting Work to Galleries

Lesson Info

Submitting Work to Galleries

So this is my personal kind of journey through the business of fine art photography on dh of course I don't know it all yet I don't know a lot of things yet so I'm just kind of imparting my own personal knowledge of the few things that I do know that have worked for me and what hasn't worked for me on dh feel free to ask questions lots of questions today I'm really happy to answer absolutely anything you have on dh I'll be very open with you and honest with you about it um right so here we go uh probably the very most important thing you can do is well not probably the most important thing you can do is just submit your work submit your work to everybody and anybody who will sit in front of it and spend thirty seconds with it ideally you just getting it out in front of this many people's faces as possible just think about you know volumes so it's a different it's a different approach then I mean I started out as a wedding photographer so I was then targeting clients right and trying to...

get kind of a very specific audience a specific clientele who would pay me up front for my services so you have to think in reverse and someone no one's paying you up front in this world so that's terrifying all by itself it just is because you're making work hoping then somebody's going to purchase the work so your audience just has to be bigger and the bigger it is, the better off you're going to be and I mean you'll be amazed just getting the work in front of somebody for thirty seconds it returns it comes back a couple years later, I've got a new body of work out maybe they saw medic in a portfolio review or maybe someone saw medic in a submission for a contest and again they saw it like that, but I send out new work, they remember the name they remember something about me and they're like, ooh, so medic wasn't a good fit, but this new work, this testament work is a good fit, so I mean years later I've gotten four, five emails just in the past month from people who, like are responding to this new work who had seen my work before so just you're planting seeds, but you're planting them like this and hoping that some of them are going to grow that's really what you're doing so submitting your work that's the best thing you could dio and so we're going to talk about how when I first started in the fine art world, all I wanted was a show I wanted my work on the walls in a gallery you guys know how that feels right that's kind of the dream come true moment just to walk into a space and there's my work hang on walls so I started by submitting to galleries that was my main goal and I really didn't know what I was doing at that point and what it was like and what the gallery world even meant but I knew I wanted my work on the wall of the gallery so that I had probably the most experience with galleries the first gallery I submitted to is the birth gallery of photography and they're in santa fe new mexico who represent me now so it was a little bit of a journey getting to know those folks and at the time I was living in boston but you can see on their website here and I'll show you in detail later but you've got a category called represented artists at the top the very first thing you want to do when you're looking for a gallery is look at that category so you don't want to just submit to anybody because there's a a really good chance your work is not going to be a good fit for them but verb and when I looked at their represented artists and I knew you know I had a baptism at that time it was my first body of work and only had one one body of ten prints is all I have done but they had a kind of a sense of moral look similar look in some of the artist's work that they represented so I thought well, I fit I fit in here and so they have ah section on there called I think emerging artist something like that where online featured artist I think they call it now that you could a new emerging artist can submit teo so I sent work so that it's just a email really with the port a pdf portfolio and they responded they liked the work so at that time the emerging artists got to prince to hang in the next exhibition and I remember the day that they called me and told me you've got to prints in this show and I screamed so loud from the third floor my boss a department that people looked up at the window from outside like what is happening up in there? I was so excited so excited to have two prints hanging in a show and a really well known notable gallery. So I went out for the exhibition and by the way and we'll talk about openings in a minute but one of the best things and the best thing you could do is show up to your openings once you get a show because you meet people and so I did I flew out to santa fe I spent the money to do it and it was worth it and met the gallerist ce met a lot of people who collect sold some prints and so because my work sold pretty well they've been decided to represent me so it didn't take long it just kind of hop, skip and jump and shaking some hands getting to know some people talking to them about what to do hey, I'm working on a new body of work now would you like to see some work in progress? Sure they liked the work in progress and there we are represented by my first gallery um, so if you look at gallery website this is clutching who represents me in new york, you'll see so most of them have usually in the contact page a tab says submissions and it'll tell you exactly what they want you to do. This one is telling you now they're not accepting new submissions from artists and some of them will and you'll find that they go and phases to wear. Okay, we've got enough right now, but if you check back in a few months, they may be, you know, open first admissions again. So if it's gallery, you're really, really interested in just keep checking back, I don't recommend sending in work when they're not accepting it submissions because they're not going to look at it, so my best advice and submitting to galleries is following their guidelines to that the letter so if they tell you what size to make the files and make them exactly that size, if they want a pdf, don't send them loose j pegs, you know, sending exactly what they want, so though, actually look at it because I know that just from experience and talking to them, if they don't get what they asked for, they don't even look at the work they won't even look at it. So yeah, um and, you know, and most importantly, make sure your work is going to fit into that kind of gallery the kind of artist that they represent, uh here's, another gallery panopticon gallery in boston who represents me there on dh, so they have a different process here if you read it says, um, panopticon gallery has a formal review policy photographers wishing to have their portfolio review should be acquainted with the gallery and the current stable of artists will represent, which is what we're just talking about a review in a critique of your work last approximately one hour in a seventy five dollars these guys, I mean, they charge you for review so and some galleries do lots of galleries d'oh, but you khun go in and physically sit with him and they'll review the work or I'm guessing that probably do it over skype and things like that too but if you've got the seventy five bucks it's a good way to get your work in front of somebody that you think you think you might be a good fit for you, those types of yours that you pay for, yeah, do seventy five dollars, you know it itjust hands on kind of what your budget is and that sort of thing you're meeting with one person, one galleries, but you also is good to research these galleries and research the gallerist and find out how plugged them they are. Jason landry panopticon he goes, support polar reviews all the time and meets a lot of emerging artists, and so he sees a lot of new work a lot and he's plugged in. Teo the art world, he rubs elbows with all these people all the time, so if he likes your work and wants to collect, the worker wants to show the work it's just word of mouth, you know, maybe he sees someone else that he thinks maybe interested it next time he goes to a portfolio review, and so if you're if you're meeting with somebody who's really well connected, I think it's worth the money is guess what I'm saying yeah, and that you think you might have a shot at getting a show in the gallery, okay, so some some gallery websites don't have anything online that's talking about new artists or submissions and if they don't, this is what I've done in the past and again, I don't know if this is the answer to life, it's just what's worked for me, but I will send a pdf, which is so easy to look at it's the easiest thing for them to look at, right, and a lot of times it shows up already open in the email that anyone have to click on it. So it starts with my artist's statement at the top, and then it just shows the work, so I don't send along wordy email it'sjust hi, my name is jennifer larson. Um, this is my new work testament, the artist statement and images are below and it's just a very little information about the work a little tiny, maybe two sentences about my history as an artist, you might say, I'm an emerging artist rather than saying, I know nothing, I'm brand new just say, I'm emerging what you are and, you know, maybe a little bit of your history exhibition history if you have any kind of thing, but keep it to two or three sentences because imagine yourself opening an email from a stranger if you open it at all. Are you going to actually read the whole thing nobody's going to read three paragraphs of an e mail from you so it confuses the sentences and then just get the work on the page so they can see it very first image they see that may like oh oh that's interesting like in the subject you put emerging artists or submission or I will put new work by jennifer thorsen and even if they don't know who the heck I am which most likely they don't they might think well and most of these folks are looking for new talent that's that's what their job kind of is they're looking for that great next amazing person that's doing something they've never seen before so a lot of you have a good chance of opening it if you just put new work by your name especially if they've heard your name before at a portfolio review or something like that so you just never know that it's always worth a try so that's what I do for galleries searching for galleries asshole kind of different I mean there are thousands of them right? So who do you start with? My best advice is to start locally so look for local galleries that you can physically go in and show them the work I would send an email first but then you know it's people you can actually go shake hands with and meet with and that's kind of important too good place to start and you'll get feedback from them most most of them are pretty honest with you like this is just not what we're looking for right now and if they tell you that ok what could I do to improve my work or do you know of a gallery that might be looking for something like this and I mean they're they're willing to help they know this is rough they know it's hard so there's a lot of nice people out there so don't be timid um but I like to do is peru's reviewer lists which is naughty but it works so I'll go and look at the the portfolio reviews for instance will look at a minute some lists of thes but photo fast in houston every year or every other year has portfolio reviews and they've got a long list of viewers on there so when I didn't know where to start looking for galleries I looked at that list and found people who were gallerist ce and then looked up those galleries because I knew if they were going to a portfolio review to look for new talent then they would likely be interested in me as new talent also so those kind of gallerist that are actually physically traveling around and looking for new people will most likely be receptive to you so that's where I started and it worked out really well so again I'm just looking through the lists and looking for gallery's looking up the gallery looking at the work to see if I thought I fit and then following their submission process um also I found it helpful to look for like kindred spirit artists people I knew whose work was kind of like mine or had a similar kind of five um I went to a josephine's acabo seminar one time anybody ever heard of her she's wicked cool out of new orleans and you know, of course I listened to her artists talking everything and walked up here after and ask her some questions and she was so nice and so receptive to help me so much I even e mailed or one time and ask her how do I say sign my work? I didn't have a clue and she was so helpful but I felt kind of connected your work I thought we had a similar tone kind of similar five so I looked at all the gallery she was represented by and submit it to all of them so it's cheating but it works right and then last like photography fairs which yesterday I'm sorry an earlier segment we looked at a list you khun goto lin scratch dot com slash resource is I think it is and there's a list of photo affairs on there and you will meet gallerist after gallerist after gallerist after gallerist and even if you're not physically handing them your work or something you can see they're kind of stable of artists see if you think you might fit in there so it's just kind of perusing and its work it takes some time any questions about galleries before we move on? Maybe online from you guys? Um I'm not sure this is the right time to ask, but how do you price your prints? We're going to get into that actually in until later that's a good question, though yeah, we are going to get into that very important thing, okay? And we're going to talk about it a little while also howto work with galleries once you do have an exhibition. And how do you tell the difference between a gallery that is more legitimate versus just some kind of we just want work on our walls? That's a good question. Yeah, and so the way to have the best success with a gallery financially. And you and I talked about this a little bit yesterday was I mean, it's just finding a gallery who's actually going to work for you a gallerist that's going to show your work, show your work to people when they walk in the door, have a flat file of your prints, so when someone's interested, they can show literally put those prints nobody's hands gallery that goes to festivals and things like that I like to look on their web site first and just and see what they're involved in do they goto a pad? Do they go to the big festivals and show work? That's a good indicator voice friends wants to know jennifer suggests aiming big like national galleries are exploring local building up a resume and then launching big yeah I think it's it's always good to start locally but at the same time having an exhibition is going to cost you money in the beginning so you want tohave a gallery and a gallerist that's going to sell your work and so there are a lot of small galleries who are getting started they don't have any money you know and they're just trying to get stuff on their walls two and then you're kind of in a partnership with them so if you're trying to make money while it's good to get an exhibition history and you need that it's going to be harder on you financially and that's just the way it is having an exhibition history. However, when you do approach a larger gallery helps a lot they have had twelve shows I've had ten shows then they're like somebody's you know somebody is responding to this work so yeah just be aware it's gonna cost some money in the beginning it's just kind of the way it is

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with RSVP


Bonus Materials with Purchase

Book Proposal Sample.pdf
Critical Mass - Digital Book.pdf
Curriculum Vitae Example.pdf
Keynote PDF Segment 1.pdf
Keynote PDF Segment 2.pdf
Keynote PDF Segment 3.pdf

Ratings and Reviews

a Creativelive Student

"Thinking about art is not making art." In this inspiring and informative workshop, Jennifer helps you put thought into action - through meaningful self-reflection, exploration and by taking her through her own processes. Through exercises and examples, she explains how to pull out a thread of an idea and develop it into a conceptual project that is informed and invigorated by personal experience, preference, interests, and so much more. Her workshop not only feeds the creative soul, but offers earnest information on taking first steps toward publishing and showing fine-art. Jen so beautifully shares her talent and her love of teaching - I first "met" her on Creative Live and have had the joy of being mentored by her in-person as well. This workshop is a very close second to spending time with her one-on-one. Thank you, CL, for bringing her back!

kalei harmon

I love Jennifer, she's one of my cL favorites! She is such a soulful photographer and her art just resonates with me in so many ways. While she was creating her conceptual piece with the mother and child, my eyes welled up because it was such a profound experience to witness. I appreciate that she has a graduate degree in art and is able to refer to others in the field who are leading the way. She is so genuine and I'm grateful for her willingness to bare her soul to us through her art and process. I've learned so much by watching how she interacts with models and communicates efficiently and gently to get AMAZING poses. Definitely worth the buy if you're looking for inspiration from an artist who creates images which evoke emotion and communicate a message, not just trying to make "great photos." I can't wait to learn about the business side of it all!


I am so grateful for this class; it is just what I have been looking for to help me go beyond my "photographic potty training". By leading us through her own creative process, Jennifer Thoreson invites us to think about why we do what we do and to make our work more meaningful and authentic, creating our unique visual vocabulary. Moreover, she provides detailed info on submitting work to galleries and publications, contests, printing editions, preparing an exhibition and pricing. In her calm, unpretentious manner, Jennifer demystified art without trivializing it and I finally saw light at the end of a rather long tunnel.

Student Work