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Working with Galleries

Lesson 30 from: The Art and Business of Conceptual Portraiture

Jennifer Thoreson

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Lesson Info

30. Working with Galleries

Lesson Info

Working with Galleries

Now this is kind of talking about once you've gotten an exhibition with somebody and you're going to show some work with them or possibly when you're just just before or you've applied for something with the gallery so gallery note ability and audience the better galleries were going to sell your work better the better known calories not because they're nice people but because buyers and collectors trust them they're kind of your their vouching for you like we believe this artist is way cool so you should too that's basically what's happening so the cooler the gallery the more in the gallery or hip the gallery the better your work is going to sell so it just takes time it takes time to get in with galleries like that it's part of video look at their number of represented artists if they have one hundred artists on their website, your work is never going to get shown it'll get shown once every five years because there's I mean an exhibition is usually up for three months or four so thin...

k about how long it's gonna take before you're into the rotation forever so I'm looking for galleries that have at most twenty artists represented that's where I want to be um location and ours are just decent place people actually gonna walk in there you know are they open more than one day a week there's a lot of them are not what is that? A non compete agreement like esso every gallery I've got my non compete states that I can't be represented or even have an exhibition by another gallery in that state. Usually sometimes when the states really small like massachusetts or new york it'll be maybe it's a whole new england area or something like that but you want to look at that and make sure you're okay with it uh before you sign anything uh web presence so do they have a good web presence? Is it you know are they promoting themselves promoting you frequency of exhibitions? You know how many are they doing a year? How long did they stay up? Do they have a flat final and keep your work on hand? People can come in and buy it community art fairs, events are they going in promoting and showing work publicity there are they publicist? You know are they in magazines? Are they you know, on blog's, that kind of thing? And then of course, how much percentage early taking is it? Twenty thirty, forty, fifty percent of what they sell. Exhibition questions when you get a show is a solar group exhibition solo exhibitions are great for your resume that you want to note that it's solo exhibition just write it on there it's good stuff but group exhibitions are great too um so the number of pieces that they want from you in the show if it's a group exhibition it may only be a couple that's fine but you need to know for sure the manner of display or they're gonna be hanging on the wall framed matted what do they like a lot of galleries prefer certain or they don't like matt for something so maybe they prefer for you not him after work so that's something you want to know um and also the framing costs are they going to help pay for it some galleries have frames in stock that they can use or or break down and re size even for you to help you with cost so we want to ask those questions shipping are they going to pay for it are you going to pay for it they pay for on the way and you pay for on the way back do they want you to create it some galleries a really specific about the way you they don't want glass they want plexi which then costume or so very specific questions about how the shipping is going to work again did I need prints for the file so usually like my gallery's I'll send exhibition prints and then two prints for the flat file of each image that they can sell on hand but there's again you know that's why I have five prints made in the beginning there ready to go. Publicity needs they may need files from you high rez files so they can put it on blog's and websites and print things and get your your stuff out there you want to know the opening date and if you're going to be doing an art it's hawk x right moving we're moving okay so this is the show I did it pan out to con gallery in boston they had the framing for me they said well we have way have sixteen by twenty frames I knowyou're prince of square but can we figure something out sure yeah because I don't want to pay for ten frames if I don't have to so we just kind of gallery waited them and matt and it saved me a lot of money here's another show at verve no no I'm sorry this is that cordon pots in san francisco so in this one these are my frames in my maps so I matted and framed everything and so that's a cost to me but hopefully in court and paz is amazing gallery they sell stuff so I have to you know trust that they will sell the work here's a show in new mexico again I paid for the framing and the matting and trust the gather we'll sell the work uh this is a museum exhibition actually just happened in switzerland at the musee did we say so? It's a museum so this was unique because in switzerland it was it was something that was going to have to go overseas so they had a printer make the prince I send them guide prince they had a prince or make prince and they matted and framed them so nothing had to be shipped overseas. Yeah, pretty interesting different I hadn't had that happen before but you just never know but ask and ask and be very specific because matting and framing is going to cost money it's expensive for sure. Also, the bigger your prints are, the more it's gonna cost so that you might consider that in your exhibition size this exhibition we didn't frame it out at all. They just wanted raw prints on the wall. This is a show in canada. So there's, lots of stuff that goes on a loan agreement. So again, shipping costs this is all gonna be you're gonna get a pdf loan agreement that you have to sign when you have a show with a gallery and all this stuff is going to be on their shipping cost that you agree to shipping patients like some galleries don't allow peanuts, no shipping peanuts and then they're very specific. So they will tell you all that and that will be spelled out in your loan agreement. It'll have deadlines in there and that include deadline for digital materials that they need for promo and also deadline's tohave the prince to in their hands um framing costs percentage of sales insurance policy some galleries want youto have insurance on your work and some galleries ensure that work for you. So you want to find that out because insurance can cost you money too uh damaged or lost in compensation so if something happens to them during shipping of something happens to them at the gallery there's water damage fest what what do you get? Are you covered on then advertising and publicity? Are they going to advertise this show and how are you gonna get a postcard to send the people? How are they doing this? Because if you're investing three, four hundred dollars in framing, you want to know that they're advertising the show they're gonna get bodies in the door and sell the work. Okay, so here's a couple examples of show postcards so you kind of have an idea of what publicity's sort of looks like and usually in ninety five percent of the time the gallery will give you some postcards that you can keep and photograph and put him on your website for your publicity section that kind of stuff and send people the next step after having an exhibition is gallery representation so this is kind of was my goal mainly I've got enough now, but when I was starting out I really wanted representation from galleries because the differences having an exhibition in this space they've got your work up on the walls for three months and they do sell the work hopefully um but if they decide to represent you will keep your work in the flat file and it's pretty much guaranteeing you an exhibition every time you have new work or even a couple of times with that work so you get it on the walls more often the more often it's on the walls the money more money you're going to make from the war work and exponentially more so it helps a lot also when you're represented they'll take you to shows they take you to a festival of things like that and self work these were the gallery's on represented by now um so I kind of wanted representation all over the country sort of new york called ching in new york bourbon santa fe pent up coming in boston jdc and corden pots in california so it's kind of if somebody wants to buy something, they can get it chips or their home pretty quickly from somewhere so I say ideally for five galleries maybe to represent you is plenty you don't want don't think more than that just real quick to brief talk about gallery openings if you get a show go to the opening if you can afford to go I know I talked about this earlier but you meet people and you meet collectors and make so many connections face to face and there's nothing better than face to face connections with people who are interested in your work. They're coming to the show because they like what you've done so you can sell your work a lot better if you stand there and talk to somebody about it and tell them how cool it is. So go go if you can. This is my very first show in san francisco, and I was on cloud nine I just thought it was the coolest thing ever and standing there talking to people about and having people asked questions about what I did, you know, is it's not only good for your business, it's good for your heart, tohave people interested in what you've done and be ableto have somebody engaged and talk to them about it, you know, that's, why you make the work in the first place, isn't it for the public to consume and enjoy? So seeing that happen is just it's like someone telling you how awesome and beautiful your baby is, it never gets old ever so it's just another reason to go. This is the one in switzerland, and this was just the coolest experience having people speaking french about my work and looking at things and talking about things I was like, what would they say? You know it's fun, it's really fun so if you're asked to do an artist talk, you can ask the gallery okay, is it informal or formal? So if if it's informal basically you're walking around the gallery with a crowd of people and saying this this particular print I made, I made the sculpture out of this random material and I'm basically just highlighting they've already read the artist's statement, so I'm going to tell him some interesting stories about the making of the work, something they can't read the artist statement that they can't see in the print. It just makes me more curious if it's a formal though artist talk usually they're looking for us short, very short, five to ten minutes in the gallery anyway slide presentation that shows your process and it's important that you document your process and just, you know, just use my iphone, but I take pictures of sculptures along the way what the print being made, that kind of stuff. So then when I put together an artist talk, I have some cool stuff to show people about how I've made the work very similar actually know what we looked at in the first segment, that kind of stuff, and I was showing you how I made testament all of that is cool foreign artist talk people like to see that kind of thing they're they're not bad, they're not they're not hard. If you're doing like a big artist, talk in front of a lecture style crowd that's a different story, but I'm kind of just talking about one that you would do in the in the gallery if you haven't exhibition. Okay, so just kind of breaking down. We talked about the first here and being exhibited in galleries and hoping then to sell the work to collectors and consumers. That's one venue museums are totally different so galleries are geared toward the consumer and the collector. They're trying to sell work. Okay? They want to work from you that is going to sell museums though are there? They're geared toward the public experience and education museums are more likely, for instance, to collect something like testament then they are flora testament is more it's got more meat to it it's, it's more unique it's something that maybe they've just never seen before. They think it's up and coming they think that girl's got something federal is going to make it kind of thing that's what museums are interested in the next big artist they want the superstars. Galleries want work that is going to sell to people they want work like flora and things and that's not true for all galleries I mean, some of the really big, amazing galleries that people are notable, yeah, they're going to sell the same stuff museums are looking for, but generally that's kind of a case s o gallery still worked to collectors and take a commission museum shows we'll buy the footwork for full price from the artist and usually by more than one piece. Hopefully, um, someone brought that gallagher galleries will gravitate more toward decorative art. We just talked about that they represent popular styles, cutting edge styles, trendy things, more collectible things and unique artists it's a slightly different genre, sometimes in the museum world, eso museums collect work of promising or established artist it's it's rare for a museum to collect something from an emerging artist. So usually this is something that happens down the road five or six years, maybe they want to know that you're going to be somebody before they buy your works uh, gravitate toward gravitate toward visionary work, original ideas really unique, really unique stuff that they've never seen before. They purchased the work up front, or they ask for donations sometimes, and sometimes they'll purchase two prints and ask you to donate one that's really common um and their curator is organised or we're going to size that's a word yes, the curator is organized, the exhibitions so it's a different they're not organizing it to self, organizing it to engage the public. So just think about that. They're slightly different. The goals are different.

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