Artist Mastermind Podcast: How to Approach Art Galleries

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2015 Season Episode begins!
In the first episode of The Artist Mastermind podcast for 2015, we talk about how to approach galleries and learn how to get your work in art shows.

Learn about how Artists get started. Perfect for everyone from the beginner, the art student and the established artist that wants to do shows.


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THE SECRET TO NETWORKING: Networking in the Art World

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Networking in the Art World by Amanda Robin Wood

If you’re in the majority, you’re very likely quite uneasy about the idea of networking with strangers. Some people seem to be born with the gift of gab, but the rest of us… well, we have to work at it. So here’s where the help comes in. Take a few notes and let’s get to work!

Since I’m a creative, it’s natural for me to have more introverted tendencies. The idea of going to art/networking events, walking up to a complete stranger, introducing myself to them and feeling like I have to “sell” them on my talents… Well, it’s nothing short of terrifying for me. Thinking about this has kept me awake at night, had me researching sales techniques and asking every successful business person I know, questions about how to “sell” someone on my talents in the hope someone would help me in my art career and the necessary connections to gain exposure.

I’ll let you in on my paradigm shift in a bit. But for now, let’s explore who you need to be networking with and why.

Assuming you are an artist, you may be interested in networking with other artists, gallery owners/curators, art instructors, interior designers, people involved with art studio co-ops or maybe even some art dealers.

Ever think about any opportunities that have come your way simply because you asked a friend who to call about a position, or someone told you to talk to someone they know? Maybe you’ve had an opportunity fall into your lap, simply because someone told a friend to contact you?

That’s a result of networking. Plain and simple.


What are some ways you can dip your toe in to get started?



Here are some suggestions:

  1. Attend local art events regularly to meet people and gradually get into the “Art World.”
  2. Join art groups and art societies in your area, take classes with well known artists, maybe even see if you can get an interview with a gallery or famous local artists for your blog.
  3. My favorite networking tool (I’ll warn you, it’s expensive), buy art from an artist whose work I absolutely love and admire. As long as it’s genuine love for the work, it will likely lead to a long term relationship with the artist as one of their collectors. And I never buy art I don’t absolutely love. Even if all you can afford is a small print, I highly recommend it. Reciprocation… We’ll delve into that more later on.

Okay, so here’s the ugly part. Getting the nerve up to meet them. Especially if you are analyzing and thinking about it too much. Like: Hmmmm, what could go wrong???

  • You could find yourself fearing rejection

  • Worrying about making a fool of yourself

  • Feeling stumped or speechless in a conversation

  • Feeling like a cheesy car salesmen pandering for information

Guess what! There is a secret. A Golden Rule! I had no idea that I had been looking at it completely backwards. No wonder it was creating so much anxiety, I was trying to figure out the hard sales approach and attempting to learn to live with it. Ultimately, I couldn’t do it. But I’ve realized, don’t have to :) This was a huge paradigm shift for me!

So what the heck is this “Golden Rule?” Reciprocity. Networking is about nurturing and building a relationship.

It’s more about giving than it is about receiving. If you look at it like putting yourself into service, it’s giving to others by looking to see how you can help them achieve their goals and challenges. And, if you’r clever about how you handle it, they will see value in you and your efforts and begin to reciprocate and possibly help refer you to someone they know that can help, or even better yet, find a way to themselves to help you achieve success. The point is to give genuinely, never leaving the impression you are “expecting” something. That’s rude and shouldn’t be done.

If you find yourself at a networking opportunity, maybe find someone who’s alone and start a friendly conversation. I usually find an opportunity to talk at the food/snack table. People are more approachable sometimes when you can say something like: Wow! This is so good! Have you tried this?

You could volunteer to work at an art event. Maybe volunteer at the check in, you’ll meet everyone there that way. Though you might not get as long to chat with a person of interest.

Some nice openers:

It’s my first time here, have you been here before?

Hi, we haven’t met yet… I’m Amanda. What brings you out here tonight?

What’s your medium of choice/passion?

What’s your role in your organization?

Tell me more about your artwork/organization?
Now, when you’re at an event, while it’s important to say positive, comfortable things, it’s equally important to make sure you are truly listening to the other person!

The Opportunity

When they are talking, listen for challenges they have and look for ways you can fulfill their needs. Maybe they need to find a way to mount an abstract stained glass piece of art to a wall. Maybe they want to experiment with a new water soluble oil paint. If you know something about it, or you know someone that can help them, be sure to pass that on to them. You may know of some websites or people you follow on YouTube that could help them. Possibilities are endless.

Promoting Yourself

Practice your short intro. Some like to call this your Elevator Speech. Maybe come up with a 10 second introduction and give a brief overview of your artwork, what you do and ways you help other artists/buyers/art dealers.

Don’t leave anything too vague. As you want to be concise, you need to be clear about the points of what you do. Let’s not leave anyone going… Whuuh?!?!

Focus on building a rapport with that person. Try to think about building a relationship over time, instead of selling them on your talents/work. Make sure you highlight the differences between you and the many other artists out there they’ve met recently. Distinction!

The Finish

Make sure you exchange cards/information. Let them know you’ll be following up with them and then when you have a chance, make a note on their card or someplace safe about that person and what you’ve discussed.

It’s very important to smile and give a nice comfortable but firm hand shake (don’t try to break their hand).

Ever wonder how to end a conversation? Try not to ramble on like the dreaded bombing Saturday Night Live skit that should have ended 5 minutes ago. You could say:

“It was a pleasure to meet you. I appreciate you taking the time to discuss your work with me. I’ll let you talk with your collectors/colleagues/customers and meet more people. I’ll follow up with you tomorrow about what we’ve discussed.”

DO follow up the next day. So many people just don’t touch base later on and the opportunity just slips away. I’ve done it on occasion and have regretted it each time. Make yourself one of the reliable minority that isn’t a flake. Be that top 10% that stands out because you followed up, you’ve got it together and you care.

There you are. You now have the basics for networking and growing your contact circles.

Go make things happen!


amandarobinwoodAmanda Robin Wood is a Clay Artist, Sculptor and Painter based in Texas. She holds a BFA from The University of North Texas and has a broad background in design and commercial work. She currently lives in Austin with her husband, two daughters and two active Weimaraners.

Her official site:

New Years Resolution for 2015: Purging Unnecessary Projects

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We’ve all done it. Gotten a little fired up and excited when that new check comes in the mail or when we’ve received an email from a potential client. We crave not only some response to our work but we’re hoping for opportunities. Whether it’s an art show, licensing deal, book work or whatever aligns to our skillset, we’re watching for any offers to use our creative hand in. As a budding artist or emerging entrepreneur, this is the struggle. The stress, the joy, the hope and the desperation. We crave it. We fear it. We want it.

The problem comes in when we respond. How will you respond when you’re given an offer? Will you take the time to consider all the factors involved? Or do you grab it at the drop of a hat, without question?

Some things to consider before taking on a job offer:

  1. Does it align with my core values as an artist (your beliefs, what you respect, what you love, what you believe you want to do)
  2. Does it align with your goals? ex. Does that design job or that commission help you reach your goals creatively or professionally?
  3. Does it excite you everyday to work on it? If it’s not making your heart beat, or worse…you’re dreading the work, that’s a job to cut.

So if you do take on work, whether you have to or want to, always give it some thought before saying YES. If you believe you can better yourself or meet a goal regardless of whether you like it, then it’s probably a good thing too.

How to purge unnecessary projects or projects that are diverting you from your career path/goals:

  1. Check with the questions above.
  2. Consider the financial and time costs of the project.
  3. Take former projects as a learning lesson and move on from accepting more like it.
  4. Finish current projects you realize are not for you in a timely and professional manner.

Learn how to prioritize potential work in this way and you will avoid most hardship and stress in your career. It’s important to value your work and well define your skillset as an artist. Make sure people know what you do and WANT to do so that you are more likely to get the offers you are looking for. It’s valuable to work on side projects as an artist and find new avenues of income, but it’s not right to short yourself financially or mentally.

Take on the Authentic Artistry course to get more advice and practice of this idea as well as more to help reenergize and reignite your creative work. Learn more> 


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S2 Ep1: How to Share Your Art on Instagram

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