The Interview - What Impresses a Gallery Director?
It's hard to go past the old one: 'You never get a second chance to make a first impression.' Private galleries have to make a profit to stay in business. A new artist who presents in a business-like way is halfway towards being accepted into the gallery's 'Stable.'
If you're not serious about making a career in Art, go ahead and turn up without an appointment or late for the one arranged. Arrive stoned and unbathed, lacking footwear but laden with metal in every piercing you've ever had done. You get my drift by now, I'm sure.
What 'business-like' does not mean: a suit, white shirt and tie, do not 'maketh the man or woman' in this instance. Just dress in whatever you'd normally wear for a day in town. Before you leave home, check in the mirror that you look neat, so that you can forget about your appearance and concentrate on the more important parts of the upcoming interview.
- If you mailed your Profile ahead of the interview and arrive with your Portfolio, you have the Director on-side from the start. So, let's recap those definitions:
What is a Profile?
A typed document with your vital details: your name, place of residence, date of birth, the medium and style you work in, any exhibitions you've had, any awards earned, and a one-sentence Mission Statement. Avoid the mistake of using Art School language, just be clear about what you do and what you aim to achieve.
What is a Portfolio?
Any portable collection of samples of your artwork. Best for a busy gallery director is an album of photos that s/he can flip quickly through. Don't worry - gallery staff are used to assessing the true quality of work from even the poorest photos.
What are the most important parts of the interview
- Presenting your art.
Of course you will bring some actual artworks to display on the day. Enlist a friend if needed to help carry them in. Do this with as little disruption to the gallery's staff and customers as you can manage. Simple good manners are never out of fashion.
TIP. Park as close to the gallery as possible and leave the works in the vehicle until you've checked with the director that it's convenient to bring them inside.
You're passionate about Art, your own art in particular, of course you are. But for today, go softly on the emotive ideology. Better to let your philosophy unfold along with your personality in the natural course of getting to know each other over time.
- Finding out what the gallery is offering you.
In the next article, I'll discuss what the artist needs to know about the exclusive contract. © Dorothy Gauvin