VBB | When you’re reaching out to galleries, what are you sending them?
CC | In the beginning, when I was reaching out to galleries, it was very straight to the point, like you don’t need to know about my dead parents, you don’t need to know about this, you don’t need to know about that, "Hi my name is blank, I’ve enjoyed your artists that you represent in your gallery for many years, here’s a link to my online portfolio, I’d like to take this opportunity to introduce you to my newest body of work all the information is on my website, if you have any additional questions" and then send it. They don’t want to know your whole personal story.
VBB | That’s interesting because I feel like that would really influence your work and makes your work more interesting, so you wouldn’t tell them that up front?
CC | No, not up front because they don’t know you from Adam. It would be like walking up to a complete stranger and saying, "Hi my name is Charles, did you know my parents died two years ago?" They’d be like, “Whoa this is too much."
It could be in your artist statement. All my information is in my statement or it’s on my website, but you don’t want to come on too strong. I look at it kind of like a date, you don’t want to come on too strong in the beginning because you don’t want to scare them away, but you also want to entice them so you want to put your best foot forward.
You also want to look at their submission policy, if they’re not taking blind submissions, don’t submit. Follow their protocol because that shows that you’ve researched that site and you’re not just blanket emailing everybody. You’re going to know the work that they show so if you're an abstract painter and you just submitted work to a figure painting gallery, well of course you’re not going to get in. And then that’s going to put a damper on your confidence level and then you're going to think, “Oh god i’m terrible." No, you just submitted to the wrong gallery. You didn’t do your research.
VBB | Do most galleries categorize themselves that way?
CC | No, but the staple artists can give it away on what type of work they show. A lot of west coast galleries show a lot of street artists or pop surrealism or some kind of reference to pop culture or graffiti or something like that. A lot of east coast galleries are a little bit more into abstraction, modernism to some extent. It just depends on the gallery. And you have to click through all the artists to find that common thread.
So it’s all about the research. You’ve really got to do your research just like with anything else to prepare yourself for success. I haven’t submitted to a gallery in a little while only because I’ve been lucky enough to have representation, but even that can be very tumultuous at times. You still have to keep as professional as possible.