Mississippi's Art Gallery

Southern Breeze Gallery Blog

Blog by Jacqueline Ellens of Southern Breeze Gallery

How to Approach an Art Gallery to Sell Your Art | Jacqueline Ellens

How to Approach an Art Gallery to Sell Your Art | Jacqueline Ellens

Entering into an artist/dealer relationship with an art gallery owner is like entering into a marriage. Here are some guidelines that can really help build that wonderful relationship in a more productive and more meaningful way. Art gallery owner and artist Jacqueline Ellens goes in detail to say:

  1. Follow directions! Almost every art gallery has a preferred way of meeting and greeting new potential talent and artists. Being both a gallery owner and artist myself, I find myself typically short on time. I would personally say the best way to reach out is through email and a short follow up email if you do not hear back with in a few weeks. As a side-note, don’t take criticism or rejection to heart and above all don’t stop working. All no really means is your work doesn’t fit here right now - for any of a million reasons like size, price, color, selling trends, other artists doing a similar treatment at the same gallery... Sometimes it also means you are not there yet - keep working. Most gallery owners don’t want to tell you no. Most gallery owners don’t even want to tell you, “I don’t think I can sell this now.” It’s safe to say most artists don’t want to hear these things in person either. Email allows the gallery owner to give you undivided attention on his or her schedule and treat you with the time and respect you deserve. It avoids requiring an owner to decide whether to talk to you or to engage a customer and sell a painting. You want the gallery that represents you to always choose to sell the painting … after all, hopefully it will be yours one day.

  2. Be current and accurate! When sending your email, be as clear as possible about who you are and what you do NOW. Provide pictures with accurate descriptions including size, medium, and RETAIL price of your most recent work.

  3. Respect the relationship! Are you selling art from your own personal website, doing your own marketing, and selling to your own clients and loving it? If so, you may not need the help of an art gallery. However, if you want the credibility that comes with gallery representation and want someone else to manage most of the marketing/selling aspect of your art… Then it’s definitely for you. Gallery owners do a lot on your behalf and thus, usually expect market in return. In short, respect the rules of the relationship.

    Are your represented by another gallery in the same market? If so, don’t approach an additional gallery in the same market. Look outside the market you are already in. Think of growing into other markets in your state, then region, then country.

  4. Create with the intent to sell. Think about where your work will finally hang or be placed in a room. Size, color, medium and image should be appropriate for its final destination. Today’s homes vary considerably. Most new homes are built with higher ceilings than homes built in the 80’s. What market are you targeting? What market does your potential gallery serve? Create for the greatest mutual success. 

  5. If a gallery owner takes the time to give you input - listen closely. It probably means they see something unique that might be marketable if only it were just a little different. If a gallery owner says I’d love to see this in a different size or with these colors, try it - who knows it may launch you on a new trend of creating more marketable art.

  6. Align yourself with their goals. Galleries stay in business by selling art. If you love a piece so much that it doesn’t matter if it sells then keep it! Don’t bring it to the gallery to sell at an astronomical price saying that it doesn’t matter if it doesn’t sell. It does matter. A gallery wants to sell everything on its walls. The walls cost money and galleries only stay in business by selling art.

  7. Behave! All gallery owners within a market know each other. Frequently, gallery owners know all the other gallery owners in the state and the surrounding states. If they believe in you and can market your work, they will help you grow. Your success is ultimately their success too as they are stake holders in your body of work. Conversely, if you do not honor your relationship or act belligerently or in any way unfit for a professional relationship it has the potential to hurt you across the region.

Jacqueline Ellens is the gallery owner of southernbreezegallery.com in Ridegland Mississippi. Jacqueline Ellens has owned Southern Breeze Art Gallery for 14 years and has been creating and selling original art for most of her life.

Jackie Ellens