I swore I wouldn’t do it to myself again. I wouldn’t book so many shows this year, I was going to make good choices and make my months less complicated. Enter October… I am hanging 40 pieces in the gallery at Spokane Art School (that opened Friday); Hanging 12 at William-Grant in Kendall Yards, Spokane (that opened Saturday), Doing the Oldfield Art Show in Puyallup WA next weekend and the following weekend we are opening “Rooted” at the Jacklin Art Center in Post Falls ID. So, I started organizing my inventory for each show and made lists for each one with prices.
Here is the thing, I have never been a featured artist in a gallery like I am at the Spokane Art School. I’ve never unpacked all of my originals, laid them out and walked away. Normally, I set up the display, hang the work, label it and then….. I go to bed in a strange town. I couldn’t do it. I had to come back and see what they were doing. Each one has its own special measured space, hung at museum height, level and pretty. Same at William-Grant, I walked in, handed over my art and walked away. I felt so adrift, and calm. I came up with jobs for me to do. I need to go in on Thursday and make sure my frames are all perfect. That was my job, I figured. They were going to all this trouble for me, I needed to be the best for them.
Do you know what I really needed to do for them? Make it easy for them to do this for me. They all have their lists of artist “to-dos” all I had to do was follow instructions. I made my inventory lists for each show with sizes and prices. I wasn’t perfect but they had most of what they asked for. My art was ready to hang, and I was ready on the spot to fix anything that needed attention. My Bio was there for them to use, I gave them brochures… That was what they needed. I provided snacks at William-Grant, because they asked me to. They told me I was easy to work with. When they said they couldn’t use a piece, I said, “No problem” and put it back in my car. No drama, nothing personal; that piece didn’t work in the space. It doesn’t mean they didn’t like it. It was certainly good enough; it just didn’t fit. I didn’t take it personally. I made it easy, I told them when I was unpacking the art, “Let me know if anything doesn’t fit your space or clientele” I gave them permission to refuse work. I even said that the biggest might not fit the space. Again, I made it easy for them.
With any luck, they will always remember that I was a breeze to have in their space. It is good to be remembered but it is always better to be remembered for being nice to work with. There is always another artist looking for a chance. The last thing you ever want to do is make it easy for any gallery to choose someone over you. Say thank you, smile and even if you don’t agree; do as they ask. This is their business; they know their clients and space. The gallery personnel are working hard to make you look your best. Be your best for them, they will do their best for you. Oh, and in case you were wondering; October has been easy so far.
The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in this blog belong solely to the Spokane Art School Artist-in-Residence, and not necessarily to the Spokane Art School.