"Starving" to Successful: The Fine Artist's Guide to Getting Into Galleries and Selling More Art

by: J. Jason Horejs (0)

Have you ever wondered if you have what it takes to show your work in galleries? Have you felt frustrated because you are unsure how to best approach galleries for representation? Do you know what you need to do to prepare your work, your portfolio, and yourself to make an effective approach? Starving to Successful | The Fine Artist's Guide to Getting into Galleries and Selling More Art will answer these questions and many more as you prepare to increase your presence in the gallery market. Written by J. Jason Horejs, owner of Xanadu Gallery in Scottsdale, AZ, Starving to Successful will give you pragmatic advice and concrete, actionable steps you can begin implementing immediately to become more successful in marketing your work to galleries. Gain insight into what a gallery owner is thinking as he or she reviews your portfolio. Understand why the most common approaches artists make to galleries are largely ineffective. Learn what most artists fail to do in preparing their work for sale. Starving to Successful will change the way you look at the artist/gallery relationship, and will set your art career on a new path.

The Reviews

This is rather a short read and it's written in a personable style free of a lot of art jargon. I had the impression the book came from an on-demand printing outfit and self-published on the cheap. I could be wrong, but I expected better design and typography from an art gallery. The book was a bit pricey for its length, which also indicates self-publication. No matter. He probably wanted to save money--good for him.Mr. Horejs zeros in on the crux of the matter and tells the fine artist what he needs to know about trying to obtain gallery representation. A lot of it will be seen as common sense to any experienced artist, but there were a few things that struck me as being worth the price of the book. Example, when I wanted to get into a gallery, I printed up cards and a flyer, etc. Waste of money. I'll never burn another CD, either.One thing in the book he mentions is a story about his father who quickly dropped out of art school. Apparently the instructor discouraged students right off the bat by telling them to forget about making a living as a fine artist. If they wanted to make money, they'd have to become teachers. This struck me as sage advice. Too many young artists dream of fame and riches and that notion should be discarded. I should add to the instructor's advice--they might also consider becoming commercial artists as another option. That's what I am. Although I have sold quite a few paintings in my life, there's just no way to make a steady living from it. Well, a few can--a lucky few who have what Jason suggests in his book...confidence, top-shelf talent, a work ethic, salesmanship and a bit of luck. Still, most artists just aren't natural salesman and walking in cold with a fake smile and a memorized script to try to snag representation from a reluctant and busy owner? Well, that's just not going to happen. Most artists would rather walk on hot coals than go in and get rejected by some distant, haughty owner in a suit who probably considers most artists to be mediocre or a dime a dozen. (And he might have a point--there a LOT of artists out there of all stripes and they're all wanting to sell their work).So, it's not the gallery owner's fault that he gets tired of being hit upon by an endless parade of wannabes. The author made it plain that it's a business and he's doing it to make money. There is no shortage of artists and more are banging on the doors for representation every year. Fine artists are like musicians. Music schools graduate thousands of fabulously talented musicians every year and how many will expect to play for a major orchestra? Very few can make a living at it without becoming a teacher. Same way with fine artists. So even though the book does offer hope, as an artist, I am here to dash those hopes a bit...because in my opinion it's extremely unlikely you'll be able to get into a gallery 'cold.' Yeah, he had some examples, but I remain skeptical. I'm here to tell most artists that you'll probably be happier with a modest job while living frugally and doing fine art on the side. Do what YOU want to do rather than trying to guess what gallery owners want. Gallery owners cater to rich people looking for something to match their $40,000 Italian sofa. Try selling your work at local fairs, farmer's markets or online (not easy as he says) or to friends and family and art shows. Seek out restaurants, libraries and such as alternatives to galleries. OH--one more thing. As far as art goes, the author says everything under the sun has already been done. He may have a point, but I reject such blatant cynicism. There are still paths in art that aren't well-trodden. I'm on one right now and I believe my vision is fairly unique. Even if it has already been done it hasn't been done by YOU. So to all you fine artists out there--don't give up on your dream merely because you may not be able to make it into a gallery. It's not the end of the world. Art is more about meaning than money. If you provide the meaning, then money and fame may or may not come....but if you try to force the issue most likely it will never come. To me, walking in cold to a gallery with a forced grin and scripted speech is forcing it. However, if you can summon up the chutzpah to do that--good luck.

I would highly recommend this book to any artist. Very straightforward with lots of examples and good advice. Just read it a second time. I might have to buy the printed version.

It is one of a kind book from a Gallery Owner's perspective. I enjoyed reading it and will like to reread it again from time to time especially when I am ready to use galleries to represent me.The reason I am giving three instead of five stars is because the writer/gallery owner Jason Horejs did not present the solution to a problem he stated when it comes to submitting the artwork for the artists. I am an Artist and it seems a bit odd to me that a gallery owner would not even bother to look at my work if I am to submit it to them to seek the gallery representation. Otherwise, this book is well written and easy to read.In this book which will soon be dated IMHO, he still maintains the gallery having the power to accept or reject the artists they deem worthy and more often than not the gallery owners don't even bother to go through the portfolios submitted by the artists who may very well can be a good fit for the gallery. That just sounds wrong as to me it is part of their job to be doing their diligent homework and research in seeking out qualified artists instead of cowering to face to face confrontation. However, I am not a gallery owner so I am not going to make that judgement call.What I am observing is that with the changing trend at this time, it will soon be the artists who will be doing the picking and choosing of the galleries they would like to represent them instead of the other way around. Everyday more and more B&M Galleries are shutting down than opening up. With the booming internet sales, artists are thriving and if they are talented enough and have learnt the proper marketing skills (through research and reading books) they have a pretty far reach (sometimes even global) when it comes to finding proper collectors for their art. It will need more than the ego stroking validation that would lure them to have their work sold in a gallery. Again, this book is written from a gallery owner's perspective not the artist so of course there is a difference of opinion.Lastly, I am also noticing that most galleries are expecting the artists to pick up the shipping cost of the artwork (round trip so to speak) even if you are out of state/town after a few weeks if the artwork does not sell. That is huge and something to be taken notice of. I find this totally unreasonable IMHO because it should be 50-50 akin to the commission the gallery charges. I really feel for those artists who are that desperate to seek a gallery representation -- I am not in their shoes, I really cannot relate. I just hope that artists should stand firm on their ground and refuse to be a door-mat and ask the gallery to pay their share.I am grateful to Jason Horejs to have written this book because the romance of having my work represented in a gallery setting has now cease to exist -- at least for the time being. I can market my work better than any gallery that has represented me to date, and as far as the 'prestige' is concerned -- it is far more exciting to have the patrons visit me face to face and buy directly from me. Yes, at first it is a lot of work, but then in time the relationships develops and that alone does the marketing for the artist. I cannot predict my future as to what the supply/demand situation would be like for my work but for now I am content to do it on my own.BOTTOM-LINE: If you are an artist seeking a gallery to represent you and that is your main goal in life, this is the best book for you. It will tell you exactly how to go about seeking the gallery representation and how to handle yourself in front of the gallery owner. If you are good in doing your own self-promotion and have an outgoing personality, this may not be the book for you. If you are an awesome artist who has full faith in yourself and your ability to succeed, you can find patrons with or without any gallery representation. I have done so and I am doing it each and every year.

This was a great book, which is why I gave it five stars.However I have a bone to pick with this authors attitude toward artists, because of something he wrote in this book. He takes a very stereotypical approach to the viewpoint of artists. The reason why I still gave him five stars is because I believe most gallery owners take this viewpoint, and one of the points of this book is to learn their view points.This writer expresses and believes that there is nothing new to learn in art. He says that it has all been done. This pretty much wipes out the one reason why I do what I do. I love to innovate, and I believe I am creating new ways of doing what I do, and I believe I am contributing to the art world in some way.I was shocked that he wrote this. The problem is, his belief is the same as what I hear from other owners. So it needed to be said.I will say this though- If you are more of an art innovator as I am, it may still be a good idea to read this book, however, if any gallery owner ever comes across you and wants to represent you, and they think like this man does, I suggest you find someone else. What's the point of having your number one fan (the person selling your work) showing your work to others if he/she doesn't even believe in what you are trying to do?This man has some great information packed into this book, but Jason, I would never want to have anyone like you represent me or my work. It would be so depressing. I mean what's the point of creating if the people that matter the most don't even care?

"Starving" to Successful: The Fine Artist's Guide to Getting Into Galleries and Selling More Art
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