Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Approaching Galleries - Part 4


Welcome to Part 4of the 'Approaching Galleries' series and I do hope you are finding it useful. This week we have the wise words and advice of Alison Bartram, owner of the successful and award-winning Heart Gallery in Hebden Bridge. Alison has been at Heart Gallery since 2006 and has gained a reputation for top quality, contemporary and innovative craft and design. I got to meet Alison for the first time at BCTF last year and I'm looking forward to working with her later this year for an exhibition in the wedding season. I was recently featured on the Heart Gallery 'Meet the Maker' spot. You can read it here...

Anyway enough of me, lets hear what Alison had to say when I asked her about being approached by new artists and designers

Do you prefer to find new artists/designers yourself or do you like them to contact you?

I'm happy with both and thoroughly enjoy visiting workshops and small shows such as BCTF and GNCCF. Now in my 7th year however I do have more artists contacting the gallery for representation. However, I quite often get info from artists who clearly have not done their homework and that's frustrating and time consuming responding. We have a certain look (as all galleries do) and work that blatantly doesn't fit in Heart Gallery would not be picked to showcase. I get slightly annoyed by those artists that send out group emails to many galleries in the hope that a few 'bite' and take their work. An artist must know their customer and therefore where that customer shops - once they know that they know which galleries to approach - simple!

How do you prefer to be approached by new designers?

I prefer an introductory email in the first instance, attaching images of work and a brief biog. A link to a website if they have one is always a good idea. Artists are always turned away if they 'cold call' at the gallery expecting to be seen without an appointment...this is unprofessional and can damage the possibility of us showcasing their work. We do get this more often than I would like and what also damages their possibility is there reaction when told they have to contact us via email initially. Those that show a bit of an 'attitude' only means that there is absolutely no way we would like to work with them; even if their work is amazing ... there has to be a relationship!

What kind of information would you hope to gain when considering stocking new work?

Initial biogs should be brief allowing us to make an informed decision without the 'frilly' bits but once a maker is chosen we would need a full artist statement, images, mughsot for publicity within the gallery and on our website and social media. It is a two way street and so artist and gallery should work together.

What kind of factors would influence your decision about whether to stock new work?

We do have a certain look so we always bear that in mind followed by craftmanship, quality and uniqueness. We also expect exclusivity as Hebden Bridge is a small town and has a reputation for being a great town full of independent and individual shops so there is no point us all selling the same things.

What is the most novel kind of way someone has got you to notice them or their work?

I've not been approached ever in a novel way but looking forward to the day someone breaks the mould and tries something new!

2 comments:

  1. Great subject, and very relevant to many artists looking to find stockists. As a local Hebden Bridge artist, I always feel grateful that Alison was the first gallery I approached, and I was accepted! I could not believe it as I had only just started on my journey as a jewellery-artist! Heart Gallery has remained my local stockist since 2008, and I consider it 'home'. Wise words from Alison!

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  2. Another fab post, thanks Sue.I've just nominated you for a Liebster Blog Award... see my blog post for details :)

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