An Artist's Life

Robin Wethe Altman

The Festival of Arts in Laguna Beach helped me with a scholarship to Principia College. My Art professor in college was James Green who studied with the California Regionalists in the 40s. I've learned how to market my artwork. I love the freedom of diversity.

This blog is about the thoughts and feelings that I have related to creating the art that I do. I share my process, problems, inspirations and victories. I am a professional artist in Southern California and my partner is a professional electric violinist. We are in our 50's and are loving life!

Advice to an Artist on how to deal with Galleries

  • Robin Wethe Altman, a Self Portrait

    Robin Wethe Altman, a Self Portrait

    This is a self portrait I did of myself in my College days. Its one of my few oil paintings.

As an artist, I've been in about 15 different galleries and I can say that some experiences have been better than others. This was a response I had to several other suggestions on the subject.

I have these tips for an artist approaching a gallery:

Make sure the gallery is interested in your "type" of art.
Call and make an appointment because usually they don't like to be interrupted. Having said that, if they don't call back, then consider going in to see them at a quiet time of day.

SEND them a packet of professional photos and a nicely put together Bio. Once you are in a gallery, keep in touch regularly. Go in to actually see where your paintings are. It won't do you much good if they are in a stack behind 10 other paintings. Let the visit also be about touching base with the seller. How are they feeling? Do they need something more?

As long as you are in the gallery, try to keep a positive attitude while at the same time being up front with the gallery owner about how you feel. Most problems can be logically talked through if you don't get upset right off the bat.

Bring new work in if something isn't moving.

Do what you can to get new customers to the gallery.

Come to the openings, be pleasant to the collectors and don't appear desperate. Often people want to know about you. Tell them a little bit about your life that might be appealing to them. Sometimes people are buying a little of your life as well as a painting. Make your life interesting (but not too interesting if yo know what I mean) Show people how you feel about your artwork. Show them the love you put into it. If you don't value it, why should they?

Be patient with the fact that some collectors will not buy work right away. They want to know about you first. They want to get a feel about you and what you do. Don't worry, they often come back to buy later, especially if you have done your part.

If galleries can't help you, consider getting into artist represented shows. But there you will truly have to be a salesperson too. I was shy in the beginning, but because I love my career so much, I learned to be outgoing. I learned to care about the collector. I've realized that my art is not just about me, its about me caring about life, caring about people, helping to others to feel.

I have found that in some galleries, its more about "hype" than actual quality of art. Sometimes I wonder if some gallery owners even know much about art. I've ended up doing very well in some galleries that were hesitant about taking me in. Once they see how the buyers relate, they were more eager to have me. It makes a big difference when a gallery seller genuinely loves what you do. That will come across to the buyers. I appreciate galleries that actually love the art itself and are not more concerned with "making the deal". When there is respect for people all around and appreciation for the art itself, everyone has a much better experience and the money that is made is more satisfying for everyone. Life is more satisfying.

Lastly to the artist I will say, try to stay in the love of what you do. Love your own art and see it through your own eyes mostly. Do consider suggestions at times. Believe that you are here for a purpose and that the Universe loves you and wants you to excel not to suffer. You will find that your beliefs and focus on the positive will lead you to the right outlet for your work and to every solution for all that you need. Attitude is everything, it is the basis of the "law of attraction".

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