Monday, 19 January 2015

Getting Ready To Sell

For many years I lived in South London and worked in Westminster.  I commuted either by bus or latterly by bicycle.

And every work day I passed Morley College.

And I never, ever went in.  In truth, at the time, I probably wasn't really aware of the sorts of courses offered by Morley.

Well if you read Kim Winter's blog or Avril Horn's blog then you might have heard of Morley before, for both these talented ladies have done courses there.

Before Christmas you may recall that I met Kim in the flesh.  I blogged about it here.  Prior to that meeting we were just cyber buddies.

Kim told me about a day course being held at Morley to help artists learn how to sell - directly to the public, via open houses and to galleries.

So I signed up and went along to the course, which was held last Saturday.

And what a brilliant day it was.

First of all we had a very interesting session lead by Steven Sparling from The Thriving Creative.  Steven used interactive workshops to get us to 'think' about how we communicate with each other and how to overcome some of the awkwardness many of us have when we are 'selling' - and lets be honest, most of us are not at all comfortable with the idea of selling, especially our own work.

Steven is a lovely guy, and I found it a very inspiring session.

Then we had a session by Gabriela Szulman on how to prepare for and run an Open Studio/Open House.  You may recall that in November it was Gabriela who hosted the Open House where I met Kim.

Gabriela is a power house when it comes to selling both her work and providing a venue and an event for other artists.  It turned out that a few years ago, working with another artist, she ran a series of events in run down buildings in central London, including the amazing Gilbert Scott building that is now the St Pancras Hotel.

She is also an old hand at running Open Studio events. And she is very generous with her knowledge, passing on to us lots of tips and techniques to make an open studio event a success. I took copious notes.

With a couple of colleagues who I met doing adult education courses, I hope to partake in my first opened studios event later this year. Following Gabriellas comprehensive session I can tell you that there will be a comprehensive project plan! 

And the final session of the day was hosted by Gita Joshi of Orsa Major gallery.

I guess for me this last session was jumping ahead a bit. I would be lying if I said that I did not want to sell some of my work and that I wasn't interested in finding a gallery. But my inclination is that I should walk before I run and so I suppose, realistically, this is a little way down the line.

That said, this was still very interesting session. Gita was also very generous with her time and her knowledge. The key thing I took away from the session is that you have to be very professional before you approach any gallery or shop. She advised that a Gallery isn't going to take an artist on unless that artist can demonstrate that their work actually sells.

Clearly that is a bit of a challenge. In order to establish that work does sell you need a sales channel. However, that sales channel does not have to be formal . It would seem that having an on line shop or doing an open studio would be perfectly acceptable. 

This is quite acceptable when you think about it. Galleries are also businesses and need to survive. To pay the rent they need to sell work and take commission. Space has cost attached to it so the gallery is going to have to be confident that it can sell your work to cover its costs before taking you on.

All in all a very interesting, useful and informative way to spend a Saturday. 

Watch this space as the Open Studios plans develop. 






2 comments:

  1. Oh gosh, I do envy you your proximity to such exciting venues!! Lucky you!

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    Replies
    1. Well it wasn't right on my doorstep, but London is not too far, plus I have friends and relations there so can stay over easily enough if needed.

      The course was great and the sort of day course that could easily be replicated elsewhere. In particular hearing first hand from a gallery owner was really useful. Nothing earth shattering (all common sense really) but so great to hear it from the horses mouth.

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