Tips to Submit Art to an Art Gallery

Let’s be clear. This is a clear, no nonsense guide for artists on how to approach galleries. The aim is to give you an instruction step-by-step so that you appear in a professional way and galleries will have confidence in your work and be able to sell it. It doesn’t tell you the kind of artist you should be or what type of work you should create.

For art gallery owners, much all of the time is spent in answering emails and talking to artists who have that hopeful expression. I have a few gallery directors and what is evident is that the vast majority of artists don’t know what galleries are looking for or what they do. What is most shocking to me is the fact that a lot of these artists have finished an art degree but yet don’t know the smallest thing about approaching galleries.


Sale or return?

A majority of galleries show your work on a sale or return basis. You deliver the work to the gallery and they display it and, upon sale of your work, the gallery receives a commission and pays you the balance. If the work doesn’t sell after an agreed period the piece is returned to you. Simple.


Commissions can range from 20% up to 60 up to 60. Online sites offer commissions that are lowest commissions, but they also have the cost of overheads the least and have most likely to sell your work. The artist I interviewed asked what am I doing with my X percent. You need to understand that galleries are taking the risk of artists. Owners put a huge amount of funds and time to build the gallery, and if it doesn’t work and nothing is sold, there’s no business. As an artist you may have put some materials and time in , but make it sure that the risk is on the shoulders of galleries. Visit:-


Do your homework.

You should determine which galleries are appropriate to exhibit your work. It is not a good idea to approach a graffiti studio if you draw traditional scenes. Visit the gallery and simply browse around through their website and read the additional content on the gallery to find out the kind of market it’s targeting before you do anything else. Don’t inform the gallery in your scout that you’re an artist, as you may not be able to prepare.

Create your portfolio

All a gallery needs to see are your photographs. The amount of artists who come in and say they’re artists but do not have anything that they can show is astonishing. An artist without any artwork, isn’t it? Perhaps even worse is showing me on what you are showing on your mobile phone. Are you sure that professional artists would display something that valuable in their mobile phone?

Select your Images

Choose four or five photos that best reflect your style and are most commercial (sellable). You can ask several people to give their opinion on the best images to submit. There is likely to be some consensus about your best work, but it could be different from the ones you’d picked.

Prepare your images

Check that the images are high-quality and not too large or too small (200k and up 1.5mb is sufficient). Take digital photos of the work you’ve created in bright indirect sunlight. Cut them in such a way that you are left with the art only. If the artwork you are working on has a textures that aren’t apparent and is hard to capture in a straight forward photo, you can do the close-up from the opposite angle.


If you have a website this is a plus when it’s clear and simple to navigate. Web hosts like Mr Site offer very reasonably cost options to get an easy-to-use but elegant site that shows your work off to the highest level.

Don’t send the link to the gallery for images that you’d like the gallery’s owner not see. Don’t be excuses for it not being of the highest quality. Make sure you get it up to par or stop sending the link.

The e-mail/Letter

Personally, I prefer receiving images via email but posting prints by post is an extremely effective (if more costly) way of grabbing the attention of the gallery owner.

Don’t bring your artwork to the gallery unless you are asked. It’s happened before and is extremely awkward for me as well as the artist when I know within 2 seconds whether it is suitable for the gallery or not.

Make sure to write the e-mail or letter in a succinct, concise and professional way. I’ll only be able to read an extended e-mail if images are decent, however I’m not looking for a life story.

Introduce yourself. A couple of paragraphs about your background.

Declare your intent It is a must for anyone who is approaching a gallery. “I Frederick Blogs am looking for gallery representation and would like you to take a look at some of my work.”

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