What are the Top 5 Do’s and Don’ts for Artists Working with Galleries?

MentorMe is a free resource for creatives who wish to learn from their peers. Beautiful Bizarre Magazine mentors encourage, guide and inspire emerging artists as they explore their creativity, develop their technical skills and find their personal style. This edition of MentorMe coincided with the relaunch of Beautiful Bizarre Magazine, so to celebrate we wanted to give you, our tribe, an important Special Edition.

In this edition, we hear the thoughts and opinions of nine prominent gallerists around a very important issue for all artists, that of seeking and maintaining gallery representation ie. how you get seen and shown by a gallery, and once you are, what are they major do’s and don’ts to ensure a happy mutually beneficially relationship.

MentorMe Edition 3 Mentors:

In Edition 3 Beautiful Bizarre Magazine’s Mentors respond to the following questions:

  • How do artists get their work seen/shown by a gallery?
  • What is the biggest NO NO for artists when seeking Gallery representation?
  • After artists are given the opportunity to exhibit, what are the top 5 do’s and don’ts for artists working with galleries?

Below 3 of the 9 mentors respond to the following question:

After artists are given the opportunity to exhibit, what are the top 5 Do’s and Don’ts for artists working with galleries?

Camilla d'Errico surreal pink painting - What are the Top 5 Do's and Don'ts for Artists Working with Galleries?

Artist: Camilla d’Errico [Haven Gallery]

After artists are given the opportunity to exhibit, what are the top 5 Do’s and Don’ts for artists working with galleries?

Erica Berkowitz, Director of Haven Gallery:

  • Do not raise or double your price to accommodate the gallery’s commission. Pricing must be consistent across the board, whether selling out of your studio or via a gallery.
  • Do not over saturate your market. Schedule your shows accordingly. If you reach out to a handful of galleries, and are invited to exhibit, strategize your schedule and debuts.
  • Listen to your galleries but also consult your peers. Galleries intentions should be good because when you succeed, they succeed. But if anything seems strange, check in with your peers to ensure all is copacetic.
  • When exhibiting with a gallery for the first time, do take some extra time to make an extra special work and consider your deadlines. This introduction is essentially your first impression and could be your last if not taken seriously.
  • Do ask questions! If you’re unsure or confused by anything, ask! Communication is vital to any and all relationships and build stronger rapport between people.
  • Do not disregard the importance of a website with an updated C.V. When collectors are looking you up, to help aid in their acquisition decisions, do not make it hard for them, or your gallerist to unearth these details. There are many collectors out there who still care to see these details.

Yoko D'Holbachie pop surreal creature artwork - What are the Top 5 Do's and Don'ts for Artists Working with Galleries?

Artist: Yoko D’Holbachie [AFA Gallery]

After artists are given the opportunity to exhibit, what are the top 5 Do’s and Don’ts for artists working with galleries?

Heidi Leigh, Director of AFA Gallery New York:


  • Do show up for the opening reception if you are expected.
  • Do understand that Gallerists have a passion to spend their life promoting art the same way you have a passion to create it. What would we do without each other? In other words, we should share a mutual vision for success, both of us doing what we are best at. Your gallery works as hard as you do, too!
  • Do support the galleries PR efforts with your social media
  • Do share important info about fair market value prices and keep your wholesale/retail prices consistent. Do understand that event and overhead can be a really big nut, and all showrooms are not geographically equal; so collaborating to share advertising or event fees, is very helpful in the big apple.
  • Do be clear about specific installation information, and above all get the work to the venue on time! It’s super important for promotional efforts for a gallery to have good photographs and comprehensive information in advance.


  • Don’t blast a ‘sale’ or sell original artwork on your social media, (Sure, sell older work for great price but quietly and privately).
  • Never talk trash. If your intention is to promote art and culture in this world, then understand that while while nobody’s perfect, anybody with their whole heart in this industry must be dedicated to doing the best they can, and I think it’s so important to focus on success rather than criticism.
  • Don’t stretch yourself to thin or you may not be able to deliver what you promised.
  • Don’t take commissions from gallery clients or retail dollars and inquiries from the gallery’s publicity efforts; give these inquiries back to the gallery, and focus on what you have cooking in the studio!
  • Don’t neglect to build a portfolio for yourself or set goals for the future of your artistic career. The recent trend that some artists are trying to handle the business aspect of their own careers take time away from studio time, disturbing creative flow and slowing production momentum. The whole industry is wondering where is this road going? It seems to me that this is a slippery slope, and best idea is to do what we are all best at, and focus on that. Some collectors enjoy the recent accessibility of certain artists so much, that they go to galleries only to browse, and then search for artists willing to sell directly to them! If galleries and artists have a mutually supportive and symbiotic relationship, it is good for the goose and the gander…. two sides of the same coin that is pure gold.

Peca surreal creature art- What are the Top 5 Do's and Don'ts for Artists Working with Galleries?

Artist: Peca [Copro Gallery]

After artists are given the opportunity to exhibit, what are the top 5 Do’s and Don’ts for artists working with galleries?

Gary Pressman, Director of Copro Gallery:

  • Do your best work and really try to come up with something that is going to be noticed. If you are getting and opportunity, make the best of it!
  • Be prompt with making deadlines and don’t wait till last minute
  • Be precise and calculated with shipping if you’re not local to the gallery. Make sure it’s going to the right address and be sure to use FedEx or UPS rather than US mail, which is unpredictable.
  • Don’t worry about a high price on your work as much as making sure it will sell. Showing in a gallery is like advertising and reaps many benefits so factor that into your pricing. Nothing looks better than a red dot on your art at the opening.
  • Be easy to work with and create a good reputation and impression on everyone around you. Work with galleries and collectors as much as possible and show gratitude. Stay away from posting anything political or negative if you want to sell art. If you’re anti-republican or a democrat that could wipe out 50% of your audience.

To read the other Mentors’ answers to this question or any other in Edition 3 please click here to download our FREE Artist Resource, MentorMe.

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