What About Art School? A Few Do's and Dont's
By Founder and CEO of Auc Art, Natasha Arselan. Originally published in Fall 2017.
As roles and responsibilities become blended and integrated for artists, galleries, and institutions in the art world, artists are expected to take a more proactive approach to become involved and market themselves. As an artist you are more likely to have interest by making yourself fully accessible; building networks and interacting with your audience is key. Throughout the summer at AucArt, we toured and began selecting artists from the UK’s top 30 art school’s BA & MA degree shows. There’s nothing worse than finding a great artist at a degree show and getting back to the office to discover that the details on their business card are inaccurate or the website doesn't include an email address. It’s more likely that they’ll disappear forever, which is a nightmare. Based on our experience, here’s our list of do’s and don’ts. Remember this is just the beginning. Best of luck!
Take an opportunity that sounds too good to be true without asking as many questions as possible.
Be sloppy with emails - keep up to date with admin and correspondence (organisation and time management are key.)
Don’t give rights to all of your work (whether it be a gallery or an agent) in the first year without building and trying out the relationship with a few consigned works at a time. You want to test the waters and gain interest from multiple sources. Do not “put all your eggs in the same basket”.
Rush into a master’s degree if you don’t feel ready for one.
Print business cards without any contact details or incorrect info. It’s not cool, it’s annoying.
Bad mouth members of your network for no reason; you should appreciate the people who support you and your practice. The art world is small.
Don’t take anything or anyone for granted.
Rely on anyone to do anything for you…even your gallerist.
Set up an Instagram account and post regularly - think of this as your visual diary.
Build a simple website including images of latest work, CV, contact details. Include your email address, Instagram handle, phone number and mailing list sign up. Market yourself through social media, mailing list, any upcoming events, available work, etc.
Set up a reasonably professional and simple email address.
Begin engaging with your community as early as possible. This is something as simple as replying to their comments on social media and attending art openings.
Studio Visits - Have an open studio event and be prepared to speak about your work in a concise and professional way that is engaging and not too long. Allow time for questions and answers.
Make the most out of your degree show! Take professional photos since you’ll be marketing your work for the next few months using these photos. Make the most of this opportunity.
Always have cards next to your work and make sure your name and contact details are CORRECT and identifiable. Be at the show everyday until it closes - you never know who may turn up on the last day.
Invite as many people to your degree show as possible.
Do some research on pricing before the opening. If someone shows interest, you need to know the value of your work and check with the exhibition space on the percentage of their cut.
If there are any particular curators / gallerists you are interested in working with, introduce yourself at any given opportunity, whether at their gallery or an opening elsewhere. All relationships, even in the art world, are human.
Wrap your work properly/professionally either when taking the work to present to somebody or shipping the work to a buyer. (As seen here: http://videocenter.van.fedex.com/learn/how-to-pack-artwork)
Read contracts carefully and ask as many questions as you feel necessary.
AucArt is the world's first online auction house exclusively consigning recent graduate work. Working with some of the most promising early career artists across the UK, selling artist’s latest (many never been seen before) works to their fast growing network. AucArt facilitates access for emerging collectors looking to collect artworks & invest in artists from the beginning of their career.
For more information, check out aucart.com