Every artist hopes for one: The Solo Art Show. As dreamed about as these exhibits are for artists, a lot of art patrons wonder exactly what goes in to producing a solo show. Here's a clue - decisions, decisions, decisions.
My solo exhibit was shown the month of May and concluded on June 4th. It was a wonderful experience and was well received by gallery patrons. I'm so thankful for all the visitors who came to the gallery to see my work. Quite a bit of effort went into putting the show together, and I loved every minute of it. (well... almost.)
When the owners of Framations Gallery contacted me, we worked together on setting the dates and duration of the show. Were there any major holidays happening during the exhibit? When would we have opening night? How much space would I need to fill with my artwork? These were just a few of the initial questions that had to be answered.
Then I moved on to some of the major decisions. What would the theme or focus of the show be? How many pieces of art would be needed? Did I have any artwork already done and framed that would be suitable for this theme? Did I have a range of prices in my group of paintings?
Typically an art gallery prefers to have around 15-20 cohesive pieces of art for a one person show. This number can vary greatly, of course, depending on the size and location of the gallery. But, it's a good idea to have that many pieces ready. It's smart to include artwork that is already completed for the show IF it coordinates with the theme, and is relatively current work. For example, I wouldn't want to include a painting I did five years ago since my style and ability has changed so much over the last five years.
The theme of the exhibit and the artwork to be included are the main decisions to be made when planning a show. Working out whether there will be prints, greeting cards, and other items is the next thing to decide. There will be a lot of people come through the exhibit who are not in the market for an original painting. The next best thing is to have high quality prints and greeting cards available for these patrons to purchase. It's good to offer choices.
Promoting the exhibit isn't nearly as enjoyable as coming up with a theme, or creating the artwork, but is something that has to be done. It's important to have gallery input when making these decisions. Some galleries take all the responsibilities for promoting all their shows, and others do no promotion at all, leaving this up to the individual artists. Most often, the marketing of a show is done by a collaboration between the artist and the gallery. Just some of the promotions that can be done for a gallery show are mailing postcards, marketing on social media, newspaper ads, etc. Out of all these options, I've found marketing on my social media sites to be the most effective, and purchasing newspaper ads to be the least.
The last minute details of putting together a solo exhibit would make any artist anxious. Framing the paintings, naming them, pricing them, then hanging them are all important aspects of the show. Sometimes it takes most of the day just to hang the paintings on the wall of the gallery. There is lighting to consider, and which paintings look best in each part of the gallery. If an artist is really fortunate (as I was) the gallery curators will hang the paintings.
Finally, the last stroke is ready to be placed. Opening night, otherwise known as the "Artist Reception". I'm sure there are some hard and fast statistics somewhere, but I'm pretty sure the biggest percentage of artwork sold during the entire length of the show is done during this reception. It's a good idea to have the artist reception be a reflection of the show theme. It can be as unique as the artist.
The artist opening night has many options. Will there be food and drinks? Will there be wine or alcohol? If so, is a liquor license needed for the gallery? Will the gallery or the artist be providing these things, or will this be a collaboration as well? Whatever is decided about this night, one thing is certain. It is a very special night in the life of an artist.
The artist reception evening for my show at Framations Gallery was a high point in my art career. On the night of the reception, everything was ready but I had not seen the final show. Something about walking into a room filled with your own art is overwhelming. This is a feeling that will live in me for a very long time. I would like to say a special thank you to the wonderful people at Framations Gallery and also to all my friends and patrons who came to view the show.
As a wildlife and children’s portrait artist, Sandy Brooks uses pencils and pastels to capture through art her awe for the untouched and untainted in today’s pressurized world. Her works express the innocent emotions of animals and children who explore the world as one with unlimited possibilities, unaware of the barriers that hold us back from our own happiness. Whether her subjects are humorous or striking or dramatic, the end result is always intimate and inspiring.