I’ve grown to expect some unusual things when I visit artists in their studios.
Art studios are often messy, funny smelling, and dusty. There’s artwork all around, frequently stacked up into big piles, sometimes organized and sometimes not.
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The conversations I have with those artists tend flows in the same way—sometimes organized, sometimes not—yet it always feels natural and normal. We may talk of art, pets, dreams, WWII, marketing, pencils, coffee, tile floors, websites, tornadoes, God, varnish, lawn tractors, music, Europe, and Tilly’s cousin who used to live Dawson but then moved in with her mother up in Americus.
Yes, I’ve discussed all of that in the past. Not always in that exact order, of course.
It’s hard to stay put, in an artist’s studio. We’ll start inside, go outside, and come inside again. I’ve climbed behind bookcases, dug through piles of magazines and art, and sat on sofas drinking tea while tossing fuzzy slippers to Chihuahuas.
This is the best way I can describe a studio visit. It really is a lot of fun.
You may have read tips in various artist’s magazines on how to prepare for a studio visit from a gallery owner. Well I’m a gallery owner, and I say hogwash!!
How artists should prepare for a studio visit
Don’t change a thing!
I want to know what you are really like. . . I want to get to know each artist I represent. Yes, I do intend to help sell your art, but the way I’ll do that is by finding a connection with you and finding a connection to your artwork.
Believe me, there isn’t much in your studio, working environment, or living environment that will surprise me.
Sure, you might need to go ahead and print out some documents before a gallery owner drops by. And it would be a good idea to set out your paintings or at least know where they’re located before we arrive.
But other than that, just be yourself!
And here’s a quick word of advice for art buyers
If an artist invites you to visit their studio, don’t hesitate, just do it.
Trust me, you’ll learn more about them in a half-hour at their studio than you ever could by reading their Artist’s Statement in the gallery
If you can, while you’re at the studio, buy something. Oftentimes artists won’t even hint that yes, their artwork is actually for sale. Many are shy about that side of art. Some are not. Either way, try to buy something if you can afford it.
They’re not really expecting to make a sale, but deep down every artist hopes you might like something of theirs enough to purchase it for yourself.
Plus, it always feels good to sell something one-on-one, directly to a collector, without a gallery reception or festival noise clamoring all around you. . . especially to people you like enough to invite over to your studio.