Hello, how are you all this week?
In this week’s blog I wanted to touch on a question that a Hub member asked me regarding framing. It was, “Is it necessary to frame my work before approaching a gallery”? It’s a really good question that leads onto many other points. 
A frame is a very personal choice, and I personally never framed any of my artwork. I hung them from thick poles that had an industrial feel to them. I then hung my canvas from these so it felt kind of raw. These went into exhibitions and they sold out, so you don’t need to frame your work for it to sell. 
How do I want my work to be seen? 
One of the biggest things I learnt in the last year of my days at uni was that when you finish your work, it doesn’t end there, and it’s so true. The way it’s presented is so important and there are many ways other than simply framing. Play around with presenting your work and have fun. Think: 

  • How do I want my artwork to be seen? 
  • Does it need to be framed? 
  • Can you hang it from wire or poles? 
  • What look are you wanting to achieve?  
  • How will your work change?
Now, if there is one piece of advice I can give you it is, don’t be afraid to play around with the way you present your work. Throw caution to the wind and it can sometimes pay off. 
It all depends on the gallery…
There are many types of art galleries and no one type is the same. There are commercial galleries that are there to sell, and within that bucket of commercial galleries, there are lots of different types; there are touristy galleries to the high-end galleries. The list goes on. So, as you can see there are no set answers as it all depends on the individual gallery that you are talking to.
If you are approaching a gallery, the best thing you can do is research. Do your homework and look at what your galleries are selling. Are they framed? How are they hanging? Look at their social media, website, go in and see what’s selling. Get a sense of what they want from artists and determine how they like to be approached.

A Hub member, Kelly, gave some great advice on this question. She suggested that you frame a couple of pieces that you can show the gallery, along with your portfolio and show them how your artwork looks in frames in different ways.

I think that is a great idea as you are giving them the best of both worlds. Always remember, if you have a conversation with a gallery about your work, the presentation is something that can be changed and adapted for their customer base. You can have really nice conversations with galleries about presentation, what they expect, what sells better in their gallery.
So, the reasons I say no, it’s not necessary is because, I think if you approach with the idea of showing them examples on how you’ve pictured presenting your artwork, but stating that you’re open to ideas, you are giving yourself a really good starting point for a nice conversation with the gallery on how to make your artwork fit and to be sellable.
So here are some points to recap:
  1. Do your homework on galleries. See what they like, ask questions and find out what sells well and play around with your presentation. 
  2. There is a balancing act of how you want your work to look and feel and how you take ownership of that, as well as looking at that other element of what’s selling and making your work presentable to fit that audience. 
  3. How much flexibility do you want to give to change the way your work is presented to fit a gallery or an opportunity?
I really hope this helps you get a bigger picture on presentation and that there are more ways of presenting your artwork than just framing. Do what makes you feel confident, happy and professional as an artist – you’ve got this!

Much love, 

Michelle xx