Why and how should I organise my artistic practice?
You’ll never see some of the artworks that leave your studio again. At least not physically once they are sold, donated, or destroyed. That’s why documenting your work is crucial to keep a complete overview of your entire body of work.
An organised overview of your artworks helps you to work with consistency on titles, material descriptions, editions, pricing, ... This helps your professional aura towards collectors, curators and everybody interested in your work.
Cataloguing your art helps you to decide when an artwork is “finished”. This is a very important artistic step in the creation process. Even if certain artworks have the tendency to transform over the years, it's best to catalogue all of its stages.
Discover relations between your artworks and contacts. Who shows interest in your work? Which works have been shown where? Who is buying your work on a regular base? To whom did you send a proposal and which specific artwork(s)? Which people should get information when you exhibit? Which curators and critics show interest for which works? Build strong relationships by growing your knowledge about people.
Create a treasure of valuable information (for instance exhibition history) to valorize your individual artworks and total body of work.
Prepare your studio visits. Not all of your artworks will be at your studio. Make sure you have an organized and professional way to present a good overview of your work to potential collaborators and clients.
Make sure your work is visible for the world to find.
Hereby also a checklist of all the things you should do before, during, and after an exhibition.
Check if there is a production budget or artist honorarium. Make sure to agree on financial conditions.
Add the exhibition to your CV.
Gather all details of the artworks you'll be showing such as complete captions, image(s), pricing, packing, location, etc.
If you produce new artworks: register your production costs, who covered these costs, and when and how they should be reimbursed.
Get a quickly accessible overview of all the artworks for the upcoming exhibition.
Communicate artworks, packing information and pick-up location(s) with the exhibitor.
Make a loan agreement with insurance values. If commercial, make a consignment with added prices. See here for more information on the difference. Make sure to get it signed by the exhibitor before transporting them.
Take pictures of the condition of the artwork(s) before transporting them.
Send out installation instructions if relevant.
Create an informative document about the exhibited artworks.
Create a price list of the exhibited artworks (if commercial).
If you are a gallery artist, inform the gallery on time about exhibition details and artworks you are showing. Send them a list of available artworks so they can already start working with this information.
Share an informative document with your network: potential collectors, galleries, curators, press, etc.
Proofread texts accompanying the exhibition such as the press release, artwork labels, courtesy lines, etc.
If applicable, ask for condition report pictures when the artworks have arrived at the exhibition venue.
Don't hesitate proposing works when someone shows interest. Do it as fast as possible and get your proposal out.
Keep track of what you've sent and to whom. This information will be very valuable and useful for maintaining future professional relationships.
Register all sales details very carefully. Knowing your clients and their collections makes you a reliable partner.
Ask for installation views. Don't forget to include the photo credits later on!
Get an overview of all the works that need to be transported to your own storage, the ones that should remain at the gallery, and the ones that should be delivered to collectors.
Check the condition of the artwork(s) upon return carefully. If there is any damage, report it immediately. Don't forget to register this for your own reference as well.
Register the new locations of the artworks carefully.
Register all the people you were in contact with so you can reach out to them the next time you're having an exhibition or are participating in an art fair.
Send collectors all the correct and complete information about the work they've bought. It creates a professional relationship and will help them with cataloging their collection.
We're convinced that following these tips will help you get to that next level in your professional art career.
Please note that amy and its team take no responsibility for any legal disputes or other that might arise from using the information in this blog. It serves purely as an example and should not be interpreted as any sort of legal advice.