The Changing Relationship Between Gallery and Artists

In our ever-evolving world where the art industry is becoming increasingly competitive and the digital world overwhelming our daily lives, how is the relationship between galleries and artists changing? How can artists make the most of new opportunities and use those resources to promote their work?

Those were some of the questions addressed during a panel discussion we had the pleasure of hosting at the gallery on 31st May 2017, as part of the series of events organised for PROJECT2017. The speakers included independent artist Hermione Carline, artist and art dealer Lisa Sharpe, and Artsy Gallery Relations Manager Gemma Rolls-Bentley. I would like to thank them for taking part in this lively conversation and sharing their precious insights and advice with us.

The discussion kicked off addressing the best strategies artists need to adopt to promote their work. One of the most interesting points raised was the need for artists to be proactive. Given the art world has become so competitive, artists need to engage with all opportunities made available to them. Engaging with social media is key in that regard. The more active you are on social media the better it is, insisted Gemma Rolls-Bentley.

As Lisa Sharpe suggested, artists even need to create their own opportunities. Whether that be through reaching out locally to media outlets, restaurants, local organisations, many opportunities are worth seeking in order for an artist’s voice to be heard. Lisa Sharpe’s experience transitioning from being an art dealer to becoming an artist was particularly inspiring. Her advice was for artists to believe in themselves and be proactive.

All speakers agreed that although the art world is constantly evolving, the fundamentals of the relationship between a gallery and an artist remain the same. Galleries play and continue to play a crucial role in supporting artists and promoting their work.

In that regard, PROJECT2017’s aim was highlighted. I am particularly grateful for our guests to have recognised the role PROJECT2017 has played in opening new opportunities for artists. PROJECT2017 was imagined specifically for that purpose. Knowing how difficult it is for emerging artists to secure gallery opportunities, PROJECT2017 was created to offer a new platform for them to engage with the public and share their work.

Today, I believe one of artists’ fundamental expectations is to present their work on a global platform. That is why a core idea behind PROJECT2017 was to take a global approach to promote international artists. We received applications from all around the world and selected 12 artists from diverse backgrounds. The launch of PROJECT2017’s online shop and the PROJECT2017 competition also responded to our desire to make the artists’ works accessible to as wide an audience as possible.

With more than 1000 votes entered, I can confidently say that the PROJECT2017 competition was a great success. It was a very special moment for me to announce the winner of the PROJECT2017 competition yesterday evening. Congratulations to Lulu Manasseh for winning a solo exhibition opportunity at Gallery Elena Shchukina - We look forward to working with you!

I would also like to add that what I have enjoyed the most in organising PROJECT2017 has been the spirit of this event. We all know the art world is competitive. Yet, PROJECT2017 is not about competition. The preview event of PROJECT2017 perfectly illustrated this. Artists had invited their friends and relatives, who all shared their ideas on the works of art displayed and were inspired by each other’s experiences. This hints to one last interesting point Hermione Carline raised during the panel discussion, what galleries need to do today is work together and pull together as an industry to promote artists’ work.