Express Your Vision
Of course, looking for emerging talent can often be like searching for a diamond in the rough. Gallerists are often looking for someone who has a unique voice and is contributing something previously unseen. For Monroe, this means looking at a photographer’s entire body or work, not just a specific series, to see how consistent their work is and if, overall, it fits in with the other artists they are representing.
For Danysz, emerging talent is one of the most exciting aspects of her job. “In my job, it is not only about people who are already famous. The passion comes from the help you can bring into someone's career. It is really great when you find an artist who has an amazing vision and amazing voice but yet needs your help.”
Eli Klein of New York’s Klein Sun Gallery, which specializes in contemporary Chinese art and represents artists like Li Hongbo and Ji Zhou, not only looks at the aesthetics of an artist, but also carefully considers how their vision—and how attached they are to it—will fit in with the dynamic of the gallery.
“A key thing I look for is whether or not that artist is willing to be guided and to accept advice. If they don’t have a business model that is driving them, then they will have to be directed by a dealer or gallerist. Being willing to follow guidance and accept recommendations is important. I will often test that. If an artist is not listening to advice, not only in art but also in life, that is a warning sign to me.”
Show Your Dedication
With such a close business and creative relationship, it’s crucial that artists make it known how dedicated they are to their craft. Just as you are hungry to get your artwork shown and further your career, every employee in the gallery has a career that is influenced by the gallery-artist working relationship. As such, galleries want to know you are in 100% for the long haul, and you should expect the same from them.
“What I look for is the dedication to becoming a professional artist, which really takes a lot—all of that person’s heart, brain, and soul,” Klein shares. “Talent is important but there is so much more than that.” In fact, Klein loves working with artists who take pride in ensuring every detail is in place and those who look beyond just producing the artwork. Artists who press for information about curators, press releases, and long-term plans for promoting their work signal to him that they mean business—and that his investment in them is reciprocated.
Dedication is also key for Danysz, as it helps unite the entire team around a common passion for pushing their art. “An artist has to be 300% dedicated to his art and take us higher every day. You want people who have a vision and know how to make the other ones dream.”