Open Studio Tips

Last night I attended a large open studio event here in Cleveland that included private artist studios, galleries, and auction house. It was a strange night and made me and my partner in crime feel as though we were in a David Lynch film. I had been in the building many times on the ground floor, but never saw how developed the rest of the property was — very nice spaces indeed. But, nice space isn’t enough to always look professional and not look completely shifty! It brought up a lot of points about open studios if you are planning on hosting one yourself. So, here are some tips…


  • Clean your space up! I understand if you want to have your space look like Francis Bacon because it is all “tortured artist” or something, but at least clear off your surfaces where it looks a little bit like you tried. This especially goes if you are a gallery or an auction house! I’m not going to buy something from you if it looks like you are going to lose my paperwork in a mountain of magazines and trash. It says to me that you are a disorganized mess.
  • No one is going to buy an old painting at auction that is cracked all to hell, because I can imagine paint chips eventually falling into my carpet.
  • Dust your artwork, especially if you are trying to sell it for $14,000.
  • Have business cards, hoping I remember your name to google later on isn’t such a practical way of trying to market yourself.
  • Lights, they’re handy, I can see things when lights are put on them.
  • Don’t tell me how you’ve never exhibited, or sold work, because that would then make you a commercialized whore for the dollar and you want no part of that. It isn’t cute, and it doesn’t make me think you are somehow noble.
  • Don’t try to sell damaged prints to people.
  • Don’t have acoustic music or weirdo neo-folk people play art openings. Please.
  • I can smell your pot smoke, we all can, you are fooling no one with the air spray.
  • If you have busted frames, throw them out and get new ones. No one wants to buy busted art.
  • Be present, being nowhere to be found when there is a possibility of journalists who might want to photograph or interview you does you no good. This goes for artists and the gallery owners.
  • Not leaving bio information of any sort near art that I actually want to know more about, it is a no-no. Especially if it is an artist not in attendance who can’t be there to promote themselves.
  • Not giving price lists anywhere, but instead saying to people, “make me an offer”. That is vague, and totally unprofessional. I mean dude, come on.

I could go on, but these were instances that came up that I can remember.

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