Monday, March 24, 2014

Unsolicited Art Submissions and Why This Will Never Work

Anyone who has ever worked at an art gallery/organizations has seen A LOT of unsolicited emails.  They can be for art fairs, for advertising “opportunities,” or somehow mysteriously being added to a gallery or artist email blasts.  Of these the worst, the absolute worst, sort of email is the unsolicited artist’s submission.  These are from individuals who are artists and you (recipient) don’t know them and they (sender) don’t know you and there are no in-betweens to vouch for them or to have encouraged the sending of their email.  You (recipient) are on their radar, they want you to know they exist, they want to share, and they want to be on your radar.  This seems like a harmless enough thing, and it usually is, but I’m going to tell all of you (senders) who may possibly want to or think about doing this: DO NOT do this.  It is embarrassing for all involved.  It makes you (sender) seem vaguely to very desperate and us (recipient) an asshole for not responding or not liking/pay attention to this genuine plead for attention by a fellow human being.  

And yes, of course there is the occasion or circumstance where cold submissions could/can/does work but this is rare and many times this only happens with the golden ticket of recommendation or shared peer is involved.  

‘How is one to connect?’ You (sender) might be asking.  The only advice I can give is to actually meet people, a lot of them, and be yourself. Just saying ‘hi’ and that you like something they do/work with/stand for is a much better way to engage another human then to send a plea of portfolio viewing.  

Below is a small sampling of some unsolicited emails that I have gotten recently.  I know this may seem a bit mean but I am leaving them anonymous enough so it would be very hard to connect dots.  

Good luck to all you artists out there.  It is hard, but hard never excuses the cold email call.  Be cool, be yourself, this will take you everywhere you are supposed to go. 

(“--“ means omitted content, all other text has been unaltered)


My name is -- am an 19 yr old --  artist --.
-- I  was really inspired by -- art community within the space provided, and I would love to work with you all, for i believe my work would well suit the -- and vice-versa.

As seen, I work in a broad spectrum of styles and mediums, .I am fascinated by human emotions, sensuality and space. I search for a universal form of imagery in order to unlock specific reactions and emotions on the observer within each one of my pieces. I am inspired by nature, existentialism and tragedy.

I am looking for an opportunity to exhibit my work, for each of my pieces
have something to say, and as of now they eager to speak. we shall hear them.


Hello --,

I would really appreciate the opportunity to meet with you and talk about the -- art scene,--. My number is -- or you can always reach me by email. 

Currently I am showing with a gallery space in Manhattan called --, and am working in my studio most days and taking a few night classes. 

Thank you, and best wishes,

Dear Sir/Madame,
My name is -- and I am a --born artist residing in USA.  I have two master degrees in art from University of --. I am also a recipient of the prestigious -- Fellowship for two years in a row.  I am currently looking for gallery representation. This is a link to a website where I have published my art: -- 
 I am attaching my CV to this email and I hope to hear soon from you. 
Best Regards 

Dear --,

Like to introduce my recent work(series), which of the latest
has been made possible due to a residence stay at --, US
in -- 2013 focusing on "landscape" and its landuse rights, property rights and some historical implications. 

The work(series) in painting and photography addresses an issue of american conflict, which is hardly been known here in --. 

I am looking for a re-presentation of this and recent work(series). 

Please feel free to contact me in my -- Studio, in case you feel
an excerpt of the recent work or the newest series will find its home in --. 

cheers and regards
from --

Dear, --

My name is --, and I'm a young -- artist seeking exhibition opportunities here in New York. I just want to briefly introduce myself and my work to you and express my interest in having my work considered --.

I am a student of -- in -- and currently took a leave of absence to work on my own projects. I'm a painter and sculptor who also works with photos and creates installations with various mediums such as candy and fabric. My work always is and will be related to 'endless rebirth of desire' and I have created many works on dream, age and woman as a young art student.

I am writing to inquire if you are currently accepting submission proposals. If so, could you please let me know which format or materials you prefer. If you do not, I want to carefully ask you if there's any opportunity as a young artist.
If you require any additional information, I would be most happy to have it available to you.
Thank you very much for reading my email, and I will look forward to your response.


Hey thought i would reach out and see if you were interested in my work. My name is -- i live in -- and am the first -- sculptor. I have been using this medium for 7 years and have shown in SOHO, LES, Philly, Chicago, NJ and The Bahamas. I am still an emerging artist and am trying to get my name out there. Let me know if you see anything you like. Most of my pieces are larger than 3ft X 3ft.

To whom it may concern;

My name is --. I am a mix media artist looking to showcase my work and provide exposure to everyday issues on the canvas. My work is a mixture of raw and real, and combines sketches, collage work and painting techniques all on the same surface - the blank surface. My work sparks conversations, connecting people  together with relatable topics.

Please consider my mix media work for any upcoming features.
Enclosed I will attached some of my work also, feel free to check out my website.--


Hi --

I am interested in submitting work to --. I am an artist currently based in -- (about an hour and a half north of NYC). I recently finished my MFA at --. I lived in -- for eight years prior to that and am interested in getting back into the artscene there. I primarily make mixed media work on paper and artists books. Using the metaphor of the female body as a personification of nature, I explore issues such as generation and growth and the resilience of nature and the ability for adaptation, despite an inherent tendency toward disorder. Please explore my online portfolio and artists statement here:
I have also attached a copy of my CV for your reference.

Thank you for taking the time to look at my work!