Ever wondered what it takes to plan and host your own exhibition?
This summer will see The Picture Show hit London, a colourful showcase exhibiting the works of ten emerging talents, working across a range of medium including paint, textiles and digital art. Here, one of the exhibitors, June Chanpoomidole, shares what it’s like to plan and prepare for an exhibition of your own work.
We’re all friends (mostly from university) and a couple of us in the group were talking about having an exhibition together,
and the ball kept rolling from there! We wanted to showcase our works and promote ourselves, especially as we have developed so much since university. We thought: ‘now is a great time to have an exhibition together’.
There are so many talented people who will be exhibiting: Jo Cheung, Chetan Kumar, Emma Cowley, Chrissy Wallace, Kellie Black, Vinesh Shah, Emily Bakes, Amber Dickinson and Kyle Maclennan. It’s a really exciting variety of work, as we all have different strengths, ranging from textiles and 3D work to drawing and painting.
In our initial planning stages, when we were choosing venues, the Coningsby Gallery was our first choice. The reason we chose Coningsby is because it is a beautiful gallery in the heart of London. I’ve been to exhibitions there before, and I have always enjoyed them. They specialise in contemporary art, illustration and design so I knew they would be perfect for us.
I pitched to Coningsby about our exhibition and they really loved the idea – our pitch stood out to them and we are so excited to be holding our first group exhibition with them.
I think what I’m most looking forward to is when the wait is over and the exhibition is hung and started! The thought of seeing my friends and family seeing the fruits of our labour is exciting, and also seeing visitors looking at your work will be so rewarding.
There’s always something to be worried about, though. As the time draws nearer, I think, as each of us are perfectionists, we all want our work to reflect our passion and our abilities. That’s really a positive though, because you work harder on the things you most care about. I’m nervous whether the people will like the pieces I have created!
For people who’d like to have their work featured in an exhibition one day, I’d say definitely plan ahead and save up! It helps too if you have a body of work and portfolio to begin with. Having an exhibition is so rewarding but it is ultimately an investment in your creative career. There are so many things you don’t even realise you need to consider like publicity, marketing, finances, having a budget, etc. You really need to invest in your exhibition as much as you can. It’s a really good idea to approach companies for sponsorship, to support your exhibition.
If you have a tight knit group with your friends or people whose work compliments yours, definitely suggest the idea of an exhibition with them and what would you like from the exhibition. You can even enter competitions to be exhibited in an exhibition (although obviously read the T&Cs).
It is also a really good idea if you have been to the gallery you have in mind before, seen the kind of exhibitions they hold, and are able to gauge whether it is suitable for your exhibition. Also, you must always delegate tasks.
It can be inundating at times; it’s a definite plus to exhibit with your friends, as you know they will support you. Be super nice to everyone and accept that you will make mistakes along the way. Also, understand that organising an exhibition is a huge learning curve.
For me, I got to know and meet new people while organising The Picture Show and that’s definitely given me confidence to organse an exhibition again in the near future.
The Picture Show will be at the Coningsby Gallery (30 Tottenham Street, Marylebone, London W1T 4RJ) between 16th-21st July 2012. Visit www.thepicshow.co.uk or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.