7 Reasons Why Your Art Is Not in Galleries

Updated on March 8, 2018

Intro: Getting Into Galleries

Since artists and galleries have coexisted, it's been the ambition of many artists to have their work exhibited to the public. Being in a gallery is an amazing advantage, because an artist basically has an agent to show and sell their work for them. While they take a percentage, they often have marketing strategies and opportunities greater than that of an independent artist. Because of this advantage, many artists are constantly vying for a spot. However, sometimes it is not so easy. Artists experience a lot of rejection, for reasons both rational and irrational. Sometimes artists should not take the rejection personally, but other times they should take the criticism seriously and maybe reevaluate their work. Here are 7 reasons you may not be getting into a gallery.

Is It Crowded In Here?

1. The Gallery Is Already Full

Galleries are busy and full of artists. Perhaps they are simply out of room at the moment. Galleries are known to put on shows featuring one or two artists. If not, they might still have a packed house. In this case, there may be nothing wrong with your art, style or anything of the sort. If this is the case, all you have to do is wait for a spot to open up and be persistent.

One Of These Things Is Different

2. Your Style Does Not Match Their Collection

Your art is brilliant, and very high quality. But the fact is, some galleries are committed to a certain style or genre. Sometimes it's modern, realistic, or exclusively landscapes. If your art does not align with the collection they already feature, you might be turned down. Once again, your art is not at fault and you should not take it personally. All you have to do is find a gallery that has your type of work.

3. Your Art Does Not Speak To The Surrounding Community

This goes hand-in-hand with number 2. The purpose of a gallery is to sell work. To do that, they must cater to the town, city or community that surrounds them. If your style does not appeal to the buying community, your art will make no money and therefore, not benefit the gallery. If the gallery director thinks they cannot sell your work, your art may be turned down.

Some People Are Jerks

4. The Gallery Directer Does Not Like You

As irrational as this is, it happens sometimes. Gallery directors are people, and people are highly irrational. Sometimes, a director dislikes an artist, especially if the artist is rude or arrogant. This is why the artist should always be polite. Sometimes the director does not like the artist for irrational reasons. Tattoos, clothing choice, or unpleasant smell could put people off and they may reject the artist. Aside from attitude and humility, these other factors are out of your control. It is highly unfair, but it happens.

5. Your Art Is Not That Good

This is a tough one. If the gallery has very high quality art, they may judge your art as not good enough. It's a tough pill to swallow. But it is better than being admitted and not selling anything. This is a chance to go back to basics and practice your craft. More time and more practice may yield better results.

6. The Gallery Director Does Not Like Your Art (Even Though It's Good)

Another irrational reason is simply this: the gallery director dislikes your art. Maybe it matches the subject matter of the gallery and would sell, but the irrational human in charge just doesn't like the vibe of your art. This makes absolutely no sense and is not fair, but sometimes it happens as a result of jealousy, a bad day, or general snootiness. If your art is good and you believe in it, this should not bother you personally. All you have to do is keep trying elsewhere. A person with that bad of an attitude is not fun to work with anyway.

7. Your Style is Unoriginal

Sometimes your style or subject matter does align with the gallery but your stuff is white noise. Maybe they already have too many desert landscapes and don't think they can move any more. While this seems counter-intuitive to some of the other reasons, it is a very real concern. Too much of one thing is not good for a business.

Keep Trucking!


While some of these reasons are unfair and some contradict each other, artists have heard them many times. In conclusion, getting into a gallery is somewhat of a crap shoot. It is a delicate balance of the artist's hard work, persistence, and dumb luck. Persistence is the most important factor of these three. There are a ton of galleries in the world, and at least one will benefit from your work, so keep trying!

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