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Stepping Into The Art World - Masterclass Session with Dean Melbourne

Organised as part of Cosimo

Dean Melbourne - painting, researcher, number of group of solo shows in London. From backcountry. Works as an artist advisor


AN - pricing information, also provide insurance which covers a bespoke policy

Artist statements: consider the priority list of information. What is the core of the practice, what is the most interesting information. Avoid it being generic e.g. who explores, who is interested in. Do you need to state where you are from? Especially in the first sentence.

AXIS - also provides insurance policies


If represented by a gallery can allow the gallery to price you, they are experienced and can know value of artists. However they can take advantage on early career artists.

Keep register of ...

Material costs (update as constantly change)

AN suggested day rate. Size of work - cross reference to come up with price of work.

Artfinder - useful site to find a courier


Where you sell is more important than the price.

E.g. is it an art fair, online, through a university- what area and level of prestige does the host provide?

Consider exclusivity of artwork

Establish your own Terms and Conditions which you work by - consider when deciding on pricing and agreeing on relationships with galleries

If gallery is interested in your work you can ask to trial a series of works with them. If it is successful and they sell well you can move forwards. Have a connection with this gallery - most represent artists through recommendations

Always have at least 25 finalised artworks in studio to show a gallery. E.g. invite them to see new body of work - buikd on exclusivity, state how no one has seen work before and allow them first chance

Value is not:




Different approaches to success ladders

3 types of approaches:

• Commercial/sales

• Peer support

• Academic (museums/biennials)

Social media:

Showing the journey of your practice - utilise reels and video content to show works I progress or making processes, studio shots etc

Artist support pledge - way of making sales and building community

Garden Alton - The Work House

DYCP Funding:

Develop your creative practice

Spent money on practice making work

Nees to say in application - What would you send money on?

E.g. travel to a biennial for creative inspiration, get professional mentoring, using more expensive materials

Grant It


• Multiplier - brings people in contact (gallery)

• Peers - share knowledge, support

• Customer/client/buyer - sales, exposure, potential

• Mentor - personal/business, can be formal or informal

• Champions - need to nurture, help promote you and share your art

Give value to get value. Slowly and organically. These are real relationships, not forced for professional gain. Use networking to build genuine relationships of mutual support

What are the gaps in your network?

Clients are my gap.

How to get more client?

• Collabs with shops - get work in shop windows e.g. cass art or cafes

• Following and commenting on similar artists

• Looking though similar hashtags

• Follow possible clients - message to gage interest

• Open studios, studio visits, invite curaties, collectors to see new work

• Art fairs, starting with local community ones e.g. Birmingham open studios, Kings Heath Village Square Market

• Build up to larger art fairs

• Affordable art fair

• The other art show

• Bomlab

• Joint works

• Steamhouse

• Fist pop

• Walsall art gallery residency

• Clarity market - clear on target

• Secondary readership/viewership

Identify what my work involves and understand what market that aims at

E.g. my Fragments collage series - identify

• Colour, aesthetics

• References things from our locality

• Use of advertising

• Nostalgia

• Collectibles

• Retro tech, cars, pop culture

More recent work with an interest in architecture:

Speak to architects - gain interest and connections in that field

What to do if communication becomes difficult with a client: Pipeline

Blocked - issue with mode of communication

Being honest

Making it more informal and conversational

Stay in touch and develop a connection

What do you really want to say?


Inherent in you

What you do

What you are good for


What you stand up for?

What's important to you?

Beauty/aesthetics, found objects, comcrete


What is you're idea of success?

Learn boundaries

What you do

Your strategy or tacks

Needs to match with your vision and values

What you say

Think of yourself as a company

Split the way you work into departments


• Board

• Finance

• Purchasing

• Marketing

Concept of a creative board:

Can be made up of admirers such as writers, poets, artists, musicians, historical figures

Leah Crowfoot, accountant, help to make audit

Business development

• Events

• Building relationships

• Communication strategy

• HR, how do you support your own wellbeing

Here and now

• Make

• Promotion and marketing

• Invoicing

• Shipping/packaging

• Problem solving

• Buying

• Emails

What's next

• Research, market and technical

• Training

• Equipment

• Networking


• Planning

• Documenting

• Networking

• Goal setting

What is my legacy?

Successful body of work

Impact on the artworld

Helping other emerging artists

When seeking opportunities:

Selecting more carefully


Build relationships before asking

Get involved. Do things

Team up and make things happen

If approaching a gallery

Have 25 pieces to show, consistent, presented properly

Keri hand

Zoe Taylor

Charlotte Keates - Arusha Gallery


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