Charles Clary Interview
About Charles Clary:
Charles Clary was born in 1980 in Morristown, Tennessee. He received his BFA in painting with honors from Middle Tennessee State University and his MFA in painting from the Savannah College of Art and Design. He recently had a solo exhibition at Galerie EVOLUTION-Pierre Cardin in Paris, France, completed a three week residency in Lacoste France, completed a painting assistantship with Joe Amrhein of Pierogi Gallery in Brooklyn NYC, and had work acquired by fashion designer Pierre Cardin and gallery owner James Cohan. As of 2010 Charles had been featured in numerous print and Internet interviews including, WIRED magazine (US and UK), design-milk.com, and yatzer.com. He will also be featured in a new book called “The New Twenties” published by IdN publications and Society6.com. Charles has exhibited regionally, nationally, and internationally in numerous solo and group shows, is represented by The Rymer Galery in Nashville, TN, and currently resides in Murfreesboro, TN.
How and when did you become a professional artist?
I don’t think I really became a “professional artist” until about 2 years ago. I was always working toward that end but it took a while to get to this point. A lot of failures and experimentation had to take place before I felt comfortable entering into the market as it is now.
Being a professional artist takes many sacrifices that may not be apparent when your starting out. Being a career artist isn’t all parties and hob knobbing it’s hours and hours working alone in a studio or where ever you work. It requires a lot of dedication. I can’t tell you how many parties, dinners, and friend outings I’ve missed b/c I had work I needed to finish for an exhibition.
What was the hardest part of getting into your first exhibit?
I think being patient was the hardest part. You have to get used to the idea that 80% to 90% of all your submissions and cold calls are going to end up in rejections. You have to pay your dues before you can push through.
You have been featured on many sites and have your own blog, what are some other ways that you’ve advertised your work both on and offline?
I make sure I try to go to all the openings in my gallery area b/c you never know who your going to run into or what conversation you might find yourself in. I also have simple business cards that I had printed up with all my contact information including my phone #, email address, and personal blog or email. I think it’s also essential that you have a slick website; nothing flashy just something simple that you can update and keep your fans informed on new work and exhibition info. I have to say that’s the one thing that I have slacked a bit on but make up for with a blog. I also keep things up to date on Facebook, Twitter, and other networking sites. It’s fantastic if you have an exhibition but if nobody knows about it then what’s the point. The more you can get people to talk about your work the larger your audience becomes. If you don’t know about Society6 then check it out, it’s another great tool to network with other artists, as well as artcalander, artist space, art house, and artslant. I also make it a point to send out professional packages to galleries that have submission guidelines. Nine times out of ten you will get a rejection or no response but if you get one opportunity then it’s all worth it. Professionalism is the key with packets. If you do send a packet it needs to include a straight to the point resume and cover letter that simply states something like:
Dear Gallery Director (or the name of the director if you know it)
My name is _____________ and I would like to introduce you to my current body of work. I have enclosed ____ images at 300dpi and _____ images at 72dpi, a resume, and my bio (if you have one make sure it’s written in the 3rd person). Thank you for your time and consideration and I look forward to hearing from you soon.
_________________ (your name)
if you choose to do this make sure you have done your research on the gallery and that it fits your work and don’t harass the gallery. If they want to talk to you about your work they will call. If your near the gallery make sure you attend their openings, ALL OF THEM. When you make your cd’s for your packets don’t write on them with sharpies pay the extra money and get cd labels and then label something like this:
Whats on the CD
20 images 300dpi
20 images 72dpi
You can also include any copies of press releases or show cards that you may have.
Which of these advertising methods were the most and least successful for you?
Society6 is probably one of the best networking sites as far as uploading work and speaking with other artists as well as entering collaborations with big promoters such as Urban Outfitters, Art-Milk, and IdN publications. Having a website is essential and needs to be updated on a regular basis as well as having an up to date mailng list. Buisness cards are another great tool b/c it is an easy method for anyone you have met to remember who you are. Always making sure you are visible is another key element. Know the artits in your area and the galleries you never know when they might have an opportunity for you or a client.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve been given regarding selling your art?
The best piece of advice I ever got was: Work hard and believe in your abilities once you achieve this success will soon follow.
I have several that are keeping me busy through the summer. I’m in a group show in NYC at Sloan Fine Art in June with an opening on June 16th from 6-8pm, a group show in June in St Louis called Drawgasmic. I also have a solo show at my gallery The Rymer Gallery in September with an opening on Sep 4th from 6-9pm, the show will run until the 24th. I have another solo show at Diana Lowenstein Fine Art in Miami from September 16th-October 24th.
Where can people purchase your work?
You can purchase my work from The Rymer Gallery in Nashville, TN or prints of my work through Society6.com. Any special requests can be emailed to me at email@example.com.