Building on the success of showing Lizzie Donegan in a tiny cardboard box/aka My Tiny Gallery I’ve set up a new improved version.
My Tiny Cat Gallery is now taking submissions for week long shows.
Each show starts on Sunday with a Private View and will be documented through the week.
The first exhibition features “A Feast for Your Eyes” by Susan Plover – www.susanplover.com
Susan said “The piece was created as a response to the scale of the gallery and as an image that would attract the resident audience of cats. The subject is deliberately riffing upon a cat who plays poker for FISH !”
The artist has requested a gallery set up with a richly coloured draped back cloth and lit from above. The tiny cats can look up at the art as if it was one of their ancestors. I’m going to try to source an ornate frame today but that may prove difficult.
You can attend the private view on Sunday 12th July on Instagram –
This week’s solo show is by Amy J Wilson.
In her application for the open call she said “Within the context of your Tiny Gallery the small intimate plates will blur between large commemorative merchandise and religious icons.”
That is just the kind of thing I want in the gallery. I’ve been thinking about who the viewer is. Is the tiny cat the primary audience with us humans as voyeurs looking in on them? Or are we still the primary audience and indulging in romantic anthropomorphism of small plastic cats.
This week in the Tiny Cat Gallery we have a solo show by Jo Coffey.
Her drawings are exquisite and show the joy and sadness that comes with cats.
I’m struggling with this week’s exhibition for a couple of reasons. Firstly they are huge, too big for the space and secondly I preferred them unframed. I think the frames distract from the artwork. But, it is how the artist sent them and I’ve closed off one side of the door to make them fit.
Taking photos in this now very cramped space is not easy. I’ve changed to a glittery floor which does look great with the work, but again, is hard to photograph. I’ve made things difficult for myself.
So, what have I learned?
- check artwork and framing at every step of the way
- check and recheck sizes of artwork
- be strong and reduce the size of the exhibition if it will look better
I’ve updated the terms for the Tiny Cat Gallery and I will be tougher next time. There is a fine line between wanting to be welcoming and accommodating and showing the work in a way that lets it be seen.
The current exhibition (Philip Ryland – Retrospective) has had some sales.
I’ve not been pushing to sell work but I have been promoting it like a larger gallery would. I have a Shopify Lite store attached to my WordPress site and that lets me embed shop pages anywhere I want. It is a cheaper and easier option than an actual Shopify store but has it’s limitations.
As a commercial gallery, I take 50% of the sales price. I’m part of #artistsupportpledge so when I make £500 I’ll spend £100 on another artist’s work.
But I’m also upgrading things when money comes in.
Things to make life easier
From the first sale of a bird and wind drawing I invested in Shopify Lite at $9 a month. WordPress has a free shopping plugin called Woo Commerce but it is clunky and horrible for the customer to use without loads of work. Shopify lite is swishy and smooth. Mmmm.
This month I’m putting money back in by getting a paid version of Later, the app and desktop programme I’m using to schedule posts on Instagram. I did a possibly foolish thing here and got a whole year upfront because it is cheaper long term. That means the accounts do not look good overall but they are ok for the month.
Sales – £80
Payment to artist – £40
Shopify Lite – £8 (wild guess at exchange rate)
Later – £12
Total expenditure £60
That does not take the cost of running my website into account or the hours and hours spent taking photos, researching hashtags, responding to comments, answering questions, checking things with the artist……….
So I am celebrating my £20 but not really thinking about it a viable income. Although it will be declared on my tax return next year.
And the very best thing is that I could put HUGE dots next to the paintings in the gallery!
This week has worked well with the artist (www.philipryland.com) writing about his full sized work on his Instagram feed. I can repost with an app and refer to the smaller sized counterpart in the Tiny Cat Gallery.
This was the first time I’d tried to run a workshop and it went pretty well. We used our families and friends to start the submissions off but did get a couple of entries from followers too. I wasn’t expecting much engagement at all so I’m overjoyed that this went so well.
I’m falling into a pattern of work with the gallery now. It is still very time intensive but having it closed on Wednesday means I can start to think about the set up for the next artist. There is time to change things if needed.
The first week’s exhibition is packed away (but available to buy in the gallery shop)
The second exhibition is by Philip Ryland and it is a Retrospective of his current work. Philip sent me 10 paintings, each 95 x 63mm. They are all mounted on foam board so stand proud of the cardboard walls which makes them look more like they are canvas over a stretcher.
Photo By Philip Ryland
Gallery layout for multiple works
I mounted the paintings low to the ground, thinking of a cats eye level but in future I may provide seating platforms that are elevated because cats can jump! I’d never considered eye level in exhibiting before, that is another gift that the Tiny Cat Gallery has given me; the chance to think about different ways of looking at artwork.
The gallery is as brightly lit as I can make it, with a long bench in the centre of the room. I am using 3 anglepoise lamps with thin paper taped over them to diffuse the light. The lights are the brightest I had in the house, one is actually a grow light so the colours are a little on the yellow side.
Philip Ryland – Retrospective preview event
Further expansion of the Tiny Cat Gallery
I spent some time on Sunday linking the new Facebook page up to the Shopify Lite account. It wouldn’t link up without Facebook and even then, since Facebook have changed things around, it won’t let me install the shop. It is early days yet. I looked into using Printful for merch too.