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Lifestyle: Exhibiting Promise

Insights by Yasmin Nguyễn fromBlockprojects Gallery, 759 Glenferrie Road, Hawthorn

For up-and-coming artists, the idea of being exhibited in art galleries may seem like a daunting or near impossible dream. Many take to social media for potentially greater audience numbers, but risk being lost in the shuffle of digital noise. While there is no guaranteed pathway to success, local gallery owner; Yasmin Nguyễn provides some valuable insights into how emerging artists can greatly improve their chances at establishing a name for themselves.

How can artists connect with a support network and receive advice and feedback or get established through exhibiting and marketing?

There are a few options for artists out there. Firstly, you could apply to study fine art at TAFE or university. In spite of the fact that future career artists may already possess the necessary skills, art schools offer a lot of benefits. In most cases, art professors are themselves artists in addition to teaching their medium. Professors can help students refine their skills and avoid common difficulties young artists may encounter. Additionally, students can connect with former students in the field they are studying through the large alumni network at art schools. Furthermore, you are provided with equipment, studio space, a community and exhibiting gallery to show case your work.

What kind of challenges do artists face when seeking recognition for their work?

With the rise of social media and online platforms anyone can share and promote their work, blurring the lines between professional, commercial and hobbyist. In order to ensure artistic excellence is preserved, it is important, in my opinion, for artists to work with galleries and art dealers. Beyond social media, good galleries can help cultivate potential buyers for the artist and assist in getting the artist’s works exhibited and collected by institutes. However, if you are more interested in becoming a commercial or decorative artist, this may not apply to your practice.

With self-exposure through social media becoming so popular, why are galleries still important?

My personal philosophy about galleries is, to me, art galleries are one of the only commercial places on earth in which we feel content to be by ourselves. It is by being alone with the art hanging on the walls of a gallery that we can begin to understand how we relate to art and what the artist is trying to convey. In this day and age this kind of contemplation is rapidly becoming a unique experience.

What have you learned from working with successful artists that could benefit a beginner?

We currently have an exhibition running until 2 March by one of Australia's most pre-eminent abstract painters, James Clayden. What l have learnt from working with James, is that you need to have grit, be entrepreneurial and have a tradesman-like attitude to your practice. Also, the gallery co-owner, Jeremy Kibel, is an artist, which gives us a unique advantage because we are able to understand the trials and tribulations that goes with trying to establish an art career.

Yasmin, the daughter of Vietnamese refugees, is an art dealer with a background in publishing and promoting the Arts. She recently launched Blockprojects Gallery, along with co-owner Jeremy, with ambitions of providing ongoing support and exhibition space for local artists.

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