Advice from local creatives on preparing for your first exhibition

Thinking about and planning for your first exhibition can be a daunting thing, and it’s something that’s felt across the creative industries.

Wanting to do our bit to make the process a little bit easier, we asked for some advice from a range of talented, local artists who have all been there. Hindsight is a brilliant thing when it comes to giving advice.

Miranda Jarvis, artist

My advice for your first show would be to have faith in your work. For your first show, acknowledge that the people there are excited for you and want to support you! Have fun and learn from the process which can be really daunting and a little stressful. Give yourself a massive pat on the back for putting yourself and your creative output out there.

Jack Grayson, illustrator + animator

My biggest piece of advise for people working towards their first exhibition is to prepare properly. It can sneak up on you really fast so it’s best to make sure you’ve got a solid plan to get all of your works done well before the exhibition date. That way you don’t have to stress about getting everything done and ready for things like framing and installing at the last second.

Georgia Naughton, artist

Frame works if you can afford to. It really does make the works look 100% better and more professional. Also be creative, you don’t just have to stick to one medium throughout, why not try a few different ones and see how you go. By doing this myself I have discovered a lot of new different mediums that I work with regularly.

Frances Cannon, artist

It’s not as scary as you think! Believe in yourself and follow your gut. The scariest part is the set up but you can definitely do it and once the opening happens and you see people interacting with your work – it’s SO worth it!

Joshua Maxwell de Hoog, artist

I would congratulate anyone massively on their first show! It can be a daunting experience, but it is well worth it regardless of turnout, sales etc etc. As long as you are passionate about the work and believe it is true to you, then your first show should be a very proud moment. Don’t worry if it’s not exactly how you imagined, the beginning of any art practice is just about getting your work out there, it will develop and get more and more solidified in due time.

Fila Losi, artist

Don’t be afraid for people to see your art. It is a really daunting experience but it shouldn’t be. You have worked hard to get where you are and you should be proud of that.

Dean de Landre, artist

To take the opportunity seriously but not to overthink it or stress about the final result. I feel like exhibiting is a key part of many artists’ practice so it can be helpful to get comfortable with the idea of your work being seen by the public. While just starting out I think it’s also a good opportunity to develop your work and ideas, and get a better understanding of how other people see and interact with your work. Regardless, just try and enjoy the experience.

Leiko Manalang, photographer

If you’re confused with the whole process, the best thing to do is ask previous creatives or the curator for tips and admit that you have no clue. In general, people do not mind helping out at all. They actually love it. It will save you time and the headache. Just admitting you’re clueless can be a great thing, I did it to Amber [curator] for my exhibition and she helped me out so much.

Read other stories on exhibiting artists here. Follow Courthouse Youth Arts on Facebook or Instagram.

If this has you thinking of hosting your own exhibition, we’d love to hear your ideas. Submit a pitch for something creative here – we’re all ears!

Image by Leikography.