First of all, it’s important that you live in one of the big cities, Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, Kolkata and Hyderabad or New York, London, Paris and a few others. Next, you need to be serious, have a consistent and good body of work, work that is new, contemporary, interesting and current. If you have a website, then that’s a plus because more than anything, it means you take your own art seriously.
In order to network effectively, visit opening nights of other artists at galleries and get to know the owners and managers. But, don’t talk about your own art much because they are trying to sell their art at an opening. Focus on making contacts, get to know people, learn to chat and converse. Get good at small talk, genuinely compliment people and allow them to talk about themselves. Register names and exchange business cards if you can.
Be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and absorb information and ideas with innocence. Let your passion and excitement shine through. “Wow, I love what you do. Can I get your card? I’d like to be in touch.” This is an approach that will work in big cities if you have an amiable personality. Almost everybody you meet is friendly and helpful. And, there is almost always something complimentary you can find to say about every person and artwork. Find that and use it.
NEVER BE OVERBEARING, CRITICAL OR NEGATIVE. It’s a loser’s game.
Eventually, you will discover that the same set of people attend the same set of art-related events – and they will start to say hi, are happy to see you again because you are nice to hang out with, because they have interesting conversations with you. And, this is how you build a network that you can call on for advice, recommendation, reference and help. Some of these people will become your friends. Not always instant. This is the way it works.