Vanity, vanity - all is vanity...
There appears to have been a lot of buzz lately about vanity galleries. I am sure that many other artists, like me, get bombarded with emails from 'galleries' all around the globe praising your work and wanting to make sure you participate in their next competition. "You have been specially selected!!" Of course the notification is always accompanied with a request for money.
So what is a vanity gallery? Essentially they make their money from charging emerging artists a fee, rather than from selling artwork. Don't get me wrong a sale is a bonus for all concerned, but if the gallery has already made a significant amount of money from application fees then they are the winner and this could effect their attitude to marketing. By all means go ahead and participate if you think it will help you but do some research first. There are plenty of reviews online which will help you sort out the good from the bad.
So what have I decided? Believe in yourself and your art. Talk to people, promote yourself locally and in your own country. Your greatest benefactors will be the collectors that can meet with you and understand you and in doing so understand what goes into your painting.
Praise is good for the soul and the ego but not if it is false praise.