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Call for Artists, Making Money at Juried Art Fairs, Craft Shows and Festivals

Hello

I have applied to 3 juried art festivals.. All 3 I have checked them out the prior years to see how many vendors there were selling photographs and If mine were different enough to be part of the event..

I Purchased my Trimline TENT and all the goodies that go with it to make my booth somewhat appealing..

SO I have been turned down from all 3.. All 3 pretty much said the same thing,, To many vendors applied that are in my category and that jury was a hard decision,.. Thank YOU.

It seems this is a Blanket Saying.. I am thinking that it might have something to do with my display.. I been using Grids,, Out of all the juried higher end festivals I have checked out.. I cannot recall seeing anyone using Grids.. I see a lot of PRO PANELS being used..

I think my photographs are up to par.. I am wondering if its my set up? DO i need to purchase PRO PANELS? could this be it... My gut says yes... Just wish I knew so I can be part of sharing my passion with the public.

Please help guide me,, if there is something i need to do or not to do.. it would be great to know, So I don't have to wait to next year with the same rejection.

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Most 2D artists use either Pro Panels or mesh walls from Flourish. Your display is lacking. Your grid walls do not take up the entire three 10 foot walls and you have a mix of sizes that creates an unbalanced display. Your bins are on a table covered with a fabric table cover.

You don't say what level shows you have applied to or were rejected from. But no matter what style or subject matter your photography is it needs to look more professional in a display picture to get a better jury score. You want to try to stand out from the rest in a more professional direction. Keep the smaller sizes in a single free standing bin for the picture and try and keep your larger sizes uniform so they can hang symmetrically. And though it involves an investment (or borrow from a friend), I'd try to set up a booth with pro panels or mesh walls for the picture.

This isn't perfect but it was my display from Long's Park two years ago.



Larry Berman
http://BermanGraphics.com
412-401-8100

I would definitely do away with the grid walls. It's hard to even see your photographs amidst the grid lines.
What images are you trying to jury in with? Are they cohesive? Or are you doing a broad range trying to show your variety?
What shows did you apply for? My first year I got accepted to all shows I applied for and I thought I was the cats pajamas bc of it. Come to find out, I was applying to lower end shows without much competition. Now that I apply to the country's best shows, I'd say I only make it in to 30% or so.

So it's all relative.
My Dora art festival Florida, New Smyrna, Jekyll Island SC.

I agree with the Grids. I do have mesh walls. Just the grids act as good anchors for the tent for high winds.

My whole them is coastal low country seascapes etc.

I think I need to set up again take photos with the mesh walls. I was under the impression that they did not mesh walls ? Not sure where I got that idea from!

Chris

I don't see anything negative about your display or your picture.  I like the grid walls look.  I think there is just too many photography vendors out there.

For a jury shot I'd simplify the booth. Space them more like a gallery.  If you can at least get a pro panel or mesh for the back wall that might be a start. Take out the the flip bin. Nothing near the ground. Mt Dora and Images(NSB) are pretty tough to get in. You might try some smaller shows to get started. One rule of thumb (of many)  .. the bigger the award money, the tougher the competition. And, yes, lots of good photographers. Look up reviews for the shows too. Lots of info on AFI. Listen to Larry :-) Lots of pros here. Don't give up, just tweak and go forward.

I’d also suggest more consistency in your framing choices. Too many varieties can be distracting for the overall booth look.
Also cut in closer to the frame of the tent. Jurors dont want to see that much sky and side of buildings. Only your work.
This is all good stuff to know. So my look is shabby chic coastal. So the frames are different colors and price points. Maybe this is a bad idea for juried shows. And dress right dress is better?

The grids are not bothering my view of the work. But if you can rephotograph this, move the back wall grouping to either the left or right side and then move that table to the back corner. Nothing on that table can be identified and thus detracts from getting your hanging work recognized.

Another issue for me with your booth is that I can count 29 pics hanging, most of which are so small I cannot see the images. All that detracts from the bigger ones that you may be using as jury images. Reduce the number of images a little and regroup several big ones on the back wall for greater impact. Put the smaller ones on the side with a group of larger works, but give the larger ones greater importance.

Do as others have said and move in to take your booth pic. Crop up on the bottom to eliminate the ground, too.

I don't see any reason that you should be getting rejected from these shows. And I also don't see any problem with your frames. Just read and learn about how to display what you have more effectively. Ask a decorator. Don't show it all in this jury photo. Let the judges be able to recognize at least two of your jury images, too.

Warning: This may not be kind.

1) I am not a vendor, I am an artist. Vendors sell turkey legs and watered down lemonade to the masses. Take yourself more seriously.

2) You only applied to 3 shows? Apply to 10. You will get rejected more times than you get accepted until you reach a certain quality level, and then it may be half the time.

3) Lower your standards. While I got into the first show I ever applied to, the scene is much different now. Find events that will let you in, along with some better shows. My biggest improvement in overall art fair quality came after my first show. Luckily for me, it rained the whole weekend. I clearly was out of my league. I learned a lot after actually experiencing my first event. Make friends at the show. Word of mouth is 100 times better than social networking.

4) Get rid of those ungodly bins. Stash them out of the way. You're putting them right where people are going to look, as opposed to looking at your framed work. If I was the judge, I would reject you for that alone. That applies to selling at the show too. Your best piece should be the first thing people see.

5) You didn't say anything about education and since you only applied to a few shows it leads me to believe that you are a part timer. I hope not. On the other hand, most photographers do this professionally, full time. Unless you put in the work, you have no chance to get into any of the better shows. It's your choice. If you want to succeed at the higher levels, you need to do this full time.

I’m a a full time professional. 7 years now. Destination weddings and X surf photographer for a national Magazine. I have been received into plenty of shows. Maybe not the National Best Shows. Ones I have been involved with,  well seem to let most anyone in. Which is fine with me. I usually crush it with my product.  It worked for them. I sense have the images that mainstream consumers desire! Not sure if I have what it takes to compete for prize money.  Never saw myself that way. Past 3 years I been checking out the bigger shows as a consumer. Wondering is I was up to par. I think I am. I have several galleries that carry my work. And I do very well at.

With that said. I want to do better. Be part of a larger community.  Most has been self taught still learning. It’s all relative. I know my work is not for everyone nor am I trying to be for everyone.  I seen pleanty of bins at these art shows photographers use. Mine does need some work. I confess. As for frames I been told over and over again and scoffed at for frames. Mainly by the canvas guys. Being told it will never work. Well I proven that wrong.Dont think most have the time of patience to build them from scratch that are unique and appeasing to whats trending.Might not be all the exotic woods and high dollar glass and such. But for the beach home crowds It does works.  Seems most photographers I see still use canvas, or moving into metals. They are nice and I can do that. Charge higher prices. But again. I am learning here I might have applied to the big boys prematurely needing to fine tune and well no wonder I been rejected. Grids, Bins , tighter crop, all make sense to me. I will fine tune for sure. I just am seeking advice from the pioneers here before me. I don’t know too many shows in Florida. There seems to be a lot of them during the winter. Maybe I should ask what folks might suggest for a few of them that might increase my odds. Winter times are slow for me wedding wise and show wise here up north. So south it is for me.

So back to the bins. I have seen plenty of well established fine art photographers at these shows with bins in the middle of their setup. Do you think they submit the photos to the juries with this set up? Or after they are accepted they put them out during show time?

Hey there! I'm not a photographer & have only been on the circuit for 4 or so years..so take this for what it is, but I've been next to many photographers who had beautiful work and barely made cost. Appealing to the buying crowd of your work vs. providing a booth "worthy" of judges is a fine balance. I'm a silversmith with a very simplistic style (I can do fine art jewelry, but tend to tow the line between that and fine craft style) & I refuse to bow down to the "typical" art booth for jewelers or make things that I don't love. Nope...you will NOT see blown up pictures of my jewelry on the walls or all my fine pieces in glass cases, etc., but I have a booth that my patrons always remark makes them feel comfortable and like they are in a boutique. With that said, I do VERY well in both sales and acceptance rates. I do agree that you will spend a small fortune and get more many more rejections (when I started I was uber sensitive about the "not invited" thing & now I'm just, eh, ok."), but in the end it is all worth it when you get accepted & you are true to your own vision. With that said, the booth display is an evolving process. Hell, I often joke that my trailer can't possibly fit another new display! 

I did see your last comment & am curious why you feel the need to do more "national shows." If you are a working artist then you truly are doing better than many. I guess I've just never needed the clout that comes with being the top dog at a fine arts show. It sounds cheesy, but isn't that what being an artist is all about...just being true to your vision? I'm ok making $1,000 in a few hours at a farmer's market or driving across the SE for a juried show. I just want to do what I love & pay the bills. 

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