Art Fair Insiders

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

At a show in Charlotte, NC, a couple weekends ago, promoter Patty Narozny pointed out that there are very few young artists at the shows. And as I looked around that weekend and this past one, I began to see that she has a point. 

I'm 56. Most of the artists I see at shows are in their 50s or older. Is this the way it has always been? Is it a symptom of changing economic times - young artists putting art aside to earn a steady paycheck? Or is it something about Gen Whatever It Would Be - Gen Zsquared? 

When I do see a young artist at a show, he or she is often doing something really innovative, really cool, really interesting - and inspiring to me. So what's going on here? 

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That is awesome! I know some very talented architects who have a great skill for hand drawing. My hand drafting skills are quite good, but I don't have all of the tools necessary to make the drawings. I have a good friend who makes beautiful paintings of city-scapes using unconventional colors. I have quite a few of his original paintings and prints that he made when we were in school together. I only wish I was as talented at painting! It was never my thing. :) 

I am 34 (almost 35), and I'm just starting at outdoor art fairs. I've already been selling from my studio/gallery for over 4 years, so this is not a completely new venture to me. Interesting to see this thread! It makes sense though about people with families maybe not wanting to do this. 

I would consider myself a young artist even though I've been setting up for shows four years. I just turned 30 and I'm noticing that the age difference is getting better. I'm from kentucky and there are few large opportunities to display. This prevents me from doing very many shows because traveling more than 4 hours has proven to be challenging in my case. My first two years I used nothing but DIY panels and a pop-up tent. I learned that many shows would not accept me with that setup, so I had to invest. Once I did, I got into a few more shows but still struggled to get into all markets that I desired.

I say this to come to one conclusion; the money required to start can be so daunting that a young artist is forced to find avenues that are not as labor and money intensive. My DIY panels looked good, but they were not knock down panels or mesh panels, I didn't have a trimline tent with expensive lights and shows didn't view the setup as professional. It's taken me the full four years to learn what works for me and like any new young artist getting into this kind of business the same will apply. I enjoy it and meeting new people is the best part for me.
Someone should start a new thread. This thread is over 3 years old and the only people that know about it are the people that have already posted.

Larry Berman

I almost left this forum post after the first few pages since they were from 2013. I figured it was outdated information. Especially posts about Etsy, since algorithms have changed alot of opportunity on there. But I'm glad I skipped to the end of this forum and found posts from 2016. I'm 59. I took an early retirement last year from a creative marketing position at a college. Then I decided to get back into the fine art field. I started on Etsy, making jewelry, wood furniture and handmade paper botanical art, "Nature in Things". But I've had to get into craft shows to make some money. But it's not much money and I'm getting discouraged. I stumbled across the fine art fair forums and it reminded me that this is what I really want to do. I made it into my first gallery show with my paper botanical art, but the next show I applied for I didn't get in. I know I'm not ready for juried shows. I need to build up my fine art, and recently learned that I need to up my display game. I do my shows by myself. My husband has a full time job and doesn't care for the shows. Recently he said he doesn't like me doing shows, which makes me even more discouraged. Nevertheless, it's nice to see the upper age at art fairs, but I often think I'm way too old to be starting this business now. I don't have the experience as many of you have. I keep finding myself behind the 8 ball. But these forums keep me inspired. 

Really old post from 2013. I'm 73 now, still working full time in studio and doing my 4 good shows during the summer with Jean now 70. Still climbing 14teeners too. Tough workout with trainer yesterday carrying 25lbs overhead for 50 yards and back multiple times. Staying fit makes set up at shows easier.

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