Art Fair Insiders

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

I tend to view artists, generally, as iconoclasts - at least the myriad of artists I know, including myself. So, I wonder, if all artists are encouraged to "be themselves, be unique," why do art fair directors require such uniformity in tent displays? Not withstanding size restrictions - I get that, 10x10 etc, but what difference should it make to them if I have a red, blue, green, white, or any other color tent if I so choose?

Does everyone live in a neighborhood with all of the homes covered in white vinyl siding. (I know of some subdivisions where I live that are built like this. It hurts my eyes to drive through them!)

And, what about display panels? Oh, they better be gray, black, or maybe white mesh. Boring! Dull! Unimaginative! It's like a scene from The Stepford Wives.

Does every retail store or restaurant you go to look the same? Of course not.

My goal is to sell my artwork. Not to promote the sameness of 100 other tents at an event.

Where are the iconoclasts? It's time someone broke the rules.

(Please don't read any anger into my post. I'm probably one of the happiest guys you'll ever meet. I just find the whole "administration" of art fairs fascinating and a bit arrogant.)

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We also see this sameness in the desire and suggestion to have a focused body of work. YUCK! Curatorial constraints like that are the ENEMY OF CREATIVITY and I'm completely against the practice. But we do have to live and survive in this world, Hal. I won't conform, but it makes life a little more difficult for me because of it.

Hal,

I can understand and agree on all the outside of tents being uniform ie. color. As we are marketing "within" our tent. Just as we cannot put large signs outside our tent as it may detract from others. So keeping uniform from a display view by promoters is acceptable, to me. We don't want to look like a flea market.

As to inside the tent... I agree with you. Let us be creative, diverse, unusual, artistic as we want. The promoter is looking at marketing (another discussion on here). Not marketing of the individual artist but marketing the entire venue.  The artist needs to combine artistic desire with marketing of them self.

Barrie:

I couldn't agree with you more! Juries want to see cohesiveness, in their eyes. Forget expressing our range. i am constantly battling & losing in the struggle to submit & display what I like VS what is needed to get into shows and make sales.

When I succumb completely and give them just what the judges want, as well as just what the public buys... I'll make lots of money, however I'll quit. Because I am a martyr of sorts. When I feel it is just a business for profit and not what I love to do... I can no longer do this work.

Those artists that submit, display and sell, very well, just the work they are most proud of, are very happy, successful and I compliment them. 

I will keep my creativity or stop doing art fairs. no surrender for me.

I am thinking that part of the insistence on white tents came because people showed up with cheap $50 green picnic shelters instead of a more substantial shelter. Easier to specify white than to go into the ins and outs of structural worthiness.

Rather timely comment given the disaster that happened at the Rossini Fest in Knoxville, TN where half of he tents went down in a sudden heavy storm.

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