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

Nels Johnson
  • Tampa, FL
  • United States
  • Photography
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Nels Johnson's Page

Nels Johnson's Blog

Manatee Art Festival--Apollo Beach, Florida

Posted on March 16, 2017 at 12:30pm 3 Comments

First off. This show is not out in a dung-infested cow pasture--anymore. A few years back it was moved to a scenic county park right on Tampa Bay.

You can smell the salt air, feel the cooling bay breezes wafting thru your booth.

I have done this show off and on over the 25 years it has been held. It is only a thirty minute drive from my Ybor house.

On this date, everybody would love to be at Vero Beach art show. But alas, those old art ladies will not let all of us in, so other… Continue

Lake Mary-Heathrow Art Show--do not go near it

Posted on March 8, 2017 at 5:00pm 0 Comments

I have not done this show since 1993, it will be another 25 years before I would try it again.

On this date in Florida what are you going to do if you do not get in Gasparilla?

If you try Bonita, remember it is the last one of three, and usually the loser. Also remember Barry Witt sends out a mailing in January for all three shows. He does not send out anymore. I guess you hope they kept the postcard on a magnet on the refrigerator and will see it when they go for the frozen… Continue

St. Petersburg Fine Art Show--not bad if you were not in the sand

Posted on February 27, 2017 at 4:25pm 4 Comments

This was last weekend. A Paragon show in North Straub Park beside the Museum of Art.

This show had lots of visibility. Right on Beach Drive, across from all the happening restaurants. There is a steady vibe here of people enjoying themselves-- and enjoying the art.

It was my second time doing this show. Only 126 artists. Easy peaszy setup. On Sunday, tear it all down then get your van. Most people were out in an hour.

You can set up a day before, very leisurely. I got to sleep in… Continue

Downtown Dunedin Craft Show--Howard Alan--How I lost my art show virginity

Posted on February 15, 2017 at 1:00pm 12 Comments

Well, after doing more than 1500 art shows in 42 years, I finally did my first Howard Alan show.

"Gee Nels, didn't you say they could put the epitaph on your tombstone,'He never did a Howard Alan show'".

Well, times are a changing.

First off, I did three art shows in January with a combined total of over $1200 in booth fees that did not even return me a gross of $5000 for the month.

Second, I had come back rejectedly from Ft. Myers the weekend before. I was supposedly numero… Continue

Images--New Smyrna Beach--another take

Posted on February 7, 2017 at 1:30pm 2 Comments

John Leben just wrote a beautiful blog about this show, check It out.

I am just going to give you a little more perspective, plus, talk about places to eat and drink at there.

I lived in NSB for six years in the eighties. I have done it many times, and done well.

This year was one of the worst shows there that I have ever done.

On Sunday I made a whopping $40 sale at 11am, then did zero the rest of the day.

I sell a certain amount of humor in my photos, unfortunately,… Continue

Bonita Springs Art Festival--the first one, in January

Posted on February 7, 2017 at 1:12pm 1 Comment

I am behind on my blogs, but here goes.

The good news is the fricking construction is finally done.

The whole area looks beautiful.

The bad news is that it still does not attract the base of patrons that attended when it was at the Promenade on Hwy 41.

We had great weather and the crowds were there.

Sales were spotty.

Glass artist across from me had a five figure show, painter two booths away did almost twice what the glass person did.

The key to both of them… Continue

Naples New Years Show-- A Big Letdown, horrible way to start the year

Posted on January 10, 2017 at 2:30pm 6 Comments

Well, I started my 44th year in the biz with a lot of hope.

I was loaded with lots of work, ten new images and I expected big results. This is usually a $3k-$4k show.

Ellen and I left Ybor early Friday morn under warm, clear skies. It was frigid everywhere else in the USA except Florida.

We knew the weather forecast, 90% rain due for Saturday with a clear but chilly Sunday.

We knew it would impact sales, but it was Naples. They always buy our work there.

I have done… Continue

Great Gulfcoast Art Festival--the best fall festival in Florida

Posted on December 23, 2016 at 4:54pm 4 Comments

When I come back to Florida after five months in Michigan, the GGAF (Pensacola) is the best show to do in Florida in November and December. All the other shows are ok for keeping your head above water (read, being able to pay the bills).

People make great sales at this show almost every year. By great, I mean $4K and up.

I will do another blog about the other shows I did in this time frame, but for now, let us talk about Pensa, GGAF.

It is always the first weekend in November. It… Continue

Latest Activity

Nels Johnson commented on Craig Roderick and Sara Beck's blog post Fairhope Arts and Crafts Festival Another Take
"This has been the experience at Fairhope for years. It was that way when I last did the show in 2000. The promoters only care about renting 10 foot x 12 spaces temporarily. Sorry you had to experience it. That said, there have been copious reviews…"
yesterday
Melanie Rolfes commented on Nels Johnson's blog post Manatee Art Festival--Apollo Beach, Florida
"Smaller shows are awesome when they work. They are stress free and cheap. I have always been a fan of a good small show that an artist can make $$$ at."
Monday
Connie Mettler commented on Nels Johnson's blog post Manatee Art Festival--Apollo Beach, Florida
"Sounds wonderful. Sleep in your own bed, be creative, low booth fee, easy to do, some $$$, sounds like a job many people would like. Ferreting out these smaller events is an art in itself, but can be worthwhile. I wonder if anyone uses our site…"
Saturday
Christina L. Towell commented on Nels Johnson's blog post Manatee Art Festival--Apollo Beach, Florida
"Sounds like a wonderful time to be in Florida and a pretty cool little show, Nels.  As I look out my window here in Michigan right now, big fluffy flakes of snow are falling gently to the ground, which makes thinking about the salt air and sea…"
Saturday
Nels Johnson posted a blog post

Manatee Art Festival--Apollo Beach, Florida

First off. This show is not out in a dung-infested cow pasture--anymore. A few years back it was moved to a scenic county park right on Tampa Bay.You can smell the salt air, feel the cooling bay breezes wafting thru your booth.I have done this show off and on over the 25 years it has been held. It is only a thirty minute drive from my Ybor house.On this date, everybody would love to be at Vero Beach art show. But alas, those old art ladies will not let all of us in, so other venues need to be…See More
Mar 16
Nels Johnson posted a blog post

Lake Mary-Heathrow Art Show--do not go near it

I have not done this show since 1993, it will be another 25 years before I would try it again.On this date in Florida what are you going to do if you do not get in Gasparilla?If you try Bonita, remember it is the last one of three, and usually the loser. Also remember Barry Witt sends out a mailing in January for all three shows. He does not send out anymore. I guess you hope they kept the postcard on a magnet on the refrigerator and will see it when they go for the frozen popcorn.There is…See More
Mar 8
B. David Kay commented on Nels Johnson's blog post St. Petersburg Fine Art Show--not bad if you were not in the sand
"Barry Bernstein, I believe you hit the nail on the head with too many shows.   I have been saying that for over a year now.   Here in the Chicago area, this June there are 14 art shows in the month within a very reasonable drive.   It…"
Mar 5
Nels Johnson commented on Nels Johnson's blog post St. Petersburg Fine Art Show--not bad if you were not in the sand
"I am afraid you nailed it on the head, Barry. We should be making money"
Mar 1
Barry Bernstein commented on Nels Johnson's blog post St. Petersburg Fine Art Show--not bad if you were not in the sand
"I saw the pictures of all that sand. Not fun if you got stuck in it. Your description of "we all made money but not enough" is exactly what I experienced this year. The only way it works for someone like me is to do a show every weekend…"
Mar 1
Tammie T Everly commented on Nels Johnson's blog post St. Petersburg Fine Art Show--not bad if you were not in the sand
"I'll be at Heathrow this week too, my first time there. Fingers crossed for a good result!"
Feb 28
Nels Johnson posted a blog post

St. Petersburg Fine Art Show--not bad if you were not in the sand

This was last weekend. A Paragon show in North Straub Park beside the Museum of Art.This show had lots of visibility. Right on Beach Drive, across from all the happening restaurants. There is a steady vibe here of people enjoying themselves-- and enjoying the art.It was my second time doing this show. Only 126 artists. Easy peaszy setup. On Sunday, tear it all down then get your van. Most people were out in an hour.You can set up a day before, very leisurely. I got to sleep in my own Ybor bed,…See More
Feb 27
Nels Johnson commented on John Leben's blog post Bradenton - Arts Festival of Manatee County: A Pleasant Surprise
"Leben, you are amazing, I doubt I could squeeze out sales there like that. Since you only expected $1K, you and I should split the rest, what do you think?"
Feb 27
Nels Johnson commented on Barry Bernstein's blog post What Happened to the South Florida Shows?
"Meant "does" not dips. Connie site does not allow for easy editing when you do a typo."
Feb 23
Nels Johnson commented on Barry Bernstein's blog post What Happened to the South Florida Shows?
"Meant to say "enamored" instead of enabled. Fricking fat fingers of mine."
Feb 23
Nels Johnson commented on Barry Bernstein's blog post What Happened to the South Florida Shows?
"Outdoor art shows do not carry the same "cache" that they used to have, that is why the Grove and Artigras are what they are now. Part of this is apathy of the public that attends. We do not get as many "good shoes" people as we…"
Feb 23
Nels Johnson commented on Oscar Matos Linares's blog post Arti Gras 2017 really, did I just got r...... by the show
"Great blog Oscar. Now I do not have to write one. I will chime in here. Good retorts by Barry. I have done this show off and on since 1988. I have seen it evolve into this downward death-spiral for years. Originally, when I thought I write the blog…"
Feb 23
Barry Bernstein commented on Nels Johnson's blog post Downtown Dunedin Craft Show--Howard Alan--How I lost my art show virginity
"Nels, I had the same wait list thing happen to me a Coconut Grove once. I was #3 on the wait list and they let in two people. When I looked, I was now #4 on the wait list. I guess they weren't very good at math. I liked what I heard from you…"
Feb 23
Connie Mettler commented on Nels Johnson's blog post Downtown Dunedin Craft Show--Howard Alan--How I lost my art show virginity
"Glad to hear that, Joel. The HA shows are like so many others in this business. Nothing you can count on, but plenty you can hope will be good. One of the tantalizing aspects of this business (that works for some of us but drives others crazy) is…"
Feb 23
Melanie Rolfes commented on Nels Johnson's blog post Downtown Dunedin Craft Show--Howard Alan--How I lost my art show virginity
"Impressed Nels, good man. Now that you popped that cherry just imagine all the new shows that have opened up to you."
Feb 22
Joel Lockridge commented on Nels Johnson's blog post Downtown Dunedin Craft Show--Howard Alan--How I lost my art show virginity
"I was there for that show, too. I was the one who complained recently about how they keep the show applications open until last minute, even when the show is full, adding people to the wait list. I'm happy to say this was a good show for me,…"
Feb 20

Profile Information

Your Medium
Photography
Years in the Art Fair Business
36
First show ever
Waimea Falls Park, Oahu, Hawaii
What is your website?
http://nelsjohnsonphotographer.com
What are the best things about art fairs
the freedom to move around place to place and make money
Best show ever and why
Kansas City Plaza--they bought from me like there was no tomorrow
Worst show ever and why
One in Michigan(which will go unnamed) held in a muddy cow pasture, and it felt like only the cows were there.
Who referred you to ArtFairInsiders.com? Please be specific.
Munks

Comment Wall (100 comments)

At 3:33pm on February 10, 2009, Connie Mettler said…
Who made those socks, Nels? You knitting these days?
At 7:32pm on February 18, 2009, Carol Napoli said…
Thanks Nels, I saw it last night. Pretty nice. I am glad that you took the shot early in the show...Good article on the last weekends shows. Not so easy...makes for a longer ride home. Have a great next show.
At 7:47pm on February 24, 2009, Barry Bernstein said…
Hey Nels, I've known Pat Dragon for many years. I met him when he was living in Florida. He used to come by my studio a lot, but, I haven't seen much of him since Rhona moved up here.
At 12:37am on February 27, 2009, R. C. Fulwiler said…
Hey Nels; I love your story about your first art show; makes me think I'll write mine up too. Kim and I missed you again this year in Key West, but hope you did well in Naples. I did Coconut Grove the week before and had to be on the road for 10 days. I guess I'll see you tomorrow at Punta Gorda: Tell me why we're doing that one again?
At 7:39pm on March 3, 2009, Bill Sargent said…
Busted. I copy everything RC does.

Thanks for the note? How's it going? You don't have to say anything about last weekend.
At 9:48pm on March 16, 2009, Wadsworth~Noll Studio said…
Hey Nels! Thanks for the welcome. Guess I'm the probie of the group. :o) I could use all the guidance one could give. lol- just don't send me left when I should be going right.
You spoke of the Vero Beach show... what is your experience with that one?
Thanks again for the kind words.
At 4:46pm on April 7, 2009, YborArtStudio said…
Hello Nels, I signed up Saturday when I returned to the Studio from the meeting. What a great sight! I will have to spend some time setting up my home page.
Your Home, Gallery, and Work is quite wonderful! Thanks for having me. I will look forward to seeing you soon. Thanks for the invite.
At 12:19pm on May 7, 2009, R. C. Fulwiler said…
I took your challenge to heart and put up 20 more photos. Keep me posted and let me know how I'm doing!
At 9:15am on May 8, 2009, R. C. Fulwiler said…
They're mostly old ones. I didn't know "age" as a factor. I'll get right on it!
At 12:25pm on June 14, 2009, Connie Mettler said…
Loved your comment on DJ King Assassin's page!! What's happening here? LOL....probably the best page on the site.

Do you think we should have a competition for the best pages? Looking for nominations from you, as I believe you've been all over the site.

Thanks for your continued support!

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