Art Fair Insiders

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

This discussion is most appropriate for Photographers, painters etc. 

Not that others are not welcome, however I think it is most applicable to these mediums

In aforementioned categories, some shows sales are limited to area specific art.

Example: "Beachy scenes", "Certain architecture... items that are relative to that geographic location. 

To try and educate the potential customer on the difference between "Art" and "Decorations" is problematic and not desired at the shows.

Someone living in south Florida may not want to hang a photo of ice breaking off a glacier. No matter how fine a piece of art it might be.

Just because a show is in Philadelphia, not all the images need to be of Rittenhouse Square.

It is difficult to determine in advance which shows are geographic specific. Just because a show is in a certain area may not mean the customer base is centric to the "area specific" purchasing practice.

How do fellow artists determine this in advance?

Few reviews seem to address this.

 

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I've never thought about it much. When I lived in New York City 35 years ago, I had a few New York photos I would sell. But once I outlived the postcard era and became more creative, I would have the same body of work at the same prices at every show. Granted you would probably sell more targeting to geographic areas, but you'll find it much more difficult to get into the better shows.

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

I don't know that I have ever found a trend regarding the topic of this thread. I've not done every show everywhere, but it just seems that there might not be very many art fairs with this problem in general. One photographer commented to me that his Florida scenes did well on the Gulf Coast, but not on the Atlantic Coast. He also remarked that he couldn't do well in the Florida Panhandle. So his work was area specific, or so HE thought.

I think I could do a series about liberty by using the Liberty Bell in every artwork and it would appeal nationwide and not just in Philadelphia. I'm certain I'd find some communities that wouldn't respond to the series, which is a problem I have with the work I already do since some communities just don't respond as favorably to what I do. I've made some bad decisions in the past about what I think might be appealing. The subject appealed to me and so I addressed it, but it didn't do well anywhere. Was it a problem of timing? Was it just bad work or an unappealing perspective? I have no idea, but I do know I had to ditch the series or begin investigating bankruptcy options. There didn't seem to be a market for it anywhere.

If you read the compendium publications such as Art Fair Source Book, you'll find a general idea of what might do well and what might not at shows based upon a grouping of reviews. But you're only getting a slice of the news since not everyone reviews shows and sends in the info to be tallied and compared.

Maybe just good common sense needs to be employed here, but then so does salesmanship. If you live by the rule of "differentiate or die", then showing icebergs in South Florida might be a good idea. But juxtapose icebergs with something else that makes each artwork that much more interesting. Or figure out what works to sell the icebergs. Have you ever seen the 1861 landscape painting The Icebergs by Frederic Edwin Church housed in Dallas Museum of Art? Show something like his and you'll be the talk of the town anywhere you show it. You'll need to obtain a double booth, though.

Colorado Resort Areas: 2D/photography of western lifestyle and wildlife does well. My leather goods for people, dogs and horses moves well to locals and east coast/west coast/foreign visitors. Quality and originality, "not from China" speaks to my clients. Lots of gunleathers sell to westerners too. I've become very selective for the 4 summer shows I do because they consistently meet or exceed financial expectations. I no longer add in additional shows just because a weekend is open. I've gotten here (after 20 plus years) by careful and intense analyses of market, demographics, products....all that non-art business stuff; i.e. with resort areas I do not have to worry about a sold out population year to year, but it is also a population with returning clients.

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