Call for Artists, Making Money at Juried Art Fairs, Craft Shows and Festivals
In the last week I have read some serious GLOOM and DOOM on AFI!
A city doesn't want an Art Fair held on it's grounds: let's all ban the fair for a year and see how they like it!
The price of gas is so high: tell me if these fairs will make me money...else I won't attend!
The analysts at CNBC say we're headed for a "depression" and people are not spending like 5 years ago: this is my last year of traveling to shows!
We've elected idiots into government: someone should tell them this is crazy!
The price of silver for jewelry is too high: I'm using base metals and copper!
I feel like I'm leaning on a lonesome hill with the hail pelting me, singing, "Smile."
YUP! I'm a newbie to the ART CIRCUIT.
BUT NOT TO LIFE!
Recently I heard an interesting analysis of people: so there are only TWO kinds of people on the team of life, the OFFENSE and the DEFENSE, The Offense players wake up every morning with a "Let's GO" attitude. They seek out positive situations which will give them pleasurable rewards. They want to win. They don';t have much fear and are seekers. If one play doesn't work they move on to the next. The DEfense has only one wish: they don't want to get HURT. They will do whatever it takes to avoid it.
Which are you?
A Defensive Dinosaur or a Phoenix that will rise out of the ashes?
Let me start off by saying I am one of the fortunate few who can say "I love what I do , and do what I love for a living". I've been doing this since 1980, and full time (my only source of income) since 1994. I do an average of 40 shows a year.
I have seen good times, and I have seen bad times. I have seen several recessions come and go. Americans are the most resilient people on the planet. We don't look to the government to help us, we do it ourselves. We can see this on TV. In 1995 hurricane Katrina struck and the levees broke. People were waiting for the government's inaction. Then we saw Joplin, and the devistation there. Nobody waited for FEMA, they got to work themselves. They didn't stand with signs saying "help me".
America is the most generous country on the planet. People who hate us have a disaster, and who is there? America. Who is airlifting food and medicine? America! That's who we are.
Now, having said that.....
We are in a business that is on the front line of the economy. There are parts of this great nation that are hurting, and other parts that are not. I guess it just depends on where you are.
This is business what is going to be weeded out. Big time. Many got into this because of the "easy money" doing shows. Both exhibitors as well as promoters. People came to the shows with cash or checks. And the money was indeed easy. But now, like it or not, the country as a whole is in a bad mood. I do a lot of shows, and I talk to every customer. I can tell the mood of the customers at just about any given show. Since 2007 I have done over 150 shows and I have seen the mood of the people change. And lately it's getting worse. Yes, they have a job, but they're not happy. And it affects their buying habits. Especially for something they don't need. Which is exactly what we're offering.
They can justify a 'need' for the latest electronic whatziz or whatever. But not for what we have.
So it's up to us to convince them they want it! And not everybody can do that! I got back into my mental state last weekend and the sales were just fine. Bantering with the customers, joking around, etc. Even if they didn't buy, they left my booth in a good mood, and maybe bought from my neighbor.
Attending an art fair or craft show should be an enjoyable experience for the customer. And here are exhibitors still sitting in the back of their booth reading and ignoring them!
The economy has also put exhibitors in a bad mood. And sadly I see more arguements between exhibitors! Over silly things.
The strong will survive, and the others will fall by the wayside. Both exhibitors, as well as promoters.
Now, more that ever, we must concentrate on the sales end of our business. Because unless you have a reputation and a following, the days of having our work sell itself are gone.
I think Im a a Pheonix too.
I like to look at the 'opportunity' within every setback, even lower sales and peoples 'bad moods'.
Maybe Ill start making more art that has a 'hopeful message' (I do a lot of collage/mixed media work and I add quotations to most of them.).
Its all just an opportunity to LEARN. Learn something about myself.
How resilient I am? How much I really ENJOY making art? and of course Im learning PATIENCE.
I do believe my business will pick up and it has already begun to lately. I dont do artshows anymore(after many years of doing 20-30 shows yearly) but I have a small art studio/gallery in a tourist town. This past week I had decent sales although far fewer people were walking by than other years.
I was just called by a PBS station in Nashville and they want to do a documentary type story on me and my art this coming Thursday. They will be bringing a few cameras and doing an interview and watching me work.
It could be fun and PROFITABLE if I can possibly gain some attention and more customers. ya never know?!
:) Hang in there. Heres to all the PHOENIXes. RISE!!
Hang in there! Hang together! Hang tough!
How is everyone surviving?
Let's hear it?
It will make us all feel better and maybe learn a tip or two.
I'm trying a few big shows, cutting down my travel and small shows where there wasn't much sales last year, but not my style.