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Dear ArtFair Insiders Members,


I just joined a local group of Artists, Cass Area Artists (CAA), Cassopolis, MI area. The group has participated in a few local shows with joint booths, but July 4th the group is sponsoring their first event. I am very happy to be a part of the CAA group.


Thursday at our CAA meeting we discussed a firm rule that no buy/sell will be accepted. We discussed that sometimes it is hard to know buy/sale if they look like a legit artist. Several people in our group are well-aware of some of the established folks and some of the regularly accepted folks who are not really artists. I look forward to guidance about any current buy/sell names of which we should be aware. You are welcome to message me privately or email me to share names and avoid any potential liability. I know about the wooden watches, but forgot the name of the folks selling them and I know there are others. I'm wondering if any of you folks provide additional guidance to avoiding BUY/SELL vendors. 

Lois Anderson:


I am more than happy to take any suggestions to our group without providing your names.

Thank you for any comments or suggestions.

Lois Anderson (Rosary Doctor)

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Publicly identifying what you think is buy sell, without real proof means law suit. There's a reason why the top shows hesitate on removing artists once juried in.

Larry Berman

Shows should be afraid of getting sued by artists because shows let in buy/sell. The way they look at this is backwards. Besides, if it looks like buy/sell it should naturally get rejected.

The Native American community has this correct attitude. In order to do their shows, and yes there are shows that just have American Indian art, the artist has to prove that 1) they are Native American and 2) that they made it themselves.

Larry and Others,

I realize that there are those concerned about lawsuits, our concern is to be aware of current offenders to avoid getting into that position. Since the members of our group usually do local shows, we do not have the vast wealth of knowledge that others in AFI have. In the AFI podcast that was done on this topic a couple of years ago, Connie shared that when she first saw the wooden watches that she had no idea that they were Buy/Sell. So, I am just asking for the collective knowledge of others about Buy/Sell because, clearly Buy/Sell is not always obvious that it is Buy/Sell. Again, please note that I included my private contact information so that you do not have to have your name associated with your information in a public setting.

Thanks for any information ... that anyone ... is willing to provide.



You can't ask for names on a public forum.

Larry Berman

"Again, please note that I included my private contact information so that you do not have to have your name associated with your information in a public setting."

Why don't you just make it expensive for them. Take their money, let them set up, then give them the boot. Have a stand-by artist to take their place on short notice and have a burly volunteer handle security.


Consider asking for photos of the artist WHILE they are making their product, perhaps studio or workspace? I certainly would not be offended for such a request.

Even in the shows I've done I have had to submit photos of me working on my product.  I have never been outside Louisiana for a show nor in a big show.  I did not mind submitting it.  Had dd take it while I was working at my work table.

Same here. I always submit photos of me shearing and bending the steel that I use.

Hello Lois,

I have to tell you I appreciate your not wanting any b/s in your show~I as an Artist & Promoter HATE to see it at ANY JURIED show!  There has been a ton of discussion on Connies' Art fair Insiders about this. I have heard alot of great ideas, along with the LEGAL aspects as well. I really feel it is  NOT RIGHT, that you are asking the NAMES of these B/S people, because if they are not right, you could ALL be in a messy lawsuit!  This is YOUR SHOW~DON'T ask or involve anyone else to do YOUR work as far as asking names.  I really feel you mean WELL & again, I wish all promoters felt this strongly about the b/s problem from what I have seen in my travels. I know alot of the Promoters truly care in the shows that I do, but asking for names "secretly"compiling a list or otherwise is just plain WRONG Lois.  YES, it IS a problem, especially in Jewelry, & I have had some experiences that I would like to share & they might help you.

As far as asking for pictures of their work~I like the idea alot as I keep them thru the fair.  As far as Artists creating their work~FORGET IT!  It means nothing. If you are a Jeweler, you shouldn't have to ask, or perhaps you may want to hire someone if you are just not confident to jury. I know some pictures are hard to tell "sometimes", but if you ask for the pictures for jurying which is what I do (& it has always worked), then when you do your on-site jurying at the show, you will have their pictures to compare. If something looks questionable~TALK TO THEM with the picture in your hand_NOT A CD OR SLIDE but a picture IS worth a thousand words. If it is questionable, tell them to remove the product or however you wish to handle it. It is YOUR show! 

I was doing a show where 4  Artists had come to my booth & asked if I would go to Administration with them as there was an Artist that was b/s.  I was really busy, but said I wanted to see this Artist 1st.  Sure enough, these 2 guys had stickers "made in Taiwan" on the rings.  I asked to see the rings from his elaborate glass cases & I told him he might want to take these stickers off.  He told me he didn't know how they got there,  Right.  Well, all of us Jewelers proceeded to Admin., & she said she couldn't believe it as he had beautiful 8X10 glossys with him holding a torch in probably someone elses' studio. If you are or know a Jeweler, you should NOT have to ask for pictures of them making their work, or even videos~shouldn't be necessary.  You are also going to look at the product at the show when you are there (I hope).

I will share a "questionable" that I had~A lady sent in beautiful wreaths (very traditional & contemporary & very unique & stylish~something Macys would never have as they are too unique & one of a kind).  I was doing my walk-thru with photos, & saw a huge 10' table & knew that was wrong, because everything was supposed to be hanging.  People were buying like crazy~I mean you couldn't even get close to her table!  I saw 8 wreaths hanging in the back of the booth with no one looking up at them.  She had "Rubber Plants".  OK, this was at the Minnesota State Fair grounds in the Fine Art Building that my show was in~family event. The Rubber plants (about 300 on her table) were all made out of condoms. omg. I asked her what on earth she was doing with these & she said they were juried in. I pulled out the photos in my hand, & held them in her FACE. I said that you will HAVE to take all of these DOWN as you didn't apply for these & she said that the wreaths don't go & that she may as well leave.  It was no problem~I had help that had her out in 2o minutes. I have to admit tho, they were really cute (LOL) BUT the State Fair  Superintendant would have had my neck & she didn't enter them.  I would have had to reject them anyway. 

I would think also, if you do see a b/s & look up & find that this "stuff" is in a wholesale cataloge, that  stores can buy it for resale in their stores, THEN you should be able to confront him/her FIRST about it, & I then would not see anything wrong with even publicly warning other Artists, but that would be the ONLY way I would mention a "NAME."  You really have to be so careful, & I know your love of real ART is in the right place~keep it there:)  

Our Juried Art fairs are on different weekends!  Come on out & see me as I will be at the Fair the whole time~I would LOVE to meet you!  Steven (my Fiance) & I are promoting Westfield Old Orchard in Skokie, Illinois May 30-31. It's CHICAGO~if you want to make a weekend of it~I have great rates for my Artists at 4 star hotels~I'll get you a 4 star room with everything for $80.00+ tax.  We would love to come & see your show too! Our website is  

Good luck on your first show & I am sure you will be able to handle the b/s. I hope I helped some.

Every applicant must be treated equally.

If you want to weed out B/S one of the absolute best ways is to require photos of the applicant producing their work. Then the fun begins. When our group of fellow exhibitors get together we will laugh at how some photos are staged. None of us has a spotless shop or studio. Mine's an absolute mess. Same with the others to some degree. A B/S merchant doesn't have that. Just open boxes all over the place. It's the little things behind the photo.

Another way is to require copies of recent invoices of the raw materials or supplies. Your typical B/S merchant can't supply these.

It's your show. You can allow or not allow anyone you want. But you're only human. Humans can and do make mistakes, and maybe a B/S merchant will slip by. I was a quality control boss in a previous life and I had a sign on the wall of my office:

Show me someone who never makes mistakes

And I'll show you someone who doesn't do any work.

So if a B/S merchant gets in, have a plan ready to implement if it happens.

Hi Chris,

Yes, there are exeptions!  She just wanted a "no-fail" &  I do agree, these "characters"seem to always"slip in".  I do like the invoice idea-smart-BUT who is to say a criminal mind couldn't figure THAT out too, but it probably would take awhile!  I didn't think of that! (not to say you have a criminal mind- sorry (LOL). About the workbench, I would have to agree that alot of the Artists I know have a very "worked at" looking rather on the side of MESSY workbench (I TRY~ours is rather organized), but you have a point.  The photos of those 8X10 glossys were indeed in a perfect setting-VERY neat & clean.  He was holding his torch like an idiot tho & to us-yeah, it was funny (in a sick way) because it wasn't REAL. My Featured Artist Doug Durkee has a spotless VERY organized work shop, & I KNOW he makes his items, so you can't always tell.

Great ideas Chris, but to Lois, go with your gut-do the best you can do-we all know you are trying & respect you for that, but there are NO CLEAR CUT answers on this one.  It is YOUR SHOW, so as I said, you have to take CONTROL & don't ask ANYONE for Fiance made a good point~how do you know that people won't give you names of their "competitor"?  Steve always thinks of things that didn't even cross my mind-but that is also a possibility, so DO YOUR OWN THING & have fun at your show, but don't forget to come out to Old Orchard, see my show & visit me May 30-31!!! The applications are still coming in!

Yes, & if a b/s merchant gets in, do have a plan to implement~I agree. 


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