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Still have 175 pieces to mount and bag, buy grid walls, and figure out what to price the 233 originals i'll be taking. First show ever and I just started drawing again after a near 30 year break (became a graphic artist and left pen and paper behind in 1989, thanks Apple). Not expecting to have a great day since its my first time, it's a one day music/art festival that will pretty much be a 35 and under crowd, and I have no clue what I am doing.

I have mainly 5x7's, 8x10's, and 11x14's originals, and I'm thinking of pricing them at $30, $55, and $80? (plus $15 extra for Ikea sourced frames). I feel odd even selling artwork. 

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Just depends on what kind of music there is what kind of audience it will draw, Rick. Do not be afraid to have some more expensive pieces. Show your best work, do not go chasing the $$, it never pays. Do what you do best and stand by it. Then, see if you can find the line that is not pandering to your audience and pleases them as well as yourself. Listen to your viewers and talk to all. My favorite chat line, "what brings you to the festival today?" is about THEM, gets them talking about themselves and their interests and gives the impression that you are interested in meeting them, it is not all about you. 

Get set up early. Look at others displays. Do not discount people who don't look like they will buy. You never know. Have fun.

thanks, you sound like a veteran. Since it's my first time I don't even know what constitutes expensive, but I do plan on getting there 2 hours before opening so I can "look" around. Still having the debate (also) of whether just to price all like-size pieces the same to make life easy, or should I put a sticker on every piece and price according to my level of like. Maddening

Price everything. I hate to ask people what the price of something is and often will walk away when I might have purchased. I'd say everything the same size should be the same price. My definition of expensive is thinking beyond my own pocketbook and what I'd pay for something. Artists should not assume our possible customers are at our income level. Most people attending these events are in better financial shape.

I know I'm being a bit slow - I thought If I labeled the bins the artwork is in (large Ikea white plastic, low edge bins that people can flip thru the mats) with the price (say $55 each) then if I wanted to change the price I won't have to go thru every piece and peel and restick labels on each. But, then again, I would prefer to have varying prices based on amount of "impact" I think each piece has. Plus I've done 50 pieces intended for kids rooms I think these should be priced lower since they more basic and took so me so much less time. 

Guess I'll just wait til saturday morning and price like others around me. )

To me it makes sense to me to just put a label on the bin if everything in the bin is the same price. Then if you had stuff hanging up, price those individually? But I haven't done a show yet (first one is this summer). I feel like some of this is trial and error and we can't expect everything to go perfect the first time. Especially with prices. I have no idea if the prices I'm choosing are too low or too high, but I'm going to try not to dwell on it too much until I go to the first show and see what happens :-)

Pray for rain!! That saved me at my first show. Unfortunately, this type of event isn't going to help you learn what to do at a real show. Nevertheless here are a few tips:

1) Relax. There isn't much you can do now anyways. You should not be mounting and framing now. You should be packing today and maybe driving. 

2) Don't worry. The people who attend these events don't know what they are doing also.

3) 175 pieces is pretty ambitious... and probably unnecessary. 100 will be more than enough. 

4) You feel odd selling artwork? Oh please, get over yourself. You are selling hand made home decoration. I say this in a kind way. I think you will find it fun selling your stuff. Your electric company will be happy you did.

Thanks for all the feedback! I think we will price all artwork based on size, i.e. 5x7's all the same, 8x10's the same etc - except for the really big sheets (20x16 and larger). I'm sure the first show is always the most difficult, and since I've only been back drawing since January of this year I still have a lot to learn/discover. This is obviously a side-gig and mostly an excuse to get out and away from the house (65+ hours a week as a graphic designer working for 5 different advertising agencies and approx 20 freelance clients). 

Last questions, if anyone has time:

Should I expect to have the urge to mark down artwork towards the end of the show, especially if things are not going great - and is that the worse idea ever?

Should I expect people to make offers lower than artwork is marked, and whats the most pleasant response I can use for that kind of conversation?

I bought some artist trading cards (3.5x2.5) and have finished (pen and ink with some coloring) about 40 of them - thought I might just put them on the table for $1 a piece and write my website name on the back... good idea or a terrible precedent? Many of them are simple botanicals since Mothers Day is this weekend. Figure they're might be kids there that could buy them as gifts. 

Live art: is it ok to sit in the tent and do new original artwork or should I avoid that just stand and wait to engage people?

Thank you. Good to have somewhere to go for feedback. I need more friends (

Relax and watch the flow. Maybe no one will even come into your tent. If you sold 100 pieces of work you'd be a star. I'd not set my expectations too high. Play with your prices, see what feels right. Check your neighbors and see what they are charging. Mark down if you feel like it. Sometimes people don't even notice. The cards are a nice idea ... sure do that. 

It is okay to do work in your tent ... it is a good sales technique and people will be likely to interact with you more. 

For the price of the booth fee you are getting lots of valuable information for the next time. Consider it OJT.

DO NOT MARK THINGS DOWN!!!   Even if things don't sell at this show, give them another chance before you start marking down.  I think the trading cards sound great.  Will kids be able to tell that you have something in their price range?  Be ready to talk to everyone.  Find some comfortable intro phrases like Connie suggested.  If you see children, maybe ask them what kind of pictures they like.

I expect to only sale 3-8 pieces, so my expectations are low. I do plan on doing 3-6 more shows this summer so I'll just play the long game and not even consider markdowns. I'll probably do better at more dedicated art festival - this one is more music orientated. 

My first festival turned out to be much more music driven then art, it was a small festival in the middle of downtown Dallas, and very much a younger-hardrock feel. Plus I was the only vendor selling artwork, with maybe the exception of one other vendor that did body sketches. Mainly food and alcohol vendors. Regardless, I sold either 31 or 33 pieces, lost track somewhere. Taking artwork in actual frames was a dumb idea, and almost a dozen people wanted to buy artwork later because they didn't want to carry the artwork last night - so I gave out a website address I bought on the spot and now I'm under the gun to launch a website with artwork. )

Thanks for the great feedback. 

Wow, you did much better in sales than you originally expected, that's awesome! Was it an enjoyable experience overall?


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