Call for Artists, Making Money at Juried Art Fairs, Craft Shows and Festivals
Gotten all my best advice here, so this is what i am struggling with now: how much art is too much? I keep trying to figure out how to fit more inventory into a 10x10 space... is this just plain stupid? I've only been to 3.5 art festivals, and the last one I took (approx):
20 5x7 pen and inks
45 16x20 watercolor/pen and inks
15 22x30 watercolors
10 17x22 watercolors
10 odd size pen and inks
4 36x36 canvas
3 36x48 canvas
2 oils on canvas
40 non-matted originals in 17x22 portfolios
What I am wondering is: do potential buyers see all this work (all original, no reproductions) and it's devalued because there is so much? At the last event there was guy that showed up with only five 8.5x11 pieces in a 10x10 tent (far too little) but I had so much I had to expand outside of my tent. We did sell all but one canvas piece and 26 other pieces at the last show, but I've seen people flip thru all my stuff and just walk off. I have a three day event coming up end of the month, and 3 more events in the next 45 days.
If they are proven sellers or a proven style, which takes more than a few shows, then there is no such thing as too much as long as it fits in your vehicle. But for the amount of inventory, you don't put it all out at the same time except to present a full display. Keep some of each size in reserve to replace what sells.
I've found the old adage of "Less is More" is much better.
Having too much open stock can confuse the buyer to where they can't make a decision. I'd rather put 1 model of each out for viewing. If they ask a question about other colors, I can always show them my reserve stock.
I haven't done many more shows than you, but that does seem like an awful lot of inventory to bring. Visually, I think it looks nicer to not have every square inch of your tent walls filled - the better shows want you to go for a gallery look. But you can achieve that and still have a lot of inventory if you have works in a print bin. I put my best works up on the back wall to attract people into the tent, but I also have a print bin at the front. I fill all my inside walls, but like to space the works out so they aren't on top of each other. If I have a corner booth, I'll also use the outside wall for framed prints and canvas reproductions.
Nothing wrong with bringing a lot of inventory to have reserve, if you have the space to transport it all, though.
Thanks for the feedback, all of it useful. Don't know why this didn't occur to me before and why I was trying to cram every inch with art. Decision made: going to take a max of 40 pieces, 30 small (16x20 and under) and 10 canvases... but have enough packed in the suv to switch out all of it over 2.5 days.
I am thinking about taking all of my canvas pieces, some 45 of them, and have them in an enclosed trailer... then if someone wants to see more give them a secret tour.