Call for Artists, Making Money at Juried Art Fairs, Craft Shows and Festivals
At a show in Charlotte, NC, a couple weekends ago, promoter Patty Narozny pointed out that there are very few young artists at the shows. And as I looked around that weekend and this past one, I began to see that she has a point.
I'm 56. Most of the artists I see at shows are in their 50s or older. Is this the way it has always been? Is it a symptom of changing economic times - young artists putting art aside to earn a steady paycheck? Or is it something about Gen Whatever It Would Be - Gen Zsquared?
When I do see a young artist at a show, he or she is often doing something really innovative, really cool, really interesting - and inspiring to me. So what's going on here?
Larry Sohn, on the other hand I have had people who can't decide ending up buying both.
I am a young artist! I graduate from college in May, studying marketing and fine art. I just joined this site, but wow the knowledge and wisdom here is amazing! I knew I needed to start the art show scene and business as soon as I get out of school. Otherwise, I was afraid it wouldn't happen.
In my opinion, if young people have gone to college, they are in way more debt and financial issues compared to older generations. This can make it extremely difficult to set up an art business and be able to afford all the display materials and fees as well as materials to make artwork. I think I am better off with the knowledge I have from college, but financially, I am a little worried. On top of this, when I was in middle and high school, there was a big push for STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) education, not so much the arts. That may have something to do with it too.
I apprenticed for 6 years in my art in HS and while getting my BS ('65). I ran a part time custom belt business while getting my Ph.D. ('70). Think about working part time in the art field while developing your own art business. Jump into shows to learn the ropes and what of your art sells best. You will find more advice talking to artists at shows, and don't be surprised if some were scientists too.
Don't think you younger people are in more debt, or have a lesser financial burden. Some of us "old geezers" had to raise, support and pay for that college education, for the "youngsters". Leaving us with less of a fluid financial picture. Also, at young ages, take the chance and see if you can make it, in this business. If not, you have plenty of time to try something else and build back up. Us old timers don't have that luxury. Although, if we don't make it and need help, some of us might just decide to be a burden on our kids :-) :-P
Yes. If you're young, do give it a try. Why not? Life will be here for a long time, we're all living longer and longer. Adventures are important. No regrets. If you're unencumbered by having to support others, there is no better time.
Connie, I'm still thinking about buying your lovely old home and just doing the Art circuit out in that area :-) Unencumbered, old and seeking adventures :-)
How sweet. Luckily, I sold the house to folks from Detroit in January, only on the market for 465 days ...
I'm 44 (is that younger?) and have been doing shows for years, first with family and now as a sole proprietor. I'm also a full-time teacher and a parent. I'm always interested in what younger creative makers are doing. Some shows offer discounts and highlight young artists.
The overhead on Etsy and eBay is certainly lower, but the exposure, on the street, can't be beat.
And I certainly like selling to people face to face better (plus, not packing things to ship lol). I'm 35 but have been doing shows with my father (who's got 50+years as an artist) since I was, well, like 5, but actually working a booth in my early teens. Selling online just doesn't compare.
I am 40 and have been doing art fairs, festivals and markets since I was 30. I've also always created for a younger audience - or perhaps my colorful shirts tend to be the most loved by younger people. This means I have to avoid shows that draw primarily an older/more conservative demographic.
I love selling at festivals and hearing people compliment me on my work, ask about my story and the inspiration behind a design, try the different shirts on, look at the details in a design, things that are only possible at festivals/in person shows!
Like many on this site I struggle to sell online during this pandemic so I joined to get advice on what other artists who sell predominantly at festivals are doing. It's also good to know what festivals to consider in the future. I really hope this pandemic ends soon so that I can get back to doing what I love. This pandemic has been a struggle for me both financially and emotionally.