Art Fair Insiders

Call for Artists, Making Money at Juried Art Fairs, Craft Shows and Festivals

I've decided to dip my toe in the Art Show waters and see if it's for me. Having done one small Holiday show recently, with wonderful comments/feedback on my photography, thinking on doing a few more. Those I'm considering to fill out an application for are indoors, save one. The one outside is a fairly large Art Show that I want to look professional, yet not put out a lot of $$$ for my booth, as the booth fee is pretty steep; of course if I'm accepted.

I've read a lot of discussions and found so much knowledge and information. Y'all really are great! Would like some thoughts on what I'm thinking on...

I'm going to get an EZ up tent to start with, an upper stabar and use cement deck blocks (near 50# per) to weigh down the tent legs. Since I only have a car and want to keep costs down, I thought about hanging my photography from the upper stabar. I figure the tent walls will be a decent backdrop for the time being. Unless I decide to get some material to put over the stabars.

I'm pretty handy so I can fashion things easily. Just not sure what would be best to use. Most of my prints will be 16 x 20 or under and all standard frame sizes, though I have one framed large piece that is around 24 x 36 that I have an easel for which is my "show piece". For now I have old looking crate, wire basket, etc. to put matted prints in on a table.

My questions:

1. What would you suggest to hang my framed photography with that is DIY?

2. Should I hang my "show piece" instead of using an easel?

3. Do most shows allow framed photography and canvases? Or should I forego canvas?

4. I plan to mat all prints for sale; archival acid-free: 4 ply alpharag mat and mount board (hinged). Is is frowned upon hanging matted prints unframed? If not how would you suggest hanging them?

5. Since the outside show is on grass, do y'all recommend putting down a tarp? I'm concerned with moisture. Will stakes keep it stretch to ensure no one trips? Or should I just put it down over night?

Thank you kindly for your assistance in advance!

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Here's some of the answers.

For sturdiness, the lower stabars will be a lot more effective. But if you want to hang from the top, jury rig bars that go across using 3/4 inch (EMT) electric conduit. You can also, if the weight is not too much, do 1/2 inch EMT sliding into the 3/4 inch so you have an adjustable width. I'd go eight feet of each.

Flourish makes strap hangers and pro panels makes hangers that go over the top of their respective displays. that's the design you want to copy for hanging on the top bars.

You can't hang matted prints without a frame. The unframed bin is the place for them. Also, unless you're made of money, use white core mat board like Crescent SRM918 instead of rag board which will cost about three or four times as much.

No one puts a tarp down on the ground during show hours. people will trip. If it's really muggy or rainy, you can put it down at night or just raise the canopy sides about six inches so the moisture isn't contained in the tent.

Larry Berman

Thanks Larry for your input! Much appreciated :)

I though about conduit and wondered how putting a smaller diameter into another would work out. What I worry about is there being movement and getting 8' sections into the car. I can stick them out the window, but if it's raining that wouldn't work. Maybe if I use 2 - 4' or 4.5' sections and run a piece of 1/2 inside them?

I beg to differ about the tarp during a show.  Dh secures it at the corners.  We put a tarp down at outdoor shows then put Astroturf down on top of it.  Dh has some "pins" he uses across the front of the Astroturf to prevent tripping.  It looks much better than mud and/or trampled, thin (and possibly dying) grass.

The reason we started doing this is because our back stock is stored under our tables in cardboard boxes.  Our boxes were getting damp overnight under our tables..  It helps prevent boxes from breaking and possibly damaging our stock.  At quite a few shows this has looked much better than if we had done without it.

Larry I don't know if you have done any outdoor shows in Louisiana but a tarp or 2 or 3 can be a lifesaver!  <vbg>

I stand corrected. But you're covering the tarp with your floor. A friend used a tarp on the ground at Long's park and it looked really tacky but he explained that it kept the moisture from his oil paintings.

Larry Berman

Cindy, I never thought of getting like an astroturf to put down over the tarp. Thanks for the suggestion! Although not what I would call "pins", I did think of "nailing" down the tarp like we do with the sides of canvas tents to secure them. But now think I'll do a tarp with astroturf over it. That is if I'm accepted :)

The thing we use to keep it from being a tripping hazard are actually the little doomajiggies that you get to line your sidewalk with Christmas lights.  The are really affordable and easily found right now at places like Lowes or Home Depot.  I think dh found some in another department with different packaging.  They go down into the ground easily and are easily pulled up with the pick side of a hammer.

Welcome to AFI, Charly. What type of photography are you exhibiting? Can you show us a few of your best works? What about a website?

Thanks for the welcome Barrie! Yanno that is a good question. lol I don't just shoot 1 or 2 genres, which people say is a bad thing. I'm very passionate about photography and shoot what captures my eye via digital and film; 35mm and large format (just starting out but do love them).

Of course this makes for a tough decision on what images to use for applications. Not really even sure how to approach choosing the right images. :(

I'm still working on my personal websites. In the mean time you can view my work at: Imagery by Charly and Prints of Italy

Gosh I just found out the outdoor Art Festival I was considering to apply to only allows Limited Editions. I haven't delved into them much and have no room to store them anyway...

Do all juried art shows work this way? If so I reckon I'm finished before I even begin. :(

A lot of shows state that but only one I know of has ever enforced it. that show was Virginia Beach.

Larry Berman

Thanks Larry and Alison. Really not prepared to do L.E. and don't want to chance putting out big bucks, if accepted, then be told to leave w/o refund

I do limited editions but I don't print them all at once.  I just keep track of the next number in the edition in an excel spreadsheet.  A lot of shows require limited editions, very few check.  But I'd rather not worry about it.

I tried using an Easel once and it was a major trip hazard.


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