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Have amassed a body of work that, from going to shows locally, seems at least comparable.  Thought I'd like to try a show to see if there is any interest in the work from the general public.  I've applied for several shows (Zapplicaton) without being accepted.  I don't have a booth shot, because I don't have a booth.  I submitted a booth shot from off the web with the works photoshopped in but even with that, I was not accepted.

Maybe the work isn't good enough.  (I've attached a few pictures submitted with the Zapplication application.

Any suggestions, thoughts?

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Hi Edgar,

I don't think that it's a matter of the work not being good enough but rather an issue of consistency.  Although your work is all nonrepresentational the styles are too varied.  The second image (and imo the best one) is very organic and free flowing.  The last image is very geometric and much more like a repetitive pattern.  Most jurors will be looking for more cohesion.  Good luck!

Dennis Angel

Nothing wrong with your work.  Someone will buy it. Sooner or later your going to need a booth.  Whats the point of waiting till later.  Get a Eur Max, or KD or similar now for about $200 and get your booth shot. If nothing else you can always use it for a tailgate party at the football game. There's also tons of shows not covered by Zapp that don't ask for a booth shot. See or or  

Many thanks to the both of you.  I'm working in the dark here.  Your advice is very helpful.

As to consistency of style:  Is this just important for the selection process or in the display as well? 

Many shows receive twice as many applications as spaces so it's likely that some very high-quality artists will not be invited. Some of the considerations-

• The style of work that fits the show - Is it a traditional show, a contemporary show.... Is the audience younger / older / ethnic?

• Variety- having many mediums covered and having a variety of styles within each medium. Jewelers tend to have the most competitive and in most shows the difference between acceptance and not invited can be very small. This can be an issue in all mediums- if six photographers apply with amazing wildlife images, it's unlikely that all will be included.

• Taste- jurors are like others. They have preferences in what they like that they may not even be aware are influencing their decisions.

• Booth- Pretty good work looks very good if presented well. Great work can look unacceptable when not displayed properly.
Consistency at the show will depend on the festival. For a lot of shows people will just buy it if they like it. At higher end shows (Cherry Creek for instance) many buyers are a bit more astute and will be looking for that consistency or "vision", especially for higher end purchases. I would build the work in the direction of the style that you feel best about and that gives you the most pleasure in creating. Again, all of the best!
Hi Edgar,

I started showing only two years ago. I began at small local arts and crafts fairs with just a table space indoors. It wasn't the right venue for my work, but it gave me experience dealing with how to set up, what I needed to transport my art, and selling art to the public in general. I now am starting to sell at more art focused fairs and outdoors. I bought an EZ up tent and mesh display walls from Flourish last winter, and started doing local art fairs that were outside events. And gained even more experience with set up! Even so, I have only gotten into one premier art show, and that was off their waitlist! But what I've learned about entering into the better art shows is that your jury photo shots and your booth shot are very important. As others have stated, the jury likes to see consistency among your work. That doesn't mean the subject matter has to all be identical, necessarily, but that has to be a cohesive style. Also, you really need to photograph your actual art in your actual booth. The jury wants to know that if they accept you, that you will have a professional looking display. So buy a used or inexpensive tent and walls, read up on all the great advice provided here on how to improve your booth shots, and start photographing your art and booth! Also, take advantage of any mock jury experiences you can participate in. I did two mock juries, put on by highly respected art fairs, and they will give you feedback on your jury shots and booth shots. One mock jury was free, and the other was only $10. You can apply to them from Zapplication when they come up.

Wow, this is fantastic!  Yesterday I was in the dark and today I'm among friends!  Thanks to all.

Another question re booths: Setting aside the question of whether to start with a cheaper tent or with the best you can afford, what about display panels?  Has anyone seen a significant difference in sales between hanging (nicely) from the tent walls vs. using display panels?

I asked a similar question before purchasing my Flourish mesh walls.  I have the white mesh, and they are super easy to set up, very durable, and can hold artwork on either side (so I can display artwork on the outside walls of my tent, as well as inside, should I have a corner booth).  I went with the mesh because I have to set up my booth by myself, and I don't have a large vehicle for hauling things.  The mesh is lightweight and compact.

I know the judges do not discriminate against one or the other system, so I think its just a matter of what you feel best displays your artwork. If you feel it looks better on panels, then your customers probably will, too.  But I think both work equally well as long as you put effort into your display and hang your art well. 

I'm thinking of getting a Showoff tent.  The question is whether or not to get the display walls.  I can get them in various colors -- black would work with my work, I think -- but it's not clear to me what exactly the walls are made out of.  Can one just put hooks in them?  Anyone know?

I’m not familiar with the Showoff brand, but Flourish has two styles.  The white is a mesh that you hang “s” hooks through on either side.  The Black has the mesh with the “s” hooks on the inside; but to hang on the outside you use drapery hooks.

Your work looks great. A booth shot will show scale of the work (is it 2 feet or 8 feet tall) and the overall arrangement. You may wish to hire a professional photographer for your work, someone who is both good with a camera and photoshop. The first show that I was accepted to (Cherry Creek fall show) came from photos taken by Jeff Scovil, a noted mineral photographer. When I hired him, I had already, myself, taken and published over 10,000 photographs of equipment, and had a photo studio, cameras and lighting; when I took shots of my own artwork, though, they always came out looking like a piece of equipment.

As for style consistency, well, each of my pieces are different designs, using similar materials, as you have. As I have amassed a body of work, the consistency between them is that they are all different styles, yet you can tell that they come from the same eye. I prefer to make the pieces that my design eye tells me to make, and I let that design path follow its own random direction.  I mention this as you may wish to keep both styles. I know one artist who has two complete bodies of work - one of abstract pastels, the other of landscapes. Both bodies of work use similar materials and colors, even the style of color splashes and strokes are similar, yet the subject materials, and end results are different, so he will submit one or the other body of work to a show, depending on what he thinks the audience wants. He has also been at this some 35 years, so has enough accumulated talent and work to do that.

You may not need to go buy a booth just yet, you can take your shots using a cloth backdrop against a large flat surface, for example, the wall of your living room, or a garage door.

Keep in mind, your work is great. That is the important part! The rest, well, that's details.

Keep at it.

Thanks.  Wonderful advise.  Encouragement appreciated, as well.


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