Art Fair Insiders

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

I was reading the worst question thread and thought this might be interesting too. Hopefully it's not too negative.

My wife and I are coming up on our first show and I'll be selling prints of my photography, and my wife is selling homemade greeting cards and sock snowmen. 

I'm really worried people won't like my stuff, which is fine (everyone has their own taste), but being a county fair I'm a little worried their will be some bad apples in the crowd. I can handle no one buying anything, and even people not liking our stuff, but some people can be real jerks about it.

It'd be reassuring to know everyone has had to deal with an occasional jerk.
So, what's the worst thing you've heard someone say about your art or someone else's?

Views: 803

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

I use a lot of imagery in my work that some might consider weird or unusual. I had a couple come into my booth once and ask me about a piece.  We had a nice little conversation and they seemed fine. At the end the guy paused, looked me straight in the eye and then sneered “I wouldn’t buy it or anything though”. And then they left my booth. 

Some people are just going to be jerks. Hold your head up high and never feel bad about defending your work. 

I don't remember what it was I was selling, but it was a vintage piece.  A woman was looking it over, asking questions.  She asked the price and I told her, don't remember what it was but I know it was under $100, may have even been under $50.  She sneered and said, I wouldn't give you 2 bucks for it!  or some ridiculous things amount that, and she walked off.  I say good bye and good riddance.

Wow, that's just ridiculous and rude. Why say anything at all? Especially to your face.

I'm betting people who sell antiques probably get that a lot. Ya know the old saying, "one mans trash is another man's treasure", goes both ways. 

I like the comment that photographers get:  Were you there when this picture was taken?

As a fiber artist, I frequently got "Where did you get this stuff?"

I learn a long time ago if you cant deal with the public get out of this business. Forbes magazine once wrote 17% of people in any country of the world are total jerks or worse.
I am a paper artist combining paper sculpture and quilling. Someone looked at one of my most complex pieces that took quite a while to complete. Her response to the $250 price was "Why would anyone spend that much on paper?"
As if the only thing that makes art valuable is the type of material.

You have to have a thick skin to do shows.  While most people don't mean to be rude, some just can't help themselves.  

It's not the worst comment I've dealt with but I've heard "I can make that" a few times. What the customer doesn't know is the unknown steps to produce the piece.  I just smile at them and know even if they could make my product, they won't. 

The other thing that makes me smile is, my price range is $30-$225.00. Of course, when someone is attracted to the most expensive item, sometimes they look then look again, then whisper, as if I am not aware, to their friends.....$225.00?    Then there are those who just understand, pick out an expensive piece and thank me for my art.

Don't ever lose your smile at a show.

As a photographer, I like when they try to third degree me. "Where was this taken" "What camera" "What lens"... If I gave them my equipment and told them where to go, they still would not create what I did.

Sometimes when they say "What type of camera do you use?" or "You must have a really good camera" I state" I don't have a camera...I have a  photographic memory but I'm out of film". Either way I do so in jest. I'm not there to compete with or alienate the potential customers. I try to turn any comment or question into a conversation, resulting in education and sales.

Larry, you are spot on. I get more questions at shows from other photographers trying to learn my technique than any other type of question. And I am glad to share, because you can never have enough experiences where you share your knowledge, learn from others and perhaps find a new friend. Be flattered if another person in your craft stops to ask how you achieved your results. As to the non-photographers who stop by, I have been lucky never to have anyone say negative things about my work, but I know it happens. You are not going to please everyone, not everyone will love your work, whatever it may be. And that's ok. We go shopping at a store and don't buy everything we see, and turn our noses up at some things completely. We never think about it, because the person who designed or made that product is not standing right in front of us. Sadly, people forget that tiny detail when they react the way they would in a retail store. Let it go. Or perhaps draw them in with a friendly hello that starts the conversation that might change their attitude about the value of your work. You never know and life is too short to be hung up on pleasing just one person who may never be pleased about anything. 

When people give me the "You must have a really good camera" line I usually respond with "I also have a college degree in photography".

I love that lol! I always try to casually start talking about my concept and techniques to let them know, it ain't about the equipment, it's about the artist's vision. In the end, I am always flattered they stopped to look, no matter what. Can't fault a non-photographer for not realizing that creating art worthy photographs is more than snapping the shutter, any more than designing any other piece of art is more than slapping paint on a canvas or throwing clay on a wheel. Let's face it, if they stop, something caught their eye and it is a golden opportunity to expand their idea of how art is created. I think when you spend the time to educate your potential customers, they appreciate your work more and are more likely to ultimately buy. 

A woman viewing my artwork at a recent show turned to her companion and said, “sure, it’s cute as all get go, but really, who would hang that in their house.” What?!! My display was watercolors, and most were birds done in a realistic style. But I just took it as a back handed compliment.


Fiber artists -- use this resource to find new buyers:  Advertise with Reach over 60,000 fiber arts lovers.

Our 50 Best Art Fairs

Look Inside the 2018 Art Fair Survey:
Who Won and Why

Join the MasterMinds Group for personalized coaching on your Internet Lifestyle Business! 

60 Page Report - Best US Art Fairs

Click Here to
Learn More


  • Add Photos
  • View All

© 2020   Created by Connie Mettler.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service