Call for Artists, Making Money at Juried Art Fairs, Craft Shows and Festivals
This lady was slow mentally. And the coupon did say(Dan read it) get $50 at any booth. A more "with it" person might have understood that if the necklace was greater than $50 they would have to pay the difference. But she would never have understood.
C'est la vie!
I absolutely LOOVE this thread. I can relate to so many of these comments.
I have a studio/gallery and I have a 'guest book' for people to sign. Some people walk right in and pick up the pen to start signing it. WTF? BEFORE theyve looked at my art. One man started writing a long dissertation about how clever, unique and prolific I was..blah blah. He even wrote that this was the most'interesting artist' he'd seen on this loop. (I have a gallery in an arts and crafts community. Its a 'loop' of 8 miles'). I realized that although I liked the adoration Id PREFER to have him open his wallet. I was having one of those menopausal moments so I said sarcastically 'Ahhh just shut up and BUY ONE !'He did:) This probably wouldnt work on just anyone, especially one without a sense of humor.
Ok this week (which was one of my worst business weeks in a long time) here are a few more experiences:
After looking through everything I have one lady proudly announced 'Im gonna TAKE YOUR CARD' (woopeeee I thought. It was like saying 'Im gonna do you this BIG favor and take your card! Arent you glad?) Geesh. Then she added 'AND Im gonna take your picture!'. HUH?? She had this big camera around her neck. I was busy working and wasnt in a 'mood' to be photographed so i said "Id prefer NOT having my picture taken, but thankyou. WHY would she just want a picture of me working? I also added to please not photograph any of my art etc. She looked baffled and left.
Another woman walked in and asked 'SO you MAKE all of this?' I answered 'Well I do have some Keebler Elves sitting here behind my desk working with me.'I said with a smirk. She looked puzzled. 'WHY would you ask that?, I asked back. (I love to answer questions with other questions).
'Arent we all supposed to be making our art here in this ARTS community?' I asked. She then said 'well some people dont!'. (DUH. Those are the many people who are bringing buy/sell into this community and are cheapening this whole communities reputation.sigh).
A few more comments I get a lot:
'Thanks for letting us look at all your wonderful creations" or 'Thanks for letting us view your creativity!'. 'Thanks for sharing your gifts with us . Youre so entertainign too!' blah blah.. (Those are the days when my personality is in a upbeat mood evidentally).
Im still not sure how to respond to those. Your welcome? Nahh. Umm.. I think back to when I used to sing in bars and clubs for tips with my guitar, and atleast there I had a tip bowl! I sure wish I had a tipbowl in my gallery lately, with all the FREE entratinment Ive been giving out---- so they can atleast TIP me for being so much fun. Oh speaking of fun I hear this comment alot.
'I bet its great to have so much FUN at your job?'. (I sometimes answer 'WEll why would I NOT have fun?'. "You mean you dont have fun at YOUR job?---or 'YES its fun but its also a lot of hard work and dedication to make a living at it'.
'How long does it take you to make one?' -- I still dont know how to respond so lately Ive been saying 'It just depends on my inspiration at the time". I like to keep it vague and not give them any real clue.
Then there's "How long have you been doing this?' (I still wonder WHY they ask this?). I was in a fiesty mood yesterday so I asked back 'WHY do you ask?'. Another answer to a question with another question. He got a bit offended and said 'I just like to know how long artists have been creating their art?". HMM...WHY I thought? He left abruptly after I said 'You can read all about my history here in this article, and I handed him my bio. I kept working. I honestly dont know why people ask some things.
I also tend to know WHO will buy and who wont now. The quiet ones seem to buy more than the loud verbal complementers! Just an interesting observation.
Ok thats enough for now. Thanks everyone for such an ENTERTAINING thread! :)
ohhh one more I just remembered.
A big bellied guy with no teeth and overalls came in this week hollering 'So, Whats the cheapest thing in here?'.
I sat quiet and whispered 'Apparantly you'.
So, where's the tip jar? :)
I had a gallery for several years with a friend before it burned to the ground in 2006. Ours was a working studio, where we offered classes in lampworking, beading, collage, mosaics, clay and a few other things. I was always amazed by the things people would ask, but this was my favorite:
Woman watching my partner as she's making a lampwork bead in the torch: "Is that real fire?" (Nah, she's just pretending.)
'How long does it take you to make one?'
I’ve been getting that a lot lately, and telling them the real answer does not seem to be helping me. I say something like, “I don’t make a single piece from start to finish, I work on several pieces at the same stage at the same time. I may spend a day doing bezels, another day doing bails, another day polishing, etc.”
I tailor the specifics to the interest level but honestly, they really don’t understand if I do get specific. So I feel like I’m shooting myself in the foot here.
This question has never resulted in a sale. Either I’m handling them wrong, or they asked the question just to find out if the # of hours spent seemed proportional to the price.
They also don’t seem to like finding out that I’m efficient enough to design a workflow?! Doesn’t dovetail with their preconceived notions of being an artist, perhaps.
How could I do this differently? I thought about “going back to my roots” of illustration and talking about how long I spend designing on paper first, working through various variations, and how when I have a sheet or two or three full of drawings, a new series is born. I draw all the time while waiting at a slow show: I could easy just open my notebook and show them. I’m compulsive, I draw and plan and measure everything. Or, something more touchy-feely like how sometimes one stone just has to wait for that “aha” moment where it will fall into place.
Actually, this thread has resulted in some very valuable idea about how to answer some irritating questions, that could be made into opportunities, if we only knew the right thing to say.
Seriously, you could just say flippantly," A lifetime." Or better yet, come up with a couple of questions to throw it back at them. It's one of those conversation-starter questions, anyway, because the would-be customer doesn't know what to say to an artist. They're obviously interested in starting SOME kind of conversation, so use the opportunity to find out about them.
For example: ask them if they value work that takes longer, or if it looks time-consuming to them. Ask them if they are interested in the process behind a specific piece... and on. and on.
Do you want me to use your first name? How would you prefer to be called?
You hit the nail with the right hammer!
I think people want to engage with the artist. You all have sounded out about what you say to stupid questions.
We can all remember or think of movies where the guy has to come up with a fabulous line to get the girls attention, right? Even the best writers in the world have a hard time coming up with great lines...meaningful sentences.
I mean, what would we LIKE to be asked?
IS there ANYTHING?
I know this is a complain blog. Sorry. I have the same stories.
(And, yes, the radio station is suppose to send me my money!)
And Linnea, my answer is, that the inspiration for the piece hit me in _______________(exoticplace and time). I couldn't begin to sketch the first draft until six months later as I was teaching lampworking in Italy with the Muranos. I refined and refined throught my daily meditations. Finally, I was able to begin making the parts which would result in the master or unique piece. These masters require reworking and rethinking. Sometimes I am up for days at a time: no sleeping or eating. I live totally cut off from humanity to create. Days, weeks go by.
Time has no meaning to an artist.