Call for Artists, Making Money at Juried Art Fairs, Craft Shows and Festivals
This weekend a woman asked me, as I was standing in front of her in my booth surrounded by my actual paintings, "Do you have a website?" Pretty standard stuff, but then she followed it up with "I like to go online after the show and deal more directly."
I do not think that word means what you think it means...
I’ve always been mystified by the sheer number of people who ask if I have a website. I don’t: I don’t want to sell on the web. So I have just a Business Facebook page, but it doesn’t seem to be what they are interested in. I’ve decided it’s a euphemism for “I’m not buying today.” I say, “No, but I’m here NOW,” sometimes tossing in something like, “I like to meet my customers in person.” Which has never yet resulted in a sale.
Sheila, at commission shows I’ve occasionally had someone who want to save the commission, and buy at my home. So there is a chance that that is what that person was thinking. So they ask for my card, in the hopes of a deal. When I sense that, I explain that I have not raised my prices to cover the commission (anymore than I change them to reflect a higher booth fee). (Now, why they assume I live nearby, and why I’d agree to let them come to my house, is another story.)
She probably just tried to make a graceful exit and failed. I told myself that she must have instantly realized how silly that was to say.
My new answer to the website question shall be "I have a blog. I prefer to sell my work in person." All true---my website is a blog and has no shopping cart or any such thing. If pressed, I will go on to say that a website doesn't represent my work accurately, and shipping is risky and expensive. That's why I hand-carry the work to shows and galleries instead. Of course I won't be pressed, because that is just how people get out of the booth without buying. Sometimes I just want to tell people that they are absolutely free to leave whenever they like. No comments necessary.
*We are both painters.
The usual: -did you make these? -stories of how well their child/spouse/cousin paints...-how long did it take you to paint this? -did you go to school for this?
1.- Did you copy these or did you actually come up with all this stuff out of your own head?
2.- My bin pieces are labeled on the back with price and the word "original" or "print".
A lady once came to a VERY slow fair and asked to pay a certain amount for two small original watercolors. I was so sick thinking we were not even going to break even I said "ok". As I was wrapping them up she asked me to sign them--- I said, they are already signed- and pointed to my name on the watercolor. She insisted that I sign it "for real" .... I explained she was buying two originals, not prints and that they already had my signature. She insisted I sign them in front of her. I said to her: these are originals and you are getting them for a steal, please either go home with them as is and check my website so you see their worth....or simply return them to me and I will give you prints which I can sign in front of you... she quickly ran off with them without even waiting for me to wrap them......
3. I made an oil on canvas using only blue and white (I used the red only for darker values-but it is a 'blue painting'). It is a painting of four cats and a person whose head you see, and two hands...but the rest of it is engulfed in blue as blanket.....all you see is blue, a face, and the four white cats. One woman came to me at a show (this was in a gallery) and said: I love it! But ...... can you make one for me without blue? (!) -as I stared at her in disbelief--the painting is all about the color!- she added: and you know?.... I hate cats, can you make it also without cats
(!!!! omg !!!!)
Every Art Show we pass out at least 25 cards for people who "Love your beautiful work." (of course!) But "Do you have a website?"
Funny thing is we do not get the 25 hits on the website you might imagine....we get one or two!
Here's what I think happens.
Another story to explain:
At Gold Coast, a woman stood looking at my company logo(which is my card) that we have blown up to a 3ft by 5ft size poster displayed in front of the booth. It's stunning and draws lots of attention, if I do say so myself! Anyway, she demanded in a loud voice, "I want this...I have to have this!"
I explained it was not for sale, it was the company logo, see my name at the bottom, it is a custom portrait, etc..... She just was willing to pay any price for it. I almost sold it....but it's too personal. I don't like to think of me hanging in her basement someday.
So when people take my card, are they just taking my photo of "Angel"??????
Where are all these cards going??
I take cards from a lot of artists, but only ones I like. I may not look at the website for quite some time but before I started buying more pieces on the internet, I used the cards to check the schedules of artists I was interested in so I would know to look for them at particular shows. (and that is why everyone should update their website schedules, there's way too much 2010 out there)
I may like someone's work but I have already spent too much that day or I like it but am not in the mood. It doesn't mean that I am never going to buy from you.
I keep all the cards, I don't throw them away. Before I lived in two places that have art festivals while we are in each location, I used to go through the internet sites when I was "jonesing" for an art festival. Actually I still get a little withdrawal in November and December.
Last week, I did a week-long show which has been going on for 47 years and is highly advertised. People come from all over the state; it's pretty well known and well attended. It's long and grueling, especially when those days are 90 degree days. At the end of five 12 hour days, as we were taking the last few items to our van, two men came by and asked,
"Will you be back tomorrow?"
I don't know how I managed to be polite, but my husband tells me I showed great restraint when I calmly told them we'd been there all week and were done for the year.
I'm very new to outdoor shows but I've experienced a lot of these remarks in my home gallery during the artisans tours I've done.
The last outdoor show I did was really horrible, non-juried, comical in it's uselessness. The organizers encourage the public to bring their dogs, the vendor next to my booth was selling homemade doggie treats and a man was standing just outside my booth with his dog. My neighbor saw a potential sale and rushed into (I get why the booths need walls now) my booth with one of her treats. She wooed the little pup inside my booth and positioned her self bent over with her bottom right next to a table full of my ceramics and started backing into the said display as she fed the dog. I jumped up to make sure she didn't knock the whole thing over. I don't remember if the man bought any of her dog treats, he probably said how nice it was she gave it to the dog and she probably replied, "thank-you"