What makes shows appealing to so many artists? Why choose doing fairs over say wholesale, or getting ones work in galleries or opening your own studio/shop (if you haven't already)? I am all about shows, however am not the type of person to put their eggs all in one basket. I do have a few of my items in stores, not a lot though. It works for me, however would like to know what others do when they don't have shows. Of course why do fairs over other options? Michelle

You need to be a member of Art Fair Insiders to add comments!

Join Art Fair Insiders

Votes: 0
Email me when people reply –


  • It's probably just going to sound repititous but I like actually MEETING the customer who is going to buy my art and hopefully, starting on a relationship with them. It is much more personal and makes me a better artist because I have to actually ask myself, "Is this work the best of my ability and with an honest heart?" What I mean is: did I really put some of ME in it?

    I think artists need to get out of their stuffy little spaces (studios) once in a while and see other people and talk and interact. I know, for me, it is difficult. I would much rather just paint. I like solace and quiet. But I find the interaction deepens me, gives me a thicker skin and gives me ideas. I also find that other artists are an inspiration to me in their work ethic, their kindness and the way they want the best for the customer. I know we live in a ME culture where art is even more a mirror into that theme but I find hope at the art fairs. Yes, it's my art and I want to make money at it but I think we all love it when a customer really connects with our work. We were the "chosen" artist to grace their home or office. Now, that is humbling.
  • I don't know if I like doing shows betterother venues but, I think doing shows brings you to potential customers rather than sitting in a shop hoping that customers will come in while paying rent even if they don't. Also, you can take your products to wherever in the country you want - so I am not limited to the market here in Pittsburgh. I agree that hits on my webstore are higher right after a show. Right now I am not selling anything on my website - haven't got that done yet. I am just starting to put things in shops on consignment. Chris mentioned wholesale shows, but, I don't know anything about those. I would appreciate someone enlightening me. My work is one of one of a kind jewelry - I don't make 100 of the same necklace - so are these shows of any benefit to me? To finish off - Since this is my retirement income, I do shows - as many as I can - because that is the best source of sales for me now.

  • I'll have to agree with all the points Chris made, plus I have a few of my own. As a Nature Photographer, I love talking with the people about the birds and butterflies that are the majority of my work. I like sharing the experiences of taking the photos, too. I'm also still just learning, so I love that aspect of doing shows, especially shows with a lot of photographers (although my sales are lower in those shows). I'll make a double emphasis on the fellowship among the other exhibitors. I will try to get there early to setup and I'm always willing to help someone else with their setup. Same thing with packing up. Most shows that I do, the other artists all seem to pitch in to get everyone set up and packed up.

    Currently I'm only doing 6-8 shows a year because I have another job. That job may be ending soon, so I'll be working hard on getting an internet presence, and possibly some gallery or gift shop presence. I'm also considering packing my work up and heading down to Florida for a few shows over the winter.
  • Michelle, this one's easy.

    I LOVE doing shows!
    I love the interaction with the customers.
    I love the bantering with them.
    I love watching customers smile when they see something they like.
    I love the friendship fellow exhibitors have for each other.
    I love how many of us are like family. Many times a group of us will go out for dinner on Saturday night. We'll discuss shows and trade stories about experiences.
    I love going to touristy places, sleeping in the same hotels, eating in the same restaurants, and seeing the same sights as the tourists, and coming home with more money than when I went with!
    I love doing shows in New England in Autumn! People come from all over just to see the colors, and go to shows.

    And I get to do this 43 times a year!

    Since I make a product, I don't do wholesale. I used to do the wholesale shows in Valley Forge, PA but came to the realization that I was working just as hard for half the money.

    We are however, working with local nurseries for the fall/Christmas season to supply wreath hangers for their customers. And a number of Christmas Tree growers have also contacted us from seeing us at shows.

    If this pans out, I'll be working 14 hours a day. And loving it! The shows will actually be my break from work.

    I absolutely love what I do for a living!!

    Chris in VT
  • I would much rather rely on my other outlets for my art Michelle. It would be so lovely to have weekends free to play or even get a little ahead on my work. I currently have over 200 pieces of my artwork (photography) in my gallery/shop as well as have an active website. The shop is near our harborside hotel so during tourist season, I typically do extremely well, but this year with a tight economy and lower tourist spending, it's been tough. The majority of my images have to do with Great Lakes nautical & nature so I have much of my work in maritime gift shops throughout Wisconsin and Michigan. Last year and this year I have experienced an overall reduction in sales by about 50%. I recognized early that to survive (this is my sole income), I must get out there and expose my artwork to as many as possible. I have been doing a show nearly every weekend since May and in between shows, I travel to various locations to acquire new images. The art fair exposure has helped my website stay active and profitable. I am soooooooo looking forward to some downtime in November & December to work up new images and prepare for the Florida winter shows.

    I don't think I'm alone in my pursuits. I'm pretty sure most who rely on their art as their sole income are finding it's necessary to not only attend art fair events, but also have a "home" gallery and active website.
This reply was deleted.