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?
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.
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.
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 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.