Art Fair Insiders

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

In art fair circles for years there has been talk about buy/sell and reps showing up with someone else's work. I found this meeting mention in The Orlando Sentinel:

Artists participating in the Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival are set to meet Friday evening to discuss forming a commission that would set standards for work displayed at art festivals. The purpose of the commission would be to certify that work in an artist's booth was in fact created by the artist, according to photographer Les Slesnick, who is organizing the gathering. The meeting will happen in the Rotary Beer Garden just south of Morse Boulevard just after the festival closes at 6 p.m.

Does anyone know anything about this? Or have any suggestions we could share with Les?

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Sheila has a very good point. But the cause of action is one of the many artists against the show and not against the offending artist. This should point again to the show's obligation and not the artists' obligation to enforce what the shows have always so dramatically avoided, and I assure you, for fear of law suits. They simple do not want involved.

I have read most of the posts regarding this issue here on the website, and I would like to say a few things to add to the mix. First, I have a number of certifications (IT certifications such as Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer, Cisco Certified Network Associate, among others) and I also hold the Project Management Professional (PMP) certification. I am also a photographer, and if I want a certification in photography, many organizations provide me ways to get certified such as the Professional Photographers of America (PPA) which offers the "Certified Professional Photographer" certification if I want it. Certifications have their place for those who have a need for certified practioners. It is what it is. Certifying origin of materials or handmade art I think is not really helpful or doable for all the reasons already mentioned in the hundreds of posts already posted.

Secondly, I think the focus has been on the wrong group. I believe that artists should form an organization that certifies the art shows/festival themselves. Having a credential that art shows could then use in their promotions could only help the relationships between shows and artists. If a body of artists collectively judged and rated the shows on their upholding of their own rules and based on a predetermined criteria the shows could be awarded a certification of "Certified Genuine Arts" or some other such moniker. If we really want to help the shows police B/S, I think we need to police the art shows themselves. There can be a forum for making the determination. If artists at a show present the promoters with obvious examples of B/S, and the promoters do not uphold their own rules, then it gets counted against them for certification the following year. Of course there would have to be some kind of arbitration system where the promoters could make their case in light of the situation presented by the artists at the show who called the promoters on the B/S at the show. The specifics would have to be determined, but I really think that it could be something viable. As well as art shows being able to display a certification and use it in their promotional materials, artists could do so as well when we have our list of shows we are doing this year. If shows understood that we are going to certify them, then I believe those shows who want to be truly Art Festivals and Shows will work towards that end.


If we really want to have upscale shows, we need to police the shows themselves, and hold the shows accountable. Certifying artists as originial makers of their art appears to me to be too cumbersome, and adds additional costs on those of us who already are trying to make good in a bad economy.


In my opinion, is David Cote is right on target...If you want to expend energy in certifying the responsible party for controlling Buy/Sell....then by all means grade the art show committees for their contractual responsibility. You already have a number of associations of artists that perhaps could take on that effort.

Certainly many Buy/Sell culprits are well know to the majority of the artists. When I see multiple "artists" selling the same Marquetry products showing up at numerous art shows for probably 20 years now, (referred to as Moonie Art) I remain amazed. Who of you do not know what I am referring to? Again, they were across from me at the famed Naples National Art Show this February. These frauds have to be the most well know or infamous of the B/S lot, and there showing up at major and not so major shows continually for at least 2 decades suggests that the committees need to boost their efforts, perhaps with the active help of the various artists groups.


I can  say that during the 3 years I directed a show, this issue came up a few times.  I was approached at a show by a participating artist to alert me to an artist whose work was said to not be done by the artist.  Luckily, I am an artist, so I very discreetly spent time in the artist's booth studying the work.  The artist's work was clearly done by multiple artists as palette, style, stroke, every thing you can think of was different within each painting.  If the artist applied to the show using only one of these styles, it is easy to see how it can get past the jury process.  I never discussed the issue with the artist, but the artist was declined in subsequent years.  Hearsay is not enough to judge and one cannot convict the artist with a trial.  This is a tricky subject.  People cheat.  That being said, genuine participating artists deserve to have the cheaters eliminated.  Perhaps "suspected" cheaters could be asked to demonstrate live their work at the next event.

Patsy, I thank you for caring enough to personally investigate and address specific concerns. I think that is the basic issue here. 

 However, I have to speak out about the idea of requiring exhibitors to demonstrate at shows to 'prove' themselves.

I do my work in my studio. period.  I attend shows to present and sell my work to the public. This is the one and only opportunity I have to earn a living from the art I make.  If I am required to demonstrate, I simply cannot give my total attention to my customers, sales will be lost. 

I am there to TALK and share my knowledge of my art to all that will listen, but don't require me to demonstrate, I can't do both things at the same time effectively.

I understand completely....I meant ask one of the potential cheaters to demostrate, but I can see how that won't work.  I think very knowledgeable painters/ craftsmen should be sent to the booths to very discreetly study the work, if it is a consensus the work is not from one hand, the work should be declined by the show, or rather just not pass the jury.  I don't know of any other way to do it. 

once I heard that an artist from Florida participated in auction with his art, that was claimed as false art because that was not created by him, In fact I saw it on youtube.

Overture Art Fair

Once I heard that an artist from Florida participated in auction with his art, that was claimed as false art because that was not created by him, In fact I saw it on youtube.

Miami Art Fairs


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