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Nels johnson's Blog (62)

The Great Gulf Coast Art Festival—Pensacola, Florida

This is always on the first full weekend in November. It is three days, ending at 5pm on Friday and Saturday and at 4pm on Sunday.

In my humble opinion this is the best fall show to do in Florida, nobody else compares.

Also Pensacola is a very cool town to hang out at.

Lots of good seafood bars and restaurants (more about them later), easy traffic, cheap lodgings, a mellow setup and a great wholesale seafood outlet to stock up on Monday morning.

Plus, most artists…


Added by Nels johnson on November 10, 2018 at 11:30am — 3 Comments

The Shaw Art Fair (SF)—Last weekend in St. Louis

Well, I was halfway thru this blog and it disappeared into the eternal ether.

So here we go again.

The things I do for you guys.

Be nice to me and read this review and then, actually comment about it.

It is my birthday in two more weeks so be kind and read and…


Added by Nels johnson on October 9, 2018 at 4:00pm — 8 Comments

Funky Ferndale Art Show—A money-maker For some

Ferndale is a north suburb of Detroit.

It is a three day show that was held last weekend.

Integrity Shows, which is Mark Loeb, produces it.  You can find it on Zapp.

FF is a multi diverse community.  The downtown has come a long way in last ten years.

Back then the Main Street had lots of closed stores and only a handful of restaurant bars to choose from.

Now, the street is packed with lots of commerce and bars.  There are four barbershops to choose…


Added by Nels johnson on September 30, 2018 at 11:30am — 9 Comments

Arts and Apples art show—Rochester, Michigan—more about apples then art

The Show was last weekend.  Three boring days with no sun, cold temps and fleeting rain showers.

Last weekend was a weather disaster everywhere in the Midwest. Heavy rains at Penrod, Bowling Green, Louisville, even St. Louis.

Rochester is a very affluent northwest suburb of Detroit.  Mucho dinero live here.  Everybody dresses in expensive outfits adorned with expensive purses and belts.

In earlier times AA was one of the top Michigan shows. Lots of artists did five…


Added by Nels johnson on September 10, 2018 at 9:30pm — 7 Comments

Lake Forest Art Show— a supreme “washout” in more than one way

Always held on the Sunday and Monday of Labor Day weekend.

This is one of the richest suburbs on the Chicago north shore.

They do not allow any hotels within the city limits.

I usually stay with Jim Wilbat who lives nearby in Deerfield, but he was off doing the Bloomington art fair.

So I got to stay at a Red Roof Inn in Waukegan. The city has seen better days since when Jack Benny was born there.

OK, back to LF.

I have done this show about six times.…


Added by Nels johnson on September 5, 2018 at 1:30pm — 4 Comments

Chesterton Art Fair, Indiana—An Old School Kind of Art Fair

This show was on the first weekend of August.

It is run by the local art museum group and is held in a beautiful treed park

on the south side of the town.

This is a very quaint small town located just south of I-94 about ten miles west of Michigan City Indiana.

All booths are on grass and the booth fee is $220.

This is not a Zapp Show.



Added by Nels johnson on August 15, 2018 at 1:33pm — 2 Comments

The Phyllis Olsen Art Show in Cadillac, Michigan

Well, I have not blogged in a while.  So here goes.

I gave up on the Ann Arbor Show after 30 years, it just was not worth it anymore.

So, two years ago, I tried the Cadillac show as a replacement.

Not that I expected to gross as much as AA. But the show is an hour plus from my Saugatuck casa.  It is small, less than 100 exhibitors. It is held in a mellow downtown park right on the lake and it is easy-pezy to setup and teardown.

So last year I managed to pull $1500…


Added by Nels johnson on August 1, 2018 at 1:00pm — 9 Comments

Kalamazoo Institute of Art Fair—A Pretty Location, But Sales Were Pretty Low

The KIA art Fair was last weekend.  Artists setup early on Friday morn and the Fair is from 3pm-8pm that day.

Then on Saturday it runs from 9-5. No Sunday show.

It is setup in a beautiful downtown park, Bronson Park. Artists have plenty of room around and in the rear of their booths.

Setup and teardown are pretty mellow.  You do…


Added by Nels johnson on June 4, 2018 at 1:00pm — 2 Comments

Melbourne Art Festival—Show has some serious problems, hopefully they can be fixed.

This show was last weekend. Melbourne is by the Intercoastal on the Atlantic Ocean in Florida.

The Show has been going on a long time, and until two years ago, it was always held on the streets in downtown. Right by all the bars and restaurants. It drew big crowds and they bought.  They also had one of the largest Patron Purchase Awards system, over $100K pledged.

Then two years ago the show moved to a municipal park, northwest and…


Added by Nels johnson on May 2, 2018 at 2:11pm — 1 Comment

Mainsail Art Festival—Still Killer Show for most

Mainsail was last weekend at a waterfront park in downtown St. Petersburg,FL.

This is my hometown, although I live across the bay in Ybor City.

St. Pete has blossomed.  

There are trendy restaurants and galleries everywhere.

Tall high rise condos sprout up faster than you can say “Jimminy Cricket”.

There are a lot more monied people running around town.

Some of them actually buy…


Added by Nels johnson on April 25, 2018 at 2:07pm — 4 Comments

Apollo Beach—they call it the Manatee Art Festival—I call it toast

This Show was the second weekend in March, same time as Vero.

Do not waste your time with this show, it is a loser for people trying to sell art.

A little background.

Apollo Beach is about 30 minutes South of my Ybor house. I have used it as a bailout show whenever I do not get in Vero.

I have done it for more than 10 years and could usually grind out $1500-$2000 and I slept in my own bed.…


Added by Nels johnson on April 18, 2018 at 11:20am — 2 Comments

Houston Bayou Art Show—Finally, something good to talk about

This Show was on the last full weekend in March.

They finally got their act together and limited the show to 300 artists. That meant nobody was stuck on an outer loop where half the attendees never walked.

We had excellent cool weather, decent crowds, about 15000 total.

Most artists made 6-10x their booth fees.

This is a three day show with no evening hours.

You can setup either on Wed. Or Thursday before the show.

At teardown, you can scrum with the…


Added by Nels johnson on April 17, 2018 at 2:06pm — 4 Comments

Sante Fe CC Art Show, Gainesville,FL—A total waste of time

Have done this show since the early eighties.

Used to be a strong $3-4K show.

Not anymore, can barely break a grand.

This is a huge college town teeming with young professionals.

You would think they would support the arts.  They do not.

Crafts have a better chance here.

I saw very few 2-D pieces go by this weekend.

You have too many artists for too few buyers.

Do not waste your time unless you live close to it.

Added by Nels johnson on April 14, 2018 at 1:50pm — 5 Comments

Ft MYERS Art Festival—Roll Over Thomas Edison, you are not the only guy making mucho moola here.

Both Thomas Edison and Henry Ford made FM their winter homes, and they were two rich bitches, so to say.

Well, me and the little blonde, “Ellen the Cowpainter”, got in this year We were not next to each other at the show, but nighttime made up for it.

Last year I was numero uno on the waitlist and did not get in.


I am at Berninis, our Ybor lunch spot,…


Added by Nels johnson on February 5, 2018 at 2:30pm — 6 Comments

Images Art Festival—A perfect way to end the month

First off, after Images, I am 30% ahead of sales in 2017.

And 2017 was a killer year for me.

Let us just say “Nels-ism” is purring along.

Second.  Ellen and me are moving to NSB in October.

NSB stands for New Smyrna Beach, perched on the Atlantic just below Daytona.

Images Art Show is there.

I can hear the crying and wailing already, “OMG!, They are leaving Ybor.”


Our neighbor made us an offer we could not turn down. And, how many…


Added by Nels johnson on January 30, 2018 at 4:01pm — 6 Comments

Our Ybor house—what happened here in the 1930s is the reason marijuana is illegal now

Ellen and I live in a historic, almost century house, in Ybor City which is a historic district on the east side of downtown Tampa.

First a little history lesson, then we will get to the reason for “Reefer Madness.

Martinez Ybor was a Cuban  who brought the cigar industry from Key West to Tampa in the late 1890s.

Thus the area w live in is a historic district. It is a mix or retail, lots of bars and a lot of old historic homes and new condos.  Lots of young people live…


Added by Nels johnson on January 17, 2018 at 10:08pm — 6 Comments

Bonita Springs Art Festival—I have seen better and I have seen worse

This is a two day show (last weekend) with a Friday setup.Everybody has ample rear storage room.

The booths are setup in a rambling pattern with no definite pattern for crowd flow.

Booths down by the river are kind of cut off from the main flow, and a lot of the crowd never makes it there.

Bonita Springs is just north of Naples and slightly south of Estero on the Gulf  Coast.

It is an affluent area with lots of golf…


Added by Nels johnson on January 17, 2018 at 9:25pm — 6 Comments

First show of the new year—Downtown Naples on Fifth Avenue.

It was good and I made money.

it was colder than you know what. Setting up in the low forties while handling cold metal parts sucks.

Naples Art League runs this annual show on the first weekend after New Years.

Setup is early Saturday morn with 300 artists jockeying for Position, it sucks too.

But that is what you tolerate in order to make mucho moola here.



Added by Nels johnson on January 11, 2018 at 1:28pm — 4 Comments

Holiday Art Festival, downtown St. Petersburg—Big Yawner, I am a goner

Well, did my final show of the year, number 29, in my old hometown.  It is always nice to be able to sleep in my own bed when doing a show.

Problem is, the show sucked. I made more money selling out of my driveway then paying Paragon $400 for a booth fee and not doing very well.

It is not Paragon’s fault. Bill Kinney does a super job producing the show.  He gets the message out on billboards, print media and social media.  Setup is very mellow, and for the most part, teardown…


Added by Nels johnson on December 19, 2017 at 2:00pm — 6 Comments

Setting up my booth in the driveway—and making lots of moola

I made almost $1500 selling my photos out of my booth that I setup in my driveway.

Read on.

i live in a historic, almost 100 year old house in Ybor City.  Ybor is a historic district of Tampa. Now known for bars and cigars.

Across the street from us is a vacant 18,000 square foot factory building.

I heard thru the Ybor  grapevine that a Christmas craft show was scheduled to be there on December 2&3.

by coincidence, I had no show planned for that…


Added by Nels johnson on December 7, 2017 at 2:30pm — 40 Comments

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