Call for Artists, Making Money at Juried Art Fairs, Craft Shows and Festivals
Right after 9-11 I choose to get part time job. The Part job became a full time job and at the same time I start cutting the shows. Few years later, I hit shaking ground in the full time job but even if wanted to get out I could not because it was wrong time to do it. April 15, 2014 I left the job to do just shows again.
At this time almost the end of my second year I am waiting for applications respond from Florida, Arizona and Texas for the first four month of 2016 and I am reviewing my year.
This year I found a lot hate or misinform people about my medium. You read and listen to people comments about photography and new rules to photographers and it make me wonder. Maybe the most intriguing was that they only let photographer to shows because the public want see photography. The other wrong perception is that we just go and press print or send to the lab to get print that we really do not work. Comment like this are common and really if you are a photographer in the art show this is nothing new but still does not make feel any better.
This year while I did not head to Florida because one show per month was not a good idea because I live in Chicago. This also create a dilemma with my income. Enter Postmates, this help me all the way until May. Working 36 hours delivering products it was giving a nice 700 per week as income without any stress. It had been so good for me that I make the effort to keep myself in the fleet because of the fear of no shows in a month or several months. It also help me to reduce the stress what to do when you are playing catch up because you have good and bad months in the art fairs.
Another big surprise for me was the amount of calls for installing art work. This year that section of my business increase almost 1000%.
So you wonder about the art fairs. The biggest lesson to remember is that no matter what people tell you need to trust yourself. I did bad choices by picking shows in my hometown (Chicago). I only did well at one small show in the area. My body work does not move in the area and people suggest that I was doing something wrong but I could not understand why because when I out of town I do well or least 10 times better than Chicago market. I only can said that I will apply to four or five shows in the area in 2016. If do not get into those shows I wont be doing any shows in Chicago. Several times during 2015, I was wishing I was doing Postmates over sitting in my booth hoping to just break even and losing hope as time pass. The sad thing is that when I apply I was not aware about Postmates and I was believing what other people suggest me.
The biggest different for me and other is this my only income. I do not have a spouse helping me to cover the bills. This how I support myself and wont take hand out. Living in fear of loosing everything because you did not apply your own advice it was just stupid in my part, people that know me understand what I mean with that.
What had been great about this year. When I hit the road, I did shows that even when was not that much profit I notice while sitting in my booth I never lost hope. A lot small pieces move and adding the 36X51 frame pieces was successful as well 12X18 prints matted to 18X24. I realize that more red the state I tent to do better (could be because no to many shows in the area, who knows). Build my second cabinet to hold my prints and poles from my trimline was great idea. A full year with my little trailer had make things a lot easier. I keep seeing old friends and making new. I enjoy traveling the country. I enjoy doing shows. I had done things that I not crazy about (like sleeping my car because I was to tired to keep going and/or could not find a motel was not full or the price will put me out of budget). I had manage to produce more new work this year than any other year.
There is no doubt in my mind it had been a really hard year for me but full with a lot of joy and hope. I feel more secure and start seeing path to self support. I accepting the fact to listen to people advice but trust my final judgement. If to many red flags come around stay away from that path.
Life is to short to live in fear, anger and insecurity. All those feelings will crate lonely person. So today I just figure my second fear in life. Keeping positive attitude is the best and what ever happen in the past stay in past and keep learning from my failures and keep enjoying all those special moments.