Call for Artists, Making Money at Juried Art Fairs, Craft Shows and Festivals
Nature's Path cereals are great... several weeks ago, I picked up a box to pour a bowl and read their slogan on the back..."We're so happy our paths have crossed."
For some reason, it made me think of my attitude about art festivals, and how frustrated I have been - and how obnoxious my silent stream of conciousness had become. I cut back on shows completely.
I know I probably picked a lot of bad shows during the last few years, didn't do the research, etc... But that slogan hit me where it hurt.
I do think, on a consistent basis, that my art is great...but it's not for everyone. Not everyone can afford it. Not everyone has wall space. Years ago, I was one of those people who walked every big art festival and hardly ever bought anything.
Most of the time, people walk into my booth and say WOW. No one walks in says...you've gotta be kidding, that's not art...no one says...you're a fraud... no one says...you have no talent. What was wrong with me?
So I decided to change my attitude. I would smile at everyone who walked in my booth. I would happily answer every [dumb] question. I would let people touch my work, I would not bark at people taking photos of my work, but hand them my card and say - everything is on my web site. I would cheerfully accept all compliments, and not expect them to turn into sales. I did try to encourage people who truly seemed interested to take my work home, but no pressure.
I recognize faces I've seen before, and talked with everyone who's purchased from me before... they are my fans, how cool is that?
I smiled ALL day, both days. I thanked every buyer sincerely. I did not care how well or poorly my neighbors did. They don't make my work - we're not in competition. I did pretty well this past weekend, not gangbusters...but I got a lot of good feedback, and gave out hundreds of business cards. For me, I actually make MORE money AFTER some shows doing custom work, or selling something they saw, but wanted to buy at another time.
Now...I have to say, I have a benefactor - a spouse with a JOB. He doesn't pay for the travel, the hotel, the booth fees, etc... I do. But, he does put a roof over our heads and pay all the household bills JUST SO I can do what I love. I know we don't all have that luxury. I am grateful.
I gotta go make some tea, take my morning pills and have some cereal.