Art Fair Insiders

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

Fish Bowl vs. Privacy and why do we shows

"The thing I remember best about successful people I've met all through the years is their obvious delight in what they're doing......and it seems to have very little to do with worldly success. They just love what they’re doing, and they love it in front of other people" Fred Rogers

So why do you do shows? Is it about loving what you’re doing, and doing it in front of people?

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Comment by Sandy Walker on May 21, 2016 at 11:33pm

Thank you all for your comments and responses. I especially love  what Carrie Jacobson had to say about how she grew to really enjoy the whole process of the art show (even the set-up ) I love that you  have a prosperity coach who has challenged you to have a high financial expectation. That is so inspiring! It definitely helps us to love what we do in front of other people when we know we can sell our amazing works of art at a great professional price! Thanks Carrie, for sharing your perspective. I met you a few years back at the Broad Ripple Art Fair, You clearly love what you do, and it shows! 

Comment by Cindy Welch on May 18, 2016 at 10:13am

Since posting yesterday dh and I had a talk about the upcoming fall show season.  Our economy here in Louisiana is really tanking.  I had planned on apply to 3 shows, all I had done before.  However we have yet to replace our canopy.  Since our canopy was destroyed the week before Easter, I have had an unsettled feeling about replacing it.  It was more than just about the money.

Dh and I agreed that based on how things are going with our economy that we are going to apply to one show that we did in the spring.  I am 99.5% sure I'll get in.  This show is put on by a town in Louisiana, New Roads.  I have met the person in charge personally and even had the mayor stop by my booth.  The mayor was going around to the artists and crafters bending their ear about how to make it a better show.  I know they made some changes based on what we all told him.  Of course we didn't get all we asked for but, hey, they did make some changes.

This show is a 2.5 day show and is held indoors.  I won't need a canopy for it, obviously.  I will still use my pipe and drape as I did in the spring.  Set up is during the day Thursday with a preview party on Thursday evening.  Shopping is also held on Friday and Saturday.

This past spring, set up was Thursday.  Shopping on Friday.  A special shopping event on Friday night called White Light Friday Night shopping.  They had a fashion show, shopping and live music on Friday night.  Two more shopping days were held on Saturday and Sunday.

The new schedule will cut one night off our hotel and a day's worth of food expense.  That will help increase our profit.

I do love meeting people and seeing customer's reaction to my products.  I love talking to them and getting to know them.  This year though we have to be even smarter with our resources so we can go back next year.

Comment by Richard L. Sherer on May 18, 2016 at 8:37am
First and foremost I like making money. It's affirmation of what I have dreamed up in the shower and executed in the studio. After that, I like getting reactions from little kids in strollers and meeting all sorts of dogs. The shows we do in Colorado resort areas are mini vacations for us despite the work of setting up and taking down. We take time to hike or visit a hot spring. We leave for our first major show in Estes Park (Rocky Mountain National Park) in a week - let the good times roll.
Comment by carrie jacobson on May 18, 2016 at 8:32am

I really didn't like doing shows when I started, seven years ago. I didn't enjoy setting up the tent, I was flummoxed about what work to show and how to show it. I didn't think people really wanted to hear about making paintings, and I had little confidence in my work, and even less in my prices. I felt embarrassed, in a way, to be asking people to part with their money for something I had made. 

It's taken seven years, but I realized early this year that I actually do enjoy the shows. I like the physical challenge of setting up the tent. I like meeting the artists around me and seeing the work in the show. I like figuring out the look of my tent with whatever paintings I happen to have. I love talking about my art, and listening to people - who often share their lives with me. And most of all, I love love love selling my paintings! It's the best money I've ever made. I adore knowing that my pieces are going into people's homes, and that those paintings will brighten their days and maybe even their lives. 

And slowly, I'm becoming comfortable with pricing. I work with a prosperity coach who counseled me to price a painting this year at $10,000. When he said this, I burst into tears, realizing - for the first time in my life - that I'd never believed that anything I could make could be worth $10,000. It's taken me nearly a year, but I'm going to do it, put a not-quite-$10K price on a piece - $9500 is all I can manage at this point - but I'm proud of myself. 

Comment by Cindy Welch on May 17, 2016 at 5:30pm

I like shows because I love meeting people.  I also grew up in a family owned retail business.  It sort of reminds me of that, I get to relive working in my dad's store.  I don't bring my stuff to work on at shows ... too much to bring and not enough room in the booth to work properly.

I like my little studio, which is actually a 4th bedroom.  I have my different spaces.  I have a work table that is ultra sturdy, some storage for back stock, space for storing supplies.  Then I have my lovely desk, a TV for entertainment when I want it while I am working, and a comfortable chair.  It is my space and I like that I can set it up like I want to.  It is quiet and peaceful and out of the way, as opposed to the hustle and bustle of a show.

Comment by Barrie Lynn Bryant on May 16, 2016 at 10:45am

Yes, the link I posted works.

If I answer your specific question, I'd say I do shows because I love what I do. But doing shows allows us to travel far and wide and for an extended length of time. We can live in an area for several weeks and get to know places. We've grown to love cities such as Tallahassee, FL, Hilton Head, SC and Greenville, SC because we've lived in them for weeks at a time. We've spent four days out of seven living in and investigating these places for the past 15 years. Tallahassee tops the list for many reasons.

Showing and selling the art is completely different than making it. We prefer solitude in our rural studios for this. We bring enough support material with us to shows to show folks how it all gets made, but we make it at home. Sometimes my wife will be drawing during a show, but she keeps it all low key.

Comment by Barrie Lynn Bryant on May 16, 2016 at 10:29am

Sandy, I don't know if you checked your link to the blog, but it doesn't work for me. Let's see if the link I post works.

Sandy's Fishbowl Blog Link

Comment by Susan Neves on May 16, 2016 at 10:02am

I love the exhilaration of the "set-up", seeing it all go together again. Once I actually drew a diagram to help me place my photos on each wall. I've referred to photos taken at previous shows and tried to use that also. But invariably, I just start placing, thinking of harmony, continuity, and color. I have hummed the "Barnum and Baily" tune because it reminds me of "putting up the tent at the circus". I too never tire of telling people about and how I create my photos, but sometimes think the vendor next door does! When I have a bad show, and it does happen, I feel like I'll never do it again. But as soon as those apps start coming in, and the season rolls around, I start mentally preparing on how I can improve from the last time.  I liken it to going on stage also, a very rewarding experience when you get a positive reaction from your audience!! 

Comment by Layl McDill on May 13, 2016 at 2:45pm

I DO love making my art in front of people.  You would think I would get tired of explaining my technique after all these years but I seem to thrive off of watching people's jaws drop in amazement.  It can be frustrating to explain to people that just can't get it but then those turn into the funny stories we love to tell after the show.  I also just LOVE to set up my booth- I feel like a little kid making a fort every weekend and my own art makes me very happy so even if it is 5:00 in the morning on a rainy day when I start pulling out the things I made that I haven't seen since they were wrapped up for the shows my spirits always lift.  

And yes it is so true- the more you love it the more people see that and the more they connect and hopefully have to have a piece for themselves!  

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