Art Fair Insiders

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

Just read this article on Art Biz Coach which is the website of Alyson Stanfield regarding her experience at the Portland Arts Festival Conference sponsored by Zapp. I am posting it with her permission.

The full text of her article can be seen at:

It is a good basic primer on what juries see and what they shouldn't see as well. I know there has been a lot of discussion on this topic...I'm just pass'n it on!

By the way, the first image in the article features a double wide display at an indoor venue. I've read on many a show prospectus that most shows/juries, especially for outdoor shows, only want to see a single size booth displayed in an outdoor setting.

Alyson Stanfield is an artist advocate and business mentor at This article was originally published in her Art Biz Insider, which is sent weekly to thousands of artists who are elevating their businesses.

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Comment by Mark V. Turner on September 4, 2014 at 6:53pm

What I want to know is why juries accept staged booth images?

If you want an honest booth shot, require it to be an actual at show set up.

Too much trickery and staging slants the whole process.  If Im jurying an event, I want to see how your booth looks at an actual event... not the Spartan minimal pieces per wall, no bins, with plenty of post-imaging processing.

And I want to see the shot with your recent/current selection of art - not the stuff you sold last year.

Lets see a bit more honesty... you can keep Larry in business taking your booth shots by having him do it live... But lets require your ACTUAL show set-up to be presented populated by your current body of work

Don't you think that this might help level the playing field and reality to creep into the jurying process a bit more?

Comment by Barrie Lynn Bryant on September 3, 2014 at 8:05am

Jim Harris, if you've not had a chance to do it, check out the Kentuck Art Festival website HERE and look at the 3-D artists works and booth shots. Most artwork images are done on grey and those that aren't seem out of place or just inconsistent. The clay portfolio shows 29 artists and is a really good first portfolio to view.

Comment by Srey Tiep on September 2, 2014 at 11:11pm

God forbid that any of us should create any "tension in the jurors."  A little wine might help a little.

Comment by Larry Berman on September 2, 2014 at 9:03pm

The wording was a little strange. ZAPP doesn't have anything to say, the jurors do. I've been a juror at ZAPP conferences and for the St Louis Art Fair mock juries and I used to run image evaluation juries at the NAIA conferences. That's the type of jury she was reporting on.

If you've ever sat on a jury you probably would agree with me. Black is OK as a background though some photographers and especially most artists don't know how to light pieces on black, loosing the edges into the background. I am asked to fix a lot of images that were photographed on black but the detail is not there for the object to be cut out to have a gray or gradient background added. Same thing about a white background. Besides the white blinding the jurors if the images are projected, and screwing up the presentation of the artist who follows those shot on white, white can burn out the edges of objects and make it difficult to correct those images also. Process of elimination is that gray or gradient can work the best.

But the bottom line is all the backgrounds need to match so the presentation doesn't cause confusion or tension in the jurors. And I suggest never using a color background because it changes the jurors perception of the color of the pieces they are looking at.

Getting back to black (black is the new black). I worked with an artist who created silk scarves and sent them to me to photograph. Gray/graduated backgrounds made the scarves look dull so I photographed them on black and they looked great, really popped off the screen when projected. A lame juror at an image evaluation jury told the artist that they should use a graduated background like everyone else uses.

Larry Berman

Comment by Jim Harris on September 2, 2014 at 8:34pm

I'd be interested in getting Larry Berman's feedback regarding what she posted on 3D photos.  She mentioned that ZAP said all 3D should be photographed against a gray background.  That all other colors are too bold and as a result they'll basically kick out your application.

Comment by Barrie Lynn Bryant on September 1, 2014 at 11:51am

Thanks for posting. I've been a reader of Stanfield's blog for several years, but here lately less frequently.

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