I really liked Oscar's latest post. It got juices rolling about next year. Gas prices, soaring stocks, more disposable income, all great topics.
Two things missing from this prognostic discussion ( good word to use in Scrabble, Barry).
One, the factor of too many A/C shows everywhere.
Two, the dumbing down of America about appreciating art. The present generation could give rats-doodles about art. Electronics rule, wall art comes a poor second. Craft always has a chance, especially traditional work.
I started in the 70's, prospered thru the 80's, started to see the slow unraveling in the 90's.
After the tech balloon bust in 1999, and the recession in 2008, it has been an uphill battle to keep one's head above water.
Now we enter 2017.
Here are some of my thoughts.
Chew on them, then give us all some feedback. Our lives depend on it.
First off, you can not go blindly and stick your head into the ground and ignore the fact that there are too many outdoor art/craft shows going on at any moment and in any community.
To give you my basis. I know not everyone knows me.
I do 33-36 shows per year nationwide. Have done so since 1974.
I am a photographer.
I dance to my own drum. I do not always do the cliche or the traditional.
In the 70's, while I was mostly in Hawaii and had just returned to Florida, I showed mostly black and white images of: guys surfing in Hawaii, naked women posing in exotic waterfalls, and guys growing outrageous Ganga from Hawaii. My best sellers back then was "Billy Smelling the buds" and Fallen Angel ( a beautiful blonde naked woman lying on the beach).
In the 80's I transistioned to flamingos and Art Deco. I started doing color images. I could barely make a living doing b/w. My name was not Ansel Adams.
I took my little plastic flamingos and stuck them in railings overlooking Niagara Falls. I shot the Deco buildings on Miami Beach. This was the "Miami Vice Era at Coconut Grove". You could take the residue from $100 bills and snort a line.
I transistioned into the early 90's by combining b/w images with color images in collage form. Then under the influence of my wonderful wife, Ellen Marshall, I started putting pastels on my images.
Beginning the new century my eye was drawn to strong lines in architecture and shooting neon images in the evenings.
Now I do the architecture, but I have a whole new portfolio that came out of my open heart surgery in 2012.
With a new physical body, came a new body of work. I started looking for iconic persons who I rendered in black and white images and then hand colored them using acrylic inks and oils.
I have won a lot of awards in my time, over 400 at major shows. I have always made a profit every year. I do 33-36 shows per year, and I will be 72 soon.
I just say all this, not to brag, but to hope you will listen to your elder, he knows some shit.
First off, the middle class is never coming back again in our lifetimes. They will not be spending like in the past. Technology and politics has changed all that. Sorry, Oscar. Get what you can, but the numbers will never be there again.
Secondly, the number of art shows will only proliferate. They are not going away. Too much profit for the promoters. Within 10 years you will see a $60-$75 jury fee for the biggies. A thousand dollar booth fee will be the norm for big shows,
Problem is, for most of you, your sales will not ride up too.
Too many shows. None of them feel precious anymore. Not unless you are in the really biggies.
If you luck out and get into Winter Park, the Plaza, St. Louis Art Fair, Artisphere, Coconut Grove, et al., of course you are going to make some serious bucks. The serious art buyers are there. They want something very precious, very special, maybe even a little out of the box.
Nowadays, it is very hard for an artist who does "art from the heart" to make it on the circuit. There are not enough buyers out there for them.
Because we have lost so many serious artists we have lost the same customers who no longer come to the second and third tier shows. Those artists have been replaced withe the more traditional and commercial artists. And also the rising plague of buy/sell that now inhabit our industry.
This trend will continue in 2017. Only the strong will survive. Yeah, if you do out of the box, art, you might survive if you get into a lot of the top tier shows.
If you do traditional art, you will survive more easily, no matter at what level you show.
Unfortunately, the more commercial artists will continue to flood our arena, which only keeps us one scant level from the flea markets.
Before you all get pissy and aghast with my last statement, let me expound.
All I am saying is that the outdoor shows are becoming a difficult
venue anymore for a fledgling artist to try. Fees are very high. Failure, of sales, can easily set you back mucho bucks. The traditional and commercial will always survive
So, 2017 looms ahead.
Trump or not, it is a tough time to sell original art outdoors in America.
Create your own unique form of art that lets you stand out from the herd.
Be willing to try new areas to sell your work.
It is a marketplace. Keep your prices realistic.
Be willing to negotiate. Do not lose the sale. It pays the rent
Stay vigilant, learn from others.
Read my blogs, check out my past ones. I have a lot of good info. I am still standing, I have seen hundreds drop off by the wayside. Gee, maybe I know something.
Mele Kelikemaka everyone.
Mat Hatala knows that one..