So it is that time of year again, where all artists must make arful & financial decisions......SHOWS......To SHOW OR NOT TO SHOW,,,,,that is the question. I didn't realize how much money and work was involved in this endeavor before I entered a show.. When I was a newbie, going to art shows I looked at all the art, bought what I liked and enjoyed. Isn't that what you are suppossed to do? Look, buy and enjoy. Well behind the scenes, it starts months, sometimes years ahead of time with many important decisions. As an artist of a mature age (I am not sharing that number), there are many many considerations, besides what art should be in the show. I will try to list some of my personal considerations.
This picture shows my tent set up for a one day event. I did not have to put all the sides on the tent, so I could feel a slight breeze. As you can see I use table easles to showcase my art. I do not have the walls to hang art on.....I want the partrons to look and see the variety of art.. I was highlighting the Lobster Trap Frames and my marine art.
Inside vs Outside:
Inside means airconditioning,......outside hot, its Florida, its always HOT, for artists and patrons.
Inside means maybe electricity....outside no electricity, and NO air-conditioning.
Inside means no giant tent and weights.........outside sometimes the tents themselves act as advertising. (I have done a few u-turns when I see tents). And the air-conditioning.
Inside means no worry about the weather......Outside, always a chance of rain, wind, sun, heat..(could be just too wonderful weather and art patrons don't come. And air-Conditioning.
Inside means no worries about leaving art unattended....Outside they usually have security that will call you if a problem occurs, but if you live far away, that also may become another issue. Inside, art is safe. And it is in air-conditioning.
Inside also means my art doesn't have to be taken home due to the dew ruining my watercolors when left outside . And air -conditioning.
Air conditioning makes it much more desirable for the artwork, the artists and the patrons.
I am just saying that, for my own requirements it is easier and more comfortable.
Not to discourage outside shows, but for me it is better for my art. Although if I feel the show is important for marketing my art I will do it, just another variable in your decision making.
What kind of show is it?
A fundraising show, that usually means the artist may have to give a percentage to the host of show. (which could be as little of 10% or high as 30%), or a product for them to raffle. Another type of show is a themed show, sometimes that can work in your favor. If it is a fishing show and you paint fish, and boats that maybe the right fit. If it is a children themed show, many of the art patrons are busy with the children and not the Art. Thinkof all the different combinations.
Who are the other artists?
Also an Important consideration is, who else is showing? The host of show usually will have publicized the event and you can see what you competition is. Do you want to compete with dozens of artists with your same media and subject matter? I don't. Sometimes this is one of those things you do not have any control over, and learn from experience. Or if possible contact host. I always want the other artists to be selling originals and giclees of their original work.
If it is an outdoor show, does everyone have to meet the same requirements? Usually white tents for all, but if not required you may have that one odd ball with a green tent. That may be a disadvantage to you or not, but a show that is uniform is usually more upscale, and your chances of having sales is higher. I never want to compete with retail work. In my opinion all art should be original, and giclee prints of those originals.
The fees are of big consideration for a newbie, usually every show has an entry fee, usually $25. or so, for your art to be judged into the show. This is a good fee in my mind as the host can weed out the people that apply and are not a right fit. I never mind this fee. After you are accepted into the show there is also a booth fee .(remember if the show is small they too may take in sub-standard art just to fill up their booths. Most spaces are 10' x 10', and fees depend on duration of show (one day vs 3 or 5). Sometimes the booth fee is higher as the show maybe a very famous show, and the location is what you are paying for. Many of the marketing and advertising can make or break a successful show, for the host and for you. If you have met all the requirements and set up and show off you wonderful work .....and......no-one attends....well your chances of being successful severly drops..
Marketing and advertisement?
See above, use your judgement.. Think of the show your entering as if you are the host. Is there parking? is it free? Does show require a reasonable fee to enter show? Is this show scheduled the same weekend as bigger and better shows? And if so which one do you think you would go to as a art patron.
So, I am saying it's a chance all artists make to hopefully make them more successful. As well as making some money.
I also like the shows that our many Palm Beach County Art societies host in lots of different venues. Part of being an successful artist is marketing yourself. That is another blog entry.
In the mean time continue to paint!!!!!