I’ve been missing in action for a while here on my blog. I don’t want to make excuses, but I have been busy with my fall art fair schedule and some gallery exhibits. Having completed my fairs for the year I can reflect a bit on some of the experiences I’ve had, and some thoughts you might consider if you feel this outlet for your art may be for you.
I can’t begin to tell you how many times I hear folks saying , as they leave my booth, “I could do that”. Great! Let’s give you some thoughts.
This will not be a step by step how to by any means. Just some info to hash over.
You’ll need inventory: Will you print, mat, frame your own work or pay to have it done? How much inventory do you need to carry including framed, and bin prints.
You’ll need a tent, and/or display equipment. Tents can go from a couple hundred to a couple thousand $$$. Add tables , bins, covers, credit card processing equipment, some form of container to safely transport your precious art, and a vehicle that will contain all of the above. Don’t forget that you’ll need to store all of this somewhere when not at a show.
Booth fees, jury fees, transportation costs, lodging for distant shows, and many intangibles need to be covered.
Insurance? Yes, liability at a minimum for any damage caused if your booth or equipment causes any damage to others. How about if someone trips and injures their self in your booth?
On the business and legal side, will you register as a business? You’ll definitely need a sales tax number. How about bookkeeping?
Developing the right sales approach with customers can be challenging. You are not selling something they need , but something they might want.
Which shows or fairs should you apply to. I’ve always made it a practice to visit a show, the year before I apply, to get a feel for the crowd and the quality of accepted artists.
This is just scratching the surface. Figuring out which images sell, building up a following, figuring out just how much to charge for your art all take a couple of years to get a handle on. And once you figure that out, it will all change.
You might want to do some reading on a site like ArtFairInsiders.com There’s a lot of info there.
So far this may seem like I’m trying to discourage you. That’s not the case. I’ve done this for many years now and I fuss and fume about the work involved, the decisions to make, the sitting in a field for a weekend with rain and no sales, hauling a ton of equipment, it’s not as bad as I make it sound.
I will say at this point that I could never have done any of this without my wife and best friend Eileen who has been with me every step of the way. Setting up, sitting in the booth to do paperwork and helping with all of the sales and decisions, and also keeping me semi-sane.
While on a brighter note, sales have been very good, and I just love having people stop in my booth to appreciate my efforts and discussing things. The best is when young folks ask questions. I wrote a blog post a while back called “Giving Back” on that subject. You can read it by clicking here.
Age has now brought all of this fun to an end for me as I will not be applying to fairs next year. I will however continue to show at galleries and use other outlets for my work.
So if you are one of those folks who truly believe you can do this, definitely go for it. I wish you all the best. It can truly be a very rewarding experience in many ways. If you have questions or comments, please feel free to leave them below. As I said this article does not come close to covering all aspects of the Art Fair world, both good and bad.
I’ve made some changes to my website homepage and added some new images. Why not drop by and browse. Here’s a link
Thanks for reading, take care and always be creative