Back in 2009 I felt confident enough in my work to begin traveling the Southern New Jersey area and participating in Art Fairs. In this post I will try to share some thoughts on how these fairs began to affect my photographic style. The story below is being written through artist eyes and not the business side of the effort.
The first couple of years were successful and a true learning experience. I was diligent in keeping records of sales and began to see what was selling and what was being passed over. I naturally began to gravitate toward capturing, and presenting the style of image that was going out the door. Sales were strong and all was well.
Please understand that I am retired and was not relying on these fairs to survive, or make a living.
Here is where things began to take a turn, and opened my eyes a bit. I began to show my work at other venues. I did some galleries and sold quite a few images to hospitals for healing arts programs and such. To my surprise, the images that were my more creative works were the ones being purchased. These were totally different from the art fair images.
Midway through last season we were mulling over what our plan would be for this year. In looking over inventory, it struck me that I had begun to create images that, in my mind, I felt would be good fair sellers. This was, as opposed to, creating images to make my own artistic statement. There’s nothing wrong with that, but I don’t think I was satisfying myself by working that way.
We made the decision, partially because of my age, to end our Art Fair business. Since that time I have been creating fewer, but I feel, more personal statements in my photography. I’ve been quite happy with the decision. Whether someone likes or dislikes the image is not as important to me as saying, “Here’s my vision and interpretation of this subject”.
So, would my decision, and focus, be right for other artists? That will have to be a personal decision by each artist out there. I believe that one style mentioned here can certainly support the other style. I would also say that if you visit my website and see a different look or feel to the images, now you know why.
Thanks for reading and take care. I always say to always be creative, but I guess now I should include, be true to yourself.