Posts tagged ‘Arts Market’

Sold! “Mercy”

I am happy to announce that I sold another one of my originals, “Mercy”, at the Arts Market.  Needless to say I am thrilled.  It became clear to me that  “Mercy” wasn’t meant to be around for any length of time.  I didn’t even make room to hang it at home.  It just sat on the floor propped up against a wall.

A couple who was expecting a baby purchased the piece.  The expectant father really liked the color green and he said that it was going to be in the baby’s room.  In my mind a baby’s room or nursery is a warm, secure place surrounded with positive images.  The fact that my work would be associated with that made me feel good.

So now I’ve sold two this year! Hooray!  And no sellers’ remorse which is good!

On a more sobering note, the following morning, I unloaded my car in a hurry and left to go to an exhibit.  I later returned to find two of my prints  sitting in between my screen door and the main door (it turned out that the president of my homeowner’s association found them and put them there).   I remember that as I was unloading the car that I set the prints off to the side. Apparently I forgot about them and in my haste to get to where I was going, I pulled out of the parking lot and ran over them.  I don’t even remember doing that but that’s the only scenario I can think of.

Here are both prints complete with embossed tire marks.

I was a little bent out of shape but my recent sale has taken the edge off.  Fortunately I didn’t pay a lot of money for these prints.   The funny thing is, I brought them with me to the event,  but I never displayed them since there was not enough room.  I just left them there sitting in the rear window of my car.  I guess I was never meant to sell them.

Yes, I am still among the living!

So I must own up to being a total slacker on the blogging front.  So much for writing consistently.  Things have been pretty busy lately.

A couple of weekends ago, I went to New York to support my sister’s solo photography exhibit in Brooklyn called “Visions of New York.”   It was a great exhibit and I want to post more about this later because there are some great things I’d like to share.   She did an awesome job and worked her tail off.  I am very proud of her and feel inspired to do something similar in the future.

I elected NOT to do the All Arts Market in July because I needed the time to create new material however, I’ve signed up to do it for August17.  That will be the start of a crazy weekend because the following Saturday, I will be attending a church retreat most of the day, AND playing in a volleyball tournament that starts that evening.  I am nuts!

Next month, our church will have its annual homecoming event.   We have a Visual Arts Ministry to which I am the coordinator of.  I am rounding up artists (both members and non-members) to see if they would like to display their art during that weekend.  Last year’s display display was a success.  This year I expect more artist participation.

Yesterday I was in my studio (that still sounds strange to me but in a good way) working on my “Black and White and Red All Over” series.  This time I am painting individual throwing stars on small 6″ x 6″ canvases.   I will do a total of three and then follow up with painting three stars on a larger separate canvas.   Here is my work in progress on the first one.

Whew!  With so much going on I wonder, “What am I thinking doing all of this stuff?”   Well, I’m under the impression that I can do it ALL!!

Art Adventures: November All Arts Market

So this was my second time that I participated in the All Arts Market.  Since I knew what to expect this time,  I wasn’t nearly as flustered as I was in my earlier post.   If there was any tension at all that day, it came from my nine-to- five job where things were pretty hectic.

I rolled into the Neighborhood Theatre a little later than I had hoped but the setup didn’t take too long.  I picked a different booth which happened to be across from the one that I had at the previous showing.  It was still a pretty good spot because of the ample lighting.

Overall, the turnout was great.  It was nice to see people coming out and supporting the arts community in spite of the cold snap in the weather that evening.  I saw some familiar faces from the market and even some I recognized from the Ahlara Arts Fair in October.  My “neighbors” who sat at a booth next to me at the market were the same ones who sat across from my sister and I at the fair.   I didn’t recognize the photographer at first, but once I saw her pieces I remembered who she was.  She later said the same thing to me.  I guess that proves that art really can be an extension of yourself.

From a sales standpoint, I didn’t do too badly.  While I was disappointed that I didn’t have time to create cards for my Twelve Days of Christmas series, I did make prints which worked pretty well.  They were pretty well-received and “Six Geese A-Laying” was the star of the show.

Also, I learned some little lessons along the way.

1) Never underestimate the importance of choosing the correct color matting  for  your art.

I like colored mats a lot because they tend to they draw attention to certain colors that are already in your work.  I find that I cannot resist buying them.  People however, seem to gravitate towards neutral or white mats, and as much as I love color, I discovered that neutral mats  sell better.  They tend to be cleaner and allow your art to do the talking.  Buyers are concerned about what looks good in their home and they may be overwhelmed by a brightly colored mat framing an already brightly colored work.

Sometimes though you have to just go with your gut when it comes to colors.  I used a loud,  royal blue mat for  two “Six Geese A-Laying” prints and sold them both.

2) Making the best use of your booth space

This is something I need to  improve on.  I had a lot of prints but would have liked to have had more of my originals. Unfortunately they take up way too much table space.  That’s where one of those wall display screens would have been very handy.  I did see some artists using display screens behind their tables to hang their art.  My problem ultimately would have been trying to fit those display screens into my car!

Some booths practically looked like living rooms with warm lighting and nice shelving.  Next time I will lay out my table a day or two PRIOR to the next event so I know exactly what to do when I arrive.

3) Be prepared to talk about your art.

It can actually mean the difference between making a sale or not.  The potential buyer needs to identify with the art  in order to make the purchase.  Don’t make up a bunch of flowery BS  just to make the sale.  If you don’t have a specific story to tell or a message behind you art, then talk about your technique or the  medium that you’re using.

There were quite a few people that asked about the story behind my art and at first I felt a little weird talking about it.  As an introvert, it’s a whole different ball game when you are talking to someone about it  face-to-face versus writing about it.   Overall what I found was that the more I talked the easier it became, and soon enough I was enjoying it.

If you think that your nerves will get the best of you, it may not be a bad idea to write down some bullet points about your work and memorize them until you get the hang of speaking about your work.

4) Manning Your Booth:  Sitting Your Happy Behind Down vs. Standing Up

At the beginning I was standing a lot, mostly because like most Americans, I have a full-time job where I sit on my butt all day.   I continued to do so in such manner with this almost wooden, pageantry smile on my face looking around greeting everyone that passed by.   Then I got tired and sat down.  That was when people started buying.  Maybe by sitting down it made them more comfortable and they could enjoy their time looking at the work without someone standing or hovering over them.  Whenever they had questions, they would ask me.  If they had something to say about my work, they would tell me.   Whether I was standing or sitting,  I did make a point to speak to people even if offering nothing more than a simple, “Hello.”

Now there were other artists who were standing and interacting with people but that seemed to work if the artists  were selling three dimensional pieces with a functional component.  For instance, the gentleman behind me was selling these beautiful birdhouses so he was constantly on his feet talking about his technique and materials.  I also think it depends on your personality as well.

5)  Have Fun!

And I did, to the extent that next month I am going to do it again on December 8 and 9!  I’m sure there will be more lessons to learn!

Art Fair Adventures – Lessons Learned

Ahlara Arts Fair, what can I say? It was definitely an experience and the first outdoor arts festival for both my sister and I.

My sister arrived from New York on Friday and after we picked up the rental car, we hit the ground running going to various stores picking up art supplies.  I now shudder at the thought of reconciling all the receipts on what we spent, which I can tell you was definitely a boatload.

We got back to the house and worked like mad little elves putting price stickers on art, making signs, and even doing a practice run setting up and taking down one of the pop-up tents in the back.  I really don’t have any furniture downstairs save for a kitchen table and chairs, so we had ample space to work.  It’s hard to believe that I had cleaned that place before my sister’s arrival because in a short time it looked like a hobby store had been blown to bits.   Shortly after midnight we loaded the SUV with all of our stuff.





On Saturday morning, we arrived at the art fair after 7:30 AM.   Logistically getting in to register and to unload was fairly easy.  There were  some volunteers on site and we had one who helped us with both of our  pop-up tents.

This was Ahlara’s second art fair with about 80 artists participating in the event, an increase from last year.  Weather-wise the outdoor temp was perfect but unfortunately, there really weren’t a lot of people that attended. I would argue that at times it seemed that the artists and participants outnumbered the audience itself.

In addition to that, we didn’t sell anything which was pretty frustrating considering the money and time my sister and I spent in preparation for all of this.   Other artists had the same experience with dismal sales.  People hovered inside our booths and thumbed through our art but they never bought anything.  My sister noted that she didn’t see a lot of people carrying any items except for maybe bags for jewelry.

So here are my lessons learned from my art fair experience:

1) Don’t expect to go to these festivals/fairs thinking that you will make a mint.  I had heard this comment from another artist friend of mine so I wasn’t exactly coming in with high expectations. I was, however, hoping to do a little better than at the All Arts Market in NODA earlier this year.   No joke, my sister and I both lost our butts shelling out money for start-up costs such as tents, car rental, tables, plane fare, signage, printing, etc.   Even though a friend of mine bought one piece from each of us, we still didn’t make enough to cover our entry fees.   I spoke to a photographer at the fair who said he did really well last year but not nearly as well this year which leads to Lesson Number 2.

2) A successful turnout at a fair last year doesn’t mean that the following year will yield the same. To the credit of the organizers, the fair itself went pretty smoothly and seemed to be well publicized with plenty of sponsors.  This was, after all, their second annual fair,  so it’s hard to gauge what the turnout will be in years to come.   Still, the crowds were a lot smaller than I had expected.  Was it the economy or were there were a million other events that were taking place elsewhere that day?

3) Use the fair as an opportunity to network with other artists.  One of the fun parts about talking with artists is that you learn about other shows that are going on in the area.   I was able to collect information about fairs and events for the rest of this year.

4) Know your market. I think this can be trial and error here.  Neither one of us knew what to expect when we came.  Still the better you understand the market, the easier it is to adapt or heck, bail out altogether if  it’s  just not suitable.  My opinion about North Carolina as a whole is that it’s more about arts AND crafts so it would be expected to see more jewelry or pottery purchases and not necessarily paintings.

5) Location, location location!  Yep, this fair was in Mooresville which is about about 40 minutes outside of Charlotte so this could have been the problem for me  right here.  Most of my friends are in Charlotte so this was out of the way. Also, most fairs like this are held in a public park or even downtown, not in a business park.   The fair technically was designed to liven up a struggling business park, in addition to supporting the artist community, but they may need to rethink location next year.

6) No matter how nice the weather, make sure your tent is windproof.   I wanted to punch the wind in the face if that were humanly possible. My sister’s pieces were taking endless nose dives  from her table thanks to the unpredictable gusts.   It also knocked one of my framed pieces to the ground and where it met its demise on the concrete floor.   Fortunately THAT was my only casualty but you could hear the crashing sounds of artwork from other booths.   The wily veterans that were there had panels that went along the sides of their tents for wind protection.  We did take the coordinator’s recommendations of tying gallon jugs to the legs of our tents to prevent them from going up like hang-gliders.

7)  For you Hobby Lobby fans out there,  if you show your coupon on your smart phone it will be accepted.   I’m sorry this was so cool, I had to share.  We found this out when we were at the store picking up extra art supplies.  My sister left her coupon at the house and the cashier said that a coupon would be accepted if you could pull it up on your smartphone.  Hey it was 40% off! Wasn’t going to pass THAT up!

Would I do the Ahlara Arts Fair again or any other outdoor art fair for that matter?  Yeah probably.  Again it was a learning experience and an opportunity to network if nothing else.  Who knows what will happen next year as far as turnout?   At least I don’t have to buy another friggin’ tent next year!

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