Posts tagged ‘booth’

Art Adventures: Holiday Arts Market in South End

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Funny how God has a way of working out things out.  It was my plan to take part in NoDa’s two-day Arts Market in early December.   Since this is during the time of the holiday season, it was a big deal and I didn’t want to miss out.  I had planned to sell my “Twelve Days of Christmas” cards and was pretty excited thinking that I was better prepared this year.

Unfortunately I blew it and was late for the registration; and by late,  I mean I went online about fifteen minutes AFTER registration opened up.  There was not a booth to be had.    It’s  not all that unusual for the booths in  NoDa’s Arts Market  to sell out in less than a day, but this was the biggest holiday season of the year.

So I was disappointed,  however, not too long afterwards I received an email from artist Trish Veverka who is involved in the coordination efforts of the Atherton Market in South End.  She “Liked” my Facebook fan page a few weeks ago.   In her email she told me that Atherton Mill would hold their first Holiday Arts Market.  It so happened to be that same Friday as the market in NoDa.  I was warned that potentially there might not be as much foot traffic compared to NoDa however  I knew about South End’s  growing arts community so I figured there was nothing to lose.

After a couple of email exchanges, I met Trish a few days prior to the event to look at the booth space.  The booth is well, an actual stationery BOOTH, not just some random table or open space.  They were all over the place and looked very similar to what one would see at a produce market.   In fact the Atherton Market was open on Saturdays for this very thing, to sell produce and other good eats. The front of the booth had a lot of room for me to spread out my art and Christmas cards.  The building itself is very open with high ceilings and plenty of lighting.

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On Friday afternoon I arrive an hour before the event.  Loading and unloading was probably the easiest of all of the fairs and markets that I’ve been to.  Parking was plentiful and FREE!  I could carry my stuff right inside without any problems. No steps either.  YES!

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There was a mixture of arts and crafts and food vendors.  For me personally, I’ve always been a bit tentative about being in the same general vicinity as food vendors since I kind of feel that they compete with potential sales.  Much to my surprise  it actually was okay.  My neighbor was the “Pickle Man.”  He sold pickles, lots of them and they were delish!  I funneled down a couple of samples.  He was quite the  charismatic salesman.  He is also a musician, and he even played his trumpet, sang a little bit, and told his customers to “Have a sour day” (because of the pickles in case you were wondering).

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We also had some entertainment that included about three or four young violinists and cellists who played some Christmas tunes;  and a Charlotte favorite, the House of Prayer band.

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There was a balloon artist on hand as well and she provided plenty of entertainment for the kids by making santa and reindeer hats, poinsettas, you name it.  She gifted me with a candy cane balloon bracelet shortly after she set up her station.   Cute, huh?

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So yes, a totally different vibe than NoDa but I liked it.  The only things that I wished for were a larger turnout (although forgivable since this is the  first “arts” market) and that it ran later than 8:00 even though that was the “soft” end time.

I  wish the Atherton Market the best on this endeavor.  There is great potential here for visual artists and I look forward to participating again!

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My Pet Peeves as a Newbie Artist…

Even though I haven’t been pursuing the whole artist career thing for very long , I have quickly become  aware of the things that annoy me.  For those who are out there in the field I would love to hear some of your pet peeves.  Here are mine:

Asking  me to copy the work of another artist

This happened to me several years ago when I was with a friend who was looking at a very detailed painting hanging in the hallway of our church.  She asked me if I could re-create a copy of the piece.  “I’ll pay you,” she said.

First,  there is the whole legal matter concerning copyright infringement.  Second, all legal issues aside, as the copying artist I would find this task to be unfulfilling and unbelievably boring.   Thirdly, my friend who made this request probably didn’t realize that she would be better off  buying a print of the work.   One would have to factor in the time  (the piece was very detailed)  and cost of materials to recreate it.  I would have had to charge much more than she would have expected.   Also, the art was in acrylic and I had no experience in this medium, however I knew about watercolor pencils.    There was no way my re-creation would look exactly like the original.

Creating work for individuals as gifts and receiving little or no appreciation for it

Have you ever created art complete with personal touches for a person that you knew really well  only to receive a lackluster response from them in return?   I had a situation like that where I made some art as a Christmas gift for someone.  The gift was mailed to their house and when I called them to make sure they received it, they said, “Yes.”  And that was pretty much it.  No other comments or anything else.  It was a blow to the fragile ego for sure and why it’s very rare that I make something specifically for someone.  Why put all of that work into it for nothing?  You would at least want some appreciation.

Producing  Sistine Chapel results on a stick figure timeline

I don’t like being given a short timeline to produce work with the expectation that I am going to produce amazing results.  Yes,  I can create quickly under pressure but  I know darn well that if given more time I can do better.

To be fair, sometimes I contribute to my own demise.  I may come up with an idea and then waste a tremendous amount of time wondering if I can actually do it or not.  Then at the 11th hour I decide that I can do it and then wonder why I am still drawing as I walk out of the door.

When people expect you to practically give your stuff away

I don’t think most people understand the effort it takes to create artwork even if we make it look easy.   It’s  emotionally and even physically exhausting, and can be pricey considering the cost of quality materials required to make it look amazing.  It’s  hard to get a return on your investment and I can’t afford to be low-balled.

Expect the “friend” discount

I don’t necessarily expect a special discount if I am purchasing something from a friend. I want to support their business and I understand that they have to earn a living.   Shouldn’t I expect the same?  I’ve had numerous friends who have started out in businesses and have been frustrated with people expecting them to produce something for little or nothing.

 Festivals:  Art Sales vs. Food and Beverage Sales

Most festivals are going to have food and beverage because it’s part of the culture.  The issue here is that it competes with those of us who are selling art.  In most cases, food will always win because it provides instant gratification even though the art can bring joy over the long-term.  I thought about my friends selling their art at one of the local festivals and right across from them sat a funnel cake truck that looked ancient-of-days, health-hazards-be-danged.  Yet, there was a long line of eager buyers.   No one there said, “Hey, I’m going to forego this greasy goodness and use my money to buy some art instead!”

I sometimes thing that alcohol sales at festivals  have the same effect.  It’s wishful thinking to find the inebriated person who will stumble into your booth and impulsively buy everything in sight.  Personally I have yet to sell anything to anyone with beer or wine in hand, although I would be happy to be proven wrong.

Groups of people standing in front of my booth for reasons other than looking at art

At any open market or fair,  I certainly don’t mind people crowding around my booth if they’re looking at my art or buying something.  Unfortunately in many cases there are times when groups of  people spot each other from a distance and then they congregate in front of my booth and talk for several minutes.  When this happens, no one else can see me.  I’ve often fantasized about scaring them off by farting out loud like some crazed, defensive animal, but given the noisy environments that I typically sell in, no one would  hear.

There’s many more things I’m sure I can write about but I will have to save it for another time.  Your turn!! What bugs you?

 

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