I was scheduled to go up to San Francisco for an art seminar this past weekend but bad luck, I came down with a sore throat that developed into a sinus infection which needed antibiotics. After seeing the doctor, I reluctantly decided to eat the cost of the plane ticket and cancel the trip. Bad luck but wait, it seems that not going was the wise thing to do. You see because of the uncharacteristic bad weather this last weekend, the flights where horribly delayed and what should take one and a half hours took well over 7 hours up and 5 hours back. If I had gone, I probably would have returned with pneumonia. So after the fact, I was lucky to have cancelled.
My motto is "If you don't try you can't succeed," but making the decision not to do something can be just as important.
Juried Shows: You don't want to enter every show since not all shows are appropriate for your genre. First check award winners from previous years. It is the easiest way to see if the show is compatible with your work. Another clue is the judge. I will look up the judges work and if I like what I see, it is usually a good indication that the judge will like mine.
Joining an Art Co-op: Showing your work is the only way to make sales so it is very important but every venue needs an evaluation of the cost verses exposure. Art Co-Ops are springing up all over but not all are created equal. A good location is essential, costs need to be balanced by the possibility of sales and many require a time commitment. You may not mind sitting the gallery but you need to factor that into your costs.
Art Walks and Sidewalk Shows: Many artists make a living doing these shows but they may not be right for you. The initial cost of the setup, tent, panels, etc. will cut away into the profit from any sales the first year. The show fees are high so that will also subtract from any sales you make. In the current economy climate, trying just one would be unwise so think more long term. You need to make a commitment to the show and decide to do it for at least two or three years. Find more insights into this venue at Art Fairs: Another Scam or the Best Way to Market Your Art?
Studio Tours: The only down side to this venue is the chance that you will not sell enough to make back the application fee but many local studio tours have very reasonable entry fees. Clients come to your studio and someone else does the organizing. The most you can lose is a weekend and the admission fee.
Plein Air Events: One of my favorite venues but be warned it is not for everyone. Painting in strange locations, under unknown conditions is stressful. Being able to adapt to any situation is an imperative. You'll be away from your studio for a week and there are travel costs. Some of these shows have great sales while others struggle. I love doing these because even if I don't sell, I still learn a lot from every show. You can find more information on plein air events at Painting on Location.
Website, Blogs, Facebook, etc.: A wonderful promotional tool for every artist. There are long discussions on FASO about all the different ways to use social media and the internet so I won't get into it all here. I know only one artist who sells consistently through Facebook. I agree that you need to have some online presence and I love my website through FineArtStudioOnline. My site is easy to use, has a built-in audience and is reasonably priced. I enjoy blogging but it is time consuming and you should post at least twice a week. For me, the return is well worth it but again it is not for everyone. Don't let this one venue take over your life, because it will if you let it.
Galleries: You walk into the gallery and they need to replace an artist. Your work is a perfect match. What luck. You are thrilled but... Worst case; you find out from other artists who have work in the gallery that the gallery is a year behind in paying their artists and the reason they need new work is because many are pulling their pieces out of the gallery. Usually the red flags are not this obvious but take the time to find out some information about the gallery. There are many reasons to overlook problems in order to have your work in a gallery but there can be good reasons to pass when a gallery calls.
I want to restate that you will never sell anything if you don't have your work in front of buyers so always be open to new venues. Just make sure you do your homework before making the commitment.Topics: Marketing 101
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4 Responses to Sometimes You Have to Fold
Hello Sharon, These are all good points. Sometimes, in our eagerness to do something, we say yes, when perhaps the better answer in the long run is no. Thanks for these reminders.
In our eagerness to show our work, it isn't surprising to make mistakes. The learning process never ends. I have made some of these mistakes and that is why I realize sometimes you have to walk away. Follow your gut feelings and you usually won't go wrong.
Too true, Sharon, but always difficult to sift through all of the choices.
One does need to take risks and I guess the trick is knowing which risks are worthwhile.
Thanks for your call the other day. Diane and I both missed you, but the logistics of getting there and back almost did us both in... You would NOT have done well.... You made a good choice.
Dad's home now... Weak... but home. And as you know... home is always better than the hospital.
It is a balancing act deciding what to do and what to pace on and it never seems to gets easier.
Glad to hear that your dad is in his own bed again. Give him my regards.
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