While I like to have fun with words and titles, I hesitated with this one. You should never run yourself down in public, and worse yet, it smacks of fishing for compliments (I’m not), but really, it’s only your first time once, and I prefer honesty over bombast.
Gosh, I was a bundle of nerves, and while we arrived early, we had the address wrong (a wee mix up) so by the time we got things right, set-up was a real scramble. I let my husband, the ‘support’ (and I think I’ll blog more on that aspect later) put things on the wall, because I had no clue; neither did he. He bravely sweated it out (most literally) because I left a lot riding on his shoulders.
It took me awhile to warm up to folks, so I started with the complimentary coffee and a huge moist chocolate muffin. That made me feel better, and then I forced myself to socialize.
Printmakers are really really NICE! Wonderful, friendly, welcoming people. By the end of the day, I was feeling downright chatty, and my husband declared the entire day a big ball of fun. He wants to go again, and so do I.
So, the sharing/useful google friendly part:
Things I remembered to bring:
- nails & string (to hang art on the wall)
- lots of business cards (and holders)
- my art, some framed, lots in acid free plastic sleeves
- my hand-printed t-shirts (even though I wasn’t sure they’d be welcome in a gallery setting—they were)
- delicious hummous /chick pea dip for lunch
Things I forgot to bring:
- pita bread for the hummous
- a hammer, and level or plumb line (to hang art on the wall)
- change/small bills to split $20.00’s and such
Things I learned:
- a half dozen consistently framed (all same size/type/colour of frame) would look better than a mixed bag jumble
- put unframed (sleeved) work in basket/upright hopper type thing. People like picking through these things, but are afraid to touch a horizontal arrangement.
- through out the year, think & store art with ‘show’ in mind, as in sleeved in size categories, with a few ‘show stoppers’ framed. Leave a ‘show kit’, receipts, business cards, etc. in a box ready to go.
- have under $10/ take away items, because a smattering of sales (even if it doesn’t cover fees, feels better than none).
So, how did it go? Sales, erm… sold a hand-printed t-shirt. Kiwi green Ugly Fish—good choice! Also, covered the VERY modest entry fee. From talking to other vendors, this is an accomplishment, not everyone sells. Items that did sell, were things like cards (see last list item) but not in great quantities.
Networking: well, I hope to do better next time, and what an ugly word. Really, I met wonderful people that I really really wish I could be friends with. Forget networking, it was an amazing social event for a nerdy girl like me. They also made my non-artsy husband feel extremely welcome, possibly because they also recognize the sacrifice and value of the artist’s ‘support’.
Experience: Priceless. Wow! I got to see my artwork on the wall in a gallery setting (albeit jumbled and crooked). I’ll find it easier to chit chat with other artists, and hopefully then the general public (I know I was scary, because the public skipped all the art close to me, but got right up close to my stuff displayed at the far end, yikes! Perhaps an “I’m Mostly Harmless” sign might help?). Finally, a decent event to put on my CV (except I don’t have a CV), but now I can think of working one out.
I wish there were more opportunities like this, I really don’t want to wait an entire year for a do over, but the next opportunity is an outdoor show (ie. 12’x12’ bit of trampled grass) for a whomping $135 (ouch, that’s 5 t-shirts I need to sell, or whole bunches of cards). Apparently, sales of fine art are rare at these shows so if you want a chance of getting your fees back, you need to come prepared with do-dads.
Quote of the day: If you can’t wear it, or eat it, you can’t sell it. This from a fellow printmaker & gallery owner regarding these shows. And ‘ha ha’, go figure, I sold a t-shirt. Next up, linocut cookies!!!
PS. Yes, I did get husbands permission to post his photo. It’s a nice photo too. I’m still big on privacy in a realm that makes it an endangered species.
PPS. CV for those of you who don’t already know, stands for Curriculum Vitae, a fancy term for artists resume. Definitely a place where bombast trumps honesty.