Monday, October 16, 2006

Another Art Fair

Art Show or Art Fair...they are about the same. I've now done 3 shows with another larger show coming up. So far, I'd describe shows in this order....anticipation, excitement, wondering, reflecting, depressed, tired...and debating.
Anticipation of what will happen.
Excitement as you setup and see all the others.
Wondering where the crowd is and where the heck the buyers are hiding.
Reflecting on why I do this.
Depressed on the low or no sales.
Tired on the way home regretting unloading the van
and Debating on should I try it again.
That's been my shows so far. I know, it is only 3 so give it a chance Ron.

Good things sometimes have a way of sneaking up on you. In the show frenzy I've had the most awesome compliments given to me about the art. That makes doing 1 or 2 shows worth it alone. I'd say I've spent about 98 percent of my life drawing and painting alone in some room or garage and 2 percent showing it to people. In a way the compliments at shows are sort of being applauded for all that time and effort. That's nice for an artist to hear.

I've also met some people who have given me leads and said some pretty important things but I have to look into those before writing about them. I've also been asked to do other shows so the contacts you make are worth the effort so far.

Would I recommend doing shows to other bet. The reaffirmation of ones talent, the camaraderie with other showing artists, the leads and contacts as well as getting your name out there.....and lastly, the internal character it builds in you to being resilient and forging ahead. Like my fellow artist Margaret says "it's paying your dues".

Here are some shots from the Santa Maria "Autumn Arts, Grapes and Grains" show.

Arriving at 6:30 AM to the vendors who had arrived at 6AM already setting up

My girlfriend Linda helping to set up installing the racks to hang the art and keep the tent on the ground...that girl is a trooper to the max!

All set up and the first lookie-loo in place. Notice the hands not anywhere near the wallet parts of the body on the lookie-loo....that's how you spot them.

Here are some local chalk artists doing their things at the show. I've seen some of these people in Pasadena at the big chalk show there sponsered by Stolichnaya Vodka...some great artists at these shows. They submit a drawing of their idea to a committee and if approved will show up to do it in chalk in front of city hall.

Our Friend and photographer, Pat and a friend she shared her booth with. Doing this at shows that allow it save you half the cost of booth space....and allow you to go to the bathroom or get something to eat while leaving your booth still manned.

Anyways....I have nothing against lookie-loos, I'm one of them too. When you are on the other end of the counter though a lookie-loo takes on a whole other dimension.

We spent the day buying lemonade for the ladie in the booth next to us. She was really nice and alone so we did all the drink and hot dog runs for her. We would have done the bathroom thing for her too. This way she could remain on her constant booth vigil supplying Santa Maria residents with their supply of 2006 Christmas ornaments but that was physically impossible so I apologised to her and made her go herself. The oriental necklace vendor dropped a bunch of beads from a broken necklace on the other side of us so I quickly helped him pick them up...other than that he rarely said a word except into his cell phone. On many occasions the afternoon winds sent many Christmas ornaments flying and hanging necklaces going airborne with the tent. Why people setup like they are in some department store oblivious to the wind is beyond me. We live along the coast of the Pacific Ocean and winds in the afternoon are an everyday thing here....I'm just adding this up to why people in other states think Californians are idiots....we often act like it. If it snowed here I have no doubt some vendors would be setting up wearing their shorts and flip-flops and others setting up to sell snow cones or Hawaiin Shave Ice.

Sorry to rant and rave but I'm really not. I'm in no way an expert in showing at fairs with only 3 shows under my belt. There are ways to anchor your tent...cinder blocks, weights, cans filled with cement and tent stakes as well as a lot of other ways. So how do I know?...I go to art shows and look.



rob ijbema said...

hi Ron
interesting reading,you are being very open here!
done some shows myself,mainly with my racing car paintings at motorsport events,in the beginning things were amazing!! with good,very good sales,one weekend i sold 12 plus a bunch of commissions,but things have been slowing down (for everybody)all that hard work,for one or no sales,very depressing!
most of my work is sold over the net now,just the way i like it(being fairly

Ron Guthrie said...

Hi Rob,
Well, just finished another show and it was not handled well by the promoter, a local radio station. Zero sales for almost all of the artists selling fact, I didn't talk to any artist who sold anything except for the odd notecard.
In our defense, art is selling terribly in California right now....or at least that has been told to me by many artists and few gallery owners. Judging from this last show they are right.
I'll keep trying things and doing shows is only one method I've been working on sales.