Wednesday, January 30, 2008

How to survive on the art festival circuit

Because I’ve been very busy lately getting ready for the up-coming 2008 art festival season, I’ve been giving a lot of thought to the many new-comers who will venturing out into this world of direct selling their art to collectors at the various art fairs held around the country.

Through out the year I will be writing a series of articles that will offer visitors a look into the world of art festivals. Thousands of artists a year make all or part of their income by producing some sort of artwork and selling it through a network of festivals.

Every single weekend of the year, promoters provide venues for artists to meet with and hopefully sell their art to the end user. In other words, this transaction takes place between artist and the person who will own their art. This direct selling approach offers the artist the opportunity to explain their art as well as how it’s produced, directly to the buyer. The consumer appreciates this direct contact with the artist and the artist keeps a greater piece of the pie for each piece sold. In comparison to art galleries where sales commissions can run as high as 50%, this means of marketing can offer the artist a higher profit per piece sold.

That is the upside of being a traveling artist. There are however, many aspects of this lifestyle is not as glamorous as what the public sees. The long hours spent away from home and in many cases, families. The thousands of miles that is driven each year to attend these festivals. Each hour on the road is an hour not available to create art. The escalating expenses ranging from increasingly high jury and booth fees, lodging expense, food, gas, lose from stolen or broken art pieces and the dreaded mechanical breakdown.

I’ve developed many techniques during my art career, not all of which are used in making my art. Part of the reason I am as successful as I am is because of the techniques I’ve learned that enable me to sell my art. I will try to give you a glimpse into the artist’s world but more importantly, I will offer a platform where artists can turn to for information to make this lifestyle easier, more profitable and fun. Some of the topics I will be covering are:

• How to choose the right show for your type of art.
• How to prepare your festival applications to “get you in.”
• How to price your art to make you more money yet keeps it affordable to the buyer.
• How to set up your booth and display area to maximize visibility as well as salability.
• How to “close the sale” in a friendly way.
• How to keep cost down on the road.
• How to resell to past customers.
• How to write a professional “Artist Statement.”

These topics will become posts as they become relevant during my season. I’m in my preparation stage now, submitting applications to the various shows I want to do for 2008. This is one of the least liked jobs an artist has to do each year, but it is one of the most important parts of building a successful career selling your art.

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