EVERYBODY'S ART SHOW!

SHOW YOUR ART,  SELL YOUR ART,  KEEP WHAT YOU EARN.


GREAT


ART SHOW

TIPS
FOR

MAGNIFICENT

ARTISTS!

The more ideas we Artists share, the better-informed we become.
  Email us at  [email protected]  today.


Bear in mind that anything you bring to an art show or a convention can potentially be misplaced, damaged, or pilfered.  So, prevent problems by keeping a sharp, careful lookout at all times, over every piece of artwork, every piece of equipment, all clothing, all supplies, all sales-money--everything you bring or earn.  Be cautious and have a good show.
No matter what time of year you sell at an art show or convention, think about carrying (or wearing) a coat or sweater.  Because, even in the middle of August, when temperatures might top 100, as soon as you enter an event venue you can suddenly find yourself blasted by howling Arctic winds, because someone has set the AC at 55 or lower.  Come prepared, with whatever will comfortably protect you--shawls, gloves, scarves, caps, blankets, etc. 
Consider standing up while you're selling your art at a show or a convention.  Admittedly, standing can make your feet sore after a few hours; but think about why professionals such as teachers stand throughout their instructional day--because it shows who's the boss, the leader.  Likewise, politicians stand when they make speeches, to show leadership.  Do the same.  Stand, so that you can cheerfully lead your customers where you want them to go--buying your magnificent art.

You have an absolute right to verbally defend yourself against customers' unwelcome comments.  But when you're trying to persuade people to pay hard-earned money for your art, suppress the urge to scream childish insults.  Instead, try to answer courteously, and with dignity.  If someone says, "You've really got a gift," and you happen to be an atheist, don't yell, "I've worked for years to perfect my art--don't give credit to some fairy-tale deity!"  A much more civil answer might be, "Thank you--there's some hard work involved, too, but I really appreciate your compliment."  Are you in a debating society, or do you want to sell your art and make a living?  Remember, your customer is king, or queen.

Dress nicely.  Yes, you may be a nature boy or nature girl who loves t-shirts, cutoffs, and flipflops--but your customers might not love the look as much as you do.  They might find it hard to think about buying your art when your clothes are dirty, smelly, or perceived as low-class.  Centuries of psychological conditioning have produced a world full of people who value clean, stylish garments, and who often look down on tank tops and pajama bottoms.  Whatever you wear, always wear neat, freshly-laundered clothes, to look (and smell) good for your customers. 

If you bring a pal with you to the show, you can split the cost of a table, take turns watching your art when nature calls, and most importantly, get some food!  Because it's not just love that makes the world go 'round but food.  And bringing a pal means that when you drive to the show you can use the freeway carpool-lane, which is often much faster than other lanes.

If you have specific dietary requirements, or if the food-vendors near your show don't have what you need, pack a lunch, just like Mom used to do.  Suggestions:  Fruit, veggies, cheese, nuts, chips, snacks, sandwiches, tofu, yogurt, salad, rice, bottles of Perrier, or a hundred other goodies.  But whatever you bring, if it's perishable, or homemade, or not prepackaged, you must bring lots of blue ice--frozen gel encased in plastic--or even real ice (which can be messy) to keep food fresh. 

Be prepared to create new art for customers who commission you.  Fully charge your laptop, tablet, Cintique, etc., the night before.  Also bring attractive signs announcing that you do commissions; and bring plenty of the tools and supplies you need to create art. It's a good idea to get paid up-front, so that you don't create commissioned pieces and then no one shows up to buy them.  Make sure that you and your customer agree on when your art will be due--say, at the conclusion of the show, at a certain time--then deliver everything without failure, especially if you've already been paid.  Deadlines may not be fun, but making art is fun; so smile, work hard, take on only what you can handle, and meet your deadlines.

Try to safely elevate your art above table-level, so that customers can see your masterpieces even from several yards away.  Carefully use racks, storage cubes, stands, tripods, bookends, wire-frame display equipment, etc.  Step-by-step, hang your work up, stand it up, raise it up--this applies to many types of art including music CDs, acting-demo DVDs, dance DVDs, novels, poetry books, nonfiction, fashions, tapestries, textiles, dolls, sheet music, etc.  Make your table alluring and exciting, so that people will want to come over, browse, and buy.

Bring tools and supplies to maintain your table area.  Useful items might include scotch-tape, masking tape, duct tape, foam tape, safety-pins, straight pins, thumbtacks, map-tacks, scissors, staplers and staples, permanent markers, metallic markers, fine-point markers, highlighters, pens, pencils, erasers, paper clips, glue, white-out, posterboard, notepads, post-its, calculators, trash bags, flashlights, batteries, wire, hangers, dusters, etc.  Remember to use everything safely and sensibly.

You might want to put-together and then break-down your table display equipment once or twice, prior to the date your art show or convention begins.  You'll get some valuable practice, and you'll see what looks great and what seems disjointed.  Also, you can decide exactly how your art should be displayed.  This kind of rehearsal is particularly important if you share a table with pals, because you need to arrange everyone's pieces fairly, and so keep your pals forever--not lose them after the show because of screaming arguments about unequal treatment.

Never judge a book by its cover--meaning, anyone can be an art-buyer; and a guy in tattered jean-shorts and socks and sandals may have $10,000 to spend on art, for all you know.  Treat all of your customers, young and old, black or brown or white, straight or gay, male or female or otherwise, with courtesy, patience, and respect.

If a table at an art show or convention seems too darned expensive, don't forget that some shows let you share the cost of a table with a pal--and Everybody's Art Show lets you share with up to two Artist-pals for one low price.  Ask your buddies if they're ready to share a table with you and share their art with the world, and potentially make some money.

Get to know other Artists, and if you genuinely admire their work, consider praising them to your friends, family, and the public.  They might just return the favor, potentially creating a community of Artists who help and support one another.
If you enjoy another Artist's work, and if you can afford it, consider buying it.  This could give you a feel for what your own customers might want to buy, and how much they might pay.  Also consider commissioning artists whose work you admire, particularly if you've created your own fictional characters (copyrighted, of course) and want to see how other artists interpret those characters.
At a show, never get so involved with side-conversations with other Artists, etc., that you accidentally ignore customers.  Sure, one of your goals is to meet new people, make friends, and have fun.  But don't become so engrossed in yakking that you don't hear a customer repeatedly asking, "Excuse me, how much is this?  EXCUSE ME?  HOW MUCH IS THIS?  HELLO?"  That person may have been ready to spend $100, but instead walks away because you never heard or acknowledged her. 
Show respect and courtesy to Artists sitting near you, and to all members of the public, by not loudly using curse-words or telling bizarre jokes or discussing inappropriate subjects.  You might feel you're free to say anything you like, but think about your mother, your elderly grandparents, your children--and whether or not they'd want to hear certain topics loudly discussed.
Technology may scare you; nevertheless, think very seriously about creating your own carefully-designed, appropriate website.  Many web-hosting services are free, while others are extremely low-cost. Pity the poor customer who buys your art and goes online to get more--and finds nothing, because you've got no online presence.  Don't lose loyal followers and potential buyers.  Whether you're a novelist, poet, musician, illustrator, sculptor, fashion designer, composer--whatever your art-form, let people find you and your art on the Web.
Display your art-prices clearly, where they can be seen easily.  Otherwise, your customers might suspect you're arbitrarily tailoring your prices according to their race, gender, clothing-style, etc.  Don't offend people this way, or they'll storm off.  Display your prices.  And, if you accept PayPal and credit cards such as Visa and MasterCard, display some clear signs to that effect. 

Bring plenty of business cards to an art show or convention, because after browsing your work, some customers need time to consider your prices, etc., and they'll ask for a card so they can contact you later.  You'll be incredibly embarrassed if you're forced to stutter, "Oh, well, I don't have any more right now.  Got a paper napkin I can write on?  Or, I'll just write on your hand!" 


Instead, bring 100 or more business cards and courteously hand them to anyone who asks--even kids, who might later become some of your best customers.  Your magnificent card can display information on both the front and back.  For example, the front of the card at left features beautiful art, and the Artist's fields of expertise.  The back features contact data--email, website, plus Tumblr, Twitter, and Instagram accounts.  You can also display things like Facebook and DeviantArt accounts, and a business phone number, if you're comfortable giving it out.  So, whether your card is vertical or horizontal, color or black-and-white, glossy or matte, your card is you, so make it a great one. 

There are two schools of thought, regarding haggling:  (1) art-selling is a rough game and you've got to sell, even dropping prices if necessary; OR, (2) you've spent countless hours creating your art, and you deserve to be fairly compensated.  Just remember that your art pieces are not sacks of flour at the supermarket.  They're beautiful, colorful, custom creations made with shimmering brilliant skills, and they're available nowhere else in the entire world.

When it comes to pricing art, or anything else, we've all been taught to charge the absolute maximum price that the market will bear, down to the last penny.  But while some of your customers may be rich, others may actually need money more than you do--a sentimental viewpoint, perhaps, but doubtless still true.  Therefore, charge what you think is fair, but maybe not every last dime that can be squeezed from your customers.  Value your art, always; but consider the economic situation of some of your fellow human beings, as well. 

Make sure to have sufficient change, both paper and metal, for the convenience of your art-buyers.  Try to safely bring upwards of $300 in ones, fives, tens, and twenties, as well as pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters, to distribute as change.
Be super careful when creating your art.  Don't sear your flesh with glue-guns, puncture yourself with scissors, slice your fingers with x-acto knives, jab yourself with mechanical pencils, etc.  These injuries can often be very serious, requiring medical attention.  Even when you're trying to finish a project at 2 a.m., keep your eyes open, and concentrate on what you're doing.  Speed, perhaps--but safety, most definitely.  (And remember, never work with hot glue in the nude.)
When bringing a table-covering to Everybody's Art Show or another show, consider using at least one bed-sheet, as tables are generally quite big--two feet by six feet, or in the case of Everybody's Art Show, three feet by eight feet--and ordinary cloths might be too small.  Pick a subtle pastel color, or perhaps a wild vibrant design--whatever best suits you and your artwork.

We all adore our dogs and cats and other animal buddies, especially heroic service dogs.  However, as an Artist, make certain that no animal dander and fluff gets onto any of your art pieces.  Keep your art sanitary, sweet-smelling, and free of strange and unwelcome debris from our beloved animals.

You can bring plenty of hand-sanitizer or alcohol wipes to a show, for use when small children suck on your art-pieces and abruptly hand them back to you; or when customers pull cash out of their shoes; or when guys hand you cash that's moist with perspiration; etc.  [Please note that some people consider hand-sanitizer, or alcohol in any form, to be too irritating, pungent, or toxic.  Use your best judgment.]
There's no hard-and-fast rule about how many prints / copies / items to bring, of each of your original masterpieces.  Some Artists say a minimum of five copies of each piece, some say ten, others say at least 20.  You decide, based on your budget; your experience; your discussions with friends, family, and colleagues; and your own good judgment.

How should you greet your customers? Here are the two extremes of behavior:  (1)  Totally ignore customers as they walk up, and continue staring downwards and texting on your phone or fiddling with your iPod, never making eye-contact or uttering one word; or (2) leap to your feet, lean as close as humanly possible to the customer's face and yell in an extremely loud voice about what an earth-shattering bargain she's getting, never answering any questions directly but always yelling nonstop about what she should buy and when she should buy it.  Perhaps the best tack is simply to briefly greet customers with ordinary cheerful courtesy, ask how they're doing, and either offer assistance, or stand back and let them tell you what they want, when they're ready.

Remember what the great English playwright William Shakespeare (1564-1616) tried to show in all of his dramas:  No action without thought, but no thought without action, either.  In other words, don't  go off half-cocked like the fiery yet ultimately doomed aristocrat Henry "Hotspur" Percy in Henry IV, Part 1 and Part 2 (both circa 1597).  But don't endlessly dither and procrastinate, either, like poor Prince Hamlet in Hamlet (circa 1599).  Ponder, assess, consider; and then get something done--create your magnificent art and sell it.  

Don't automatically assume that if kids are looking at your art, they're wasting your time, and are only good for getting grubby fingerprints and drool on everything.  You'll feel pretty silly if you shoo them away, and mom shows up a minute later and says, "Y'know, I gave them 20 bucks 'cause they follow you on Facebook and they love your art--and now you tell 'em to get lost."  Remember, everybody deserves courtesy, even kids. 

Have confidence and pride in your artwork, whether it's paintings or musical compositions or any other type of art.  Never disparage it.  Here's a poem for you, about boldly presenting your art to humanity:


Artist, you've worked hard to create your art--now proudly show it to the world.

If batters can hit homers, with bases loaded--show your art in its glory unfurled.

Kids, make your parents proud; parents, make your kids proud; exhibit your beautiful art.

Believe that the universe loves your art, and that buyers with their money will gladly part.

Did you create art to gather dust in a drawer, or to illuminate our world, cold and gray?

Artists, do your duty--bring us your art, and RESERVE A TABLE-SPACE TODAY.

MORE TIPS TO COME!  Assist us by emailing  [email protected]  today with your tips!