This past weekend, I had the honor of displaying my work along with 50+ other amazing artists. Sales were record high by show’s end, which made for quite a few happy artists as well as happy buyers. Ironically, I made less this show than the previous two years’ less-than-ideal turnouts. In this post, I’ll be consolidating what I learned into, what I hope, are five helpful insights.
1. A thoughtful theme trumps theatrics.
When creating a unified body of work instead of simply slap-dashing various styles across the walls, I’ve found that the viewers tended to take me more seriously. For this show, I decided to focus on including metal leaf in the majority of my paintings. Of the few that sold, half included metal leaf. The people that took their precious time to step out of the aisle and into my booth were often examining and/or admiring the…you guessed it…metal leaf work. Take the time to cultivate a brand for yourself. People will remember you better.
2. Branding incorporates the hardest blend of all, simplicity and consistency.
Speaking of people remembering you better, it’s easier on them when you present your work in a simply strong andconsistent manner. I think I grasped the strong simplicity part (ex. gold wrapped chocolate favors, business cards showcasing art on every back, etc.) but I hadn’t fully mastered the consistency. About half of the walls showcased many of my older pieces…without the metal leaf. I’ll admit that was a lack of planning on my part. After seeing people’s reactions to the metal leaf, however, I’m looking forward to showing a more consistent theme.
3. Think of the people while creating from within yourself.
For an art show, people come to appreciate the art, but they are also looking for what can suit their needs. The amazing challenge is that it’s up to me and 50+ other artisans to create work that represents who we are as well as fulfill the needs of the viewer. Each year I’m observing more of what usually sells and am eager to put my own spin on it.
4. No expectations = win every time!
While I might come to the show hoping to hit a certain number, it does my mind better to not expect anything. Instead, I’m going to focus on being a better communicator with my marketing and art style + subject matter. If something does sell, that’s a bonus next to what I’ve learned by interacting with and learning from the viewer.
5. Practice turning nervousness/negativity into positive energy. Your nerves will thank you.
Instead of fretting over how many pieces will sell, or whether a passerby likes my work or not, or envying the artist who sold more than me, I can choose to turn all of that potentially negative energy into laser-like focus. One thing is for sure: I benefit more from simply being authentic with the person in front of me instead of becoming unsettled by all that’s happening. Being at peace is rare in today’s busy world, but it’s so important because it helps one focus on what truly matters.
Aaand one more extra tidbit: procrastinating is bad. Period.
Yes, I put things off until the last minute and I suffered for it. No more! I’m putting plans into motion now (ex. scheduling business card orders, art production deadlines, etc.) so I won’t have to relive the sleepless nights of that prior week. *shudder*
In other news, I’m starting a Sketchbook page. It’s a tool I’ll be using to keep myself accountable. I’ll be posting something in there every week, be it studies, works-in-progress, or crazy imaginative sketches. The main thing is to start juggling the art and day job lives with the goal of having one replace the other over the next 1-2 years. (I do love typing, but no, not that much).
Thanks for taking the time to visit my blog. If you like what you’ve read, please feel free to like, comment, and share. Cheers.