Friday, February 22, 2013

my first art fair, in retrospect.

Three weeks ago today was the start of my first juried art fair, the Surprise Fine Art & Wine Festival, put on by Thunderbird Artists.

The back of the Suburban, all loaded up, right before we went & set up at the art fair.

My son Jesse, in the space behind my booth, helping attach the tent weight.

First day shot of my booth, with my son Joshua sitting in the chair reading a book just outside my booth.

First off, I sold one painting.  A smallish one, making back 1/4 of my booth fee, so overall we ended up losing money.  But.  Artists I'd talked to at a different art fair before mine said not to let the first art fair discourage me, that I'd have to keep at it for a while before I'd really have a good feel for it.  So, I am taking that to heart as I look back on it all. :) 

And this art fair was a new one, not known to art collectors yet.  And this part of the Valley isn't known for art yet as much as other parts are, and a lot of the other artists who've been doing art fairs for a long time didn't sell much, either.  So, it wasn't just me.

A second day shot, after some rearranging of art & my set-up.

The third day was rather cloudy, with off & on rain.  Pretty slow.

A look down our row on the third day of the art fair.

It was still a good learning experience.   I talked a lot with my artist neighbors, many of whom have been at this for a long time.  It was helpful to sort of pick their brains a bit and get ideas on what other art fairs to try for next.  I also learned things like when you set up on grass, condensation happens during the night, but that if you put a tarp on the ground overnight, it keeps the condensation from happening.  Another artist told me this after he saw me taking my art down each evening and setting back up in the morning. 
After the first night, one of my paintings had drips of water on it that had come down from the roof of my canopy. (yikes!)

Two of the booths across from me.

The third day was pretty chilly, so I was thankful I had brought along my jeans. :)

In trying to sum the weekend up, I think perhaps copying my Facebook status update from that first night works best...

Just got home from my first day at my first juried art fair. Learned a lot of things. A south-facing booth is not the nicest for the artist, since you have to look into the sun all day long (but then again, people don't have to squint to look into your booth). Oh, and sunblock is a good idea... I have a really nice red farmers "tan" on my arms. Heard a lot of "I have a granddaughter named Amelia", "nice, beautiful, good, etc. work", "oh, do you have horses?", "oh, the loaves & fishes". And the funniest thing was when a lady turned sideways and my giant horse eye caught her off guard. She actually jumped! Talked to all my artist neighbors, one who gave me good ideas of art fairs in the Valley, one who told me I needed to talk more to people to try & sell my art, and one who I discovered is also an NMU grad. :) A very good first day indeed, and I am wiped out. Head hurts, body aches, super hungry and ready to crash. But I'm good. :)
One of the things artists at the Carefree show had told me two weeks before my art fair was to look past this first art fair and keep applying for other ones.  So I have my eye on one in Tucson in April, perhaps one in Prescott in May, and one in Flagstaff over Labor Day weekend.  Then there are the ones back here in the Valley starting up this fall.  So we shall see what happens. :)

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