Saturday, December 7, 2013

Tried it, done it

I don't guess I have ever said what I have tried and what the outcome was when I did.

When I first began eighteen years ago I belonged to my home town art society and began showing in the two annual shows they had each year. I got the bug and began hearing about other shows in a certain radius which meant I thought I could afford the gas and motel and could work up the courage to enter the shows.  Back then the shows were probably 20.00 to enter and 35.00 to be in the show if accepted.

I recall that one particular year I entered and participated in 10 shows, one being Casper and the other  DuBois, Wy.  These were both shows that no one I knew had experienced so I learned a hard lesson, one had no traffic and the other was in a house that looked like it should have been for sale instead of being called a gallery.

After years of showing and entering both those that worked and those that did not I had an accumulation of ribbons and was ready for the big time of larger shows and that was when I realized that shows had changed and I had to pick and choose because of the greater expense (plus the fact that I haul 12 pedestals on a trailer and a truck full of art).

Galleries, I have been in what seems like a lot of galleries. My first  experience was a gallery in Georgia.  I had taken a piece of work along on a vacation and got up enough courage to stop in a gallery and explain that I was hoping to help pay for my trip by finding a gallery that wanted my work. Well she out and out bought it and that let me into my first gallery which was a thrill and that was probably 16 years ago. I have had so many different experiences with galleries since then, some I was invited, some I paid for space, some requested 70% others 50 and 45%.  Some had great managers, some hired people that had forgotten what there job really entailed. I have had some that I enjoyed doing the monthly art walk, pouring wine, doing demo's and baking others that I never hardly heard from.

The last few years I have picked out my favorite shows and limited myself to them. My feelers are always out for new shows so by December I am searching the applications for Colorado and surrounding area. I have also been asked to be featured artist for a gallery for a month this Spring so I stay optimistic about each year to come. Exposure and marketing in a new area is always exciting.

The internet has made it possible to get feedback concerning shows.  What you want is reputation over several years and thousands of future patrons.  You will always have to talk to hundreds of lookers before finding an excited patron.

I have also used the internet for referring patrons to new work or ongoing work.  I have always said I am all over the internet like a bad rash but that is just about what you have to do to get attention. I use multiple sites free and paid for so all I can tell you is use the internet the way it was designed to be used social and marketing.

Be knowledgeable and friendly and not have a cars salesman personality.  You will come away with friendships and sales.  Now purchase that 2014 calendar and start setting goals and marketing somewhere every month.  "It is only through the door of risk that growth can enter". author unknown

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