One of the more challenging parts of being an artist is marketing and selling my work. Juried art fairs are one of the ways that I try to find homes for some of my prints. This past weekend I was a first time exhibitor at the Krasl Art Fair on the Bluff show in St. Joseph, Michigan. It was a weekend where I learned to put what I do into perspective.
Take a splash in the splash park, and then a dip in the lake.
St. Joseph is a beautiful town on a bluff on Lake Michigan, and the art fair follows a thin park with some spectacular views. The weekend was hot and steamy, so I really wanted to be in the water -- but forgot my swim suit.
Curious Kids Discovery Zone's living roof!
The committee that runs the fair treats the artists well. This was my first time doing an out-of-town show by myself, and it went relatively smoothly. One of the programs they have is the opportunity to stay in the home of a community member. I was placed about 15 minutes away in the pastoral fields of southwestern Michigan. My host was a gregarious woman with two sweet dogs and a home that she had completely redone with her own two hands. Clearly she is an artist herself, but she says she never goes to art fairs. Since her job had been reduced to part-time, money and health insurance were now of a greater concern.
My toasty booth at the end of the fair.
Both Saturday and Sunday were hot, and when it is hot, I find people don't want to stop and look at my work. My subject matter demands a more careful consideration, so only a few things found new homes.
Art fairs are an expensive and risky business, with a lot of similarities to gambling. What I was most struck by was the generosity and kindness of my host. For a person who does not attend art fairs to open her home to me meant that I did not lose money on the weekend. And better still, I had a soft bed, good conversation and two dogs to cuddle with.
It puts the selling of art (or the not selling) into its true perspective.