I only participated in two art shows this year, but both were fantastic experiences. I've been wary of overcomitting and am still discovering how best to prepare for these events. For 2018, I think I did pretty well on both counts.
Art & Chalk Fest at the Museum of Wisconsin Art in West Bend, WI ran Saturday July 28 - Sunday July 29. This was my second year and we had fabulous weather once again. The crowds were large and very engaged - I love talking to people about my art and the process. Sales were better than last year and it was fun to have so many students from my workshops stop by to say hello!
The Starving Artists' Show at Mount Mary College in Milwaukee is a classic in this area. It was the first year I applied and participated. Everyone warned me how busy it would be - that people camp out for hours outside the gate and run in - that I should be prepared for chaos. It wasn't chaos, but WOW, it was non-stop sales for 2.5 hours before we finally had a lull. Amazing, but a bit overwhelming, too.
I will definitely apply to participate in both of these shows again in 2019, and may even do one or two more. But as I reflect on both experiences, I do have some key takeaways and plans to be better prepared for next year:
Prints. I continue to only sell originals, and that puts a lot of pressure on myself to create enough art. I will soon be investing in a high-quality, wide-format printer that will allow me to sell prints of my best work at shows, as well as galleries and gift shops.
Cards. Similar to prints, I've had several people ask if I sell any cards featuring my ink art. I think I'll be looking for a printing partner to start a small collection of cards.
Booth. I pretty much cobbled together pieces to create my current booth. It looked nice, but I would love to have something more cohesive looking with much more surface area to hang artwork.
Demos. I think people still don't understand what alcohol inks are or what makes them different than other mediums. Showing someone the process, rather than just talking about it would be pretty interesting.
The best part about shows? The people! I love to talk about inks as much as I love to create with them. Meeting the people who are going to take home one of my "babies" is so lovely - to hear how it makes them feel, and where they're going to put it. I love it!
Here's to a festive 2019!