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Thread: Art Festivals vs. Craft Fairs, resources and markets

  1. #11
    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Re: Art Festivals vs. Craft Fairs, resources and markets

    One feel good event recently occurred. The guy who bought 3 of the 7 editions of the sculpture found me and gave me an update.

    He still cherished the rather large objects and just wanted me to know.

    I gave one away and have 2 left.

    Stored negatives are tiny.

  2. #12

    Re: Art Festivals vs. Craft Fairs, resources and markets

    Corran. I'll bet my bottom dollar you would have sold some books though...then maybe a special edition with a print...best of luck to you

  3. #13

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    Re: Art Festivals vs. Craft Fairs, resources and markets

    Corran,

    When I mentioned the cost of $1000 for the event that was just to pay for the entry fee, pay for the space and then and rent a tent for the space. It doesn't include any of my costs for printing, displaying etc. That $1000 will basically get me a 10'x10' tent. It is possible to get a 10'x20' space however it will obviously be a greater cost. This is of importance to me because I print extremely large, often as large as 5'x8', if you go to the blog on my website you can get a sense of the scale of my work. So because of the size of my work a 10'x20' is really appealing. Four streets are closed for this event, one is caddy corner to a Mercedes-Benz dealership, another is right in front of an Apple store. Most stores that face the street that the festival is held on are restaurants. It is supposed to attract 45,000 people from a very wealthy part of the country. So all of the signs are there that it could be a great event for artists to sell work. But it seems an expensive gamble.

    -Joshua

  4. #14
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    Re: Art Festivals vs. Craft Fairs, resources and markets

    Bryan,

    I forgot to add to my slightly off topic comments. I tried Art Fairs for several years 25 years ago. Chicago has many, some in very high-end $$$ areas.

    It's tough. Many vendors are in big trucks and run a circuit. A lifestyle.

    Good luck

  5. #15

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    Re: Art Festivals vs. Craft Fairs, resources and markets

    Here's one of the bigger high end art fairs in the Chicago area: https://amdurproductions.com/port-clinton-art-festival/

    They definitely have some expensive art and it must be selling OK. I think that B&W photography( especially landscapes) just isn't the in thing nowadays.

  6. #16
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    Re: Art Festivals vs. Craft Fairs, resources and markets

    Quote Originally Posted by peter schrager View Post
    Corran. I'll bet my bottom dollar you would have sold some books though...then maybe a special edition with a print...best of luck to you
    I can't imagine people buying books, but I'll look into it. I am trying to focus on the silver gelatin print aspect. Just like anyone can print a digital photo with an inkjet printer, anyone can print a book by just dragging and dropping stuff online via Blurb (I know there is more to it and better publication methods, but I'm just saying the barrier to entry is low). My thought was that the handmade aspect of a darkroom print would bring something unique to the table. I could be wrong.

    Quote Originally Posted by Joshua Dunn View Post
    Corran,

    When I mentioned the cost of $1000 for the event that was just to pay for the entry fee
    That's quite expensive. Let me suggest you buy a mid-line tent for yourself rather than rent. I started a thread last year about Art Festival equipment you might want to look at, it's also in the Business subforum. Anyway, the size of your work sounds like it would be quite a commitment for a buyer! Forgive me but I see no links to a website on your profile...

    Quote Originally Posted by Randy Moe View Post
    It's tough. Many vendors are in big trucks and run a circuit. A lifestyle.
    Yeah I talked to a number of vendors in the past couple festivals. I am definitely the odd one out with a little sedan running around. I have a very tight and compact setup. No hard walls for hanging, just a gallery system hanging from the tent trusses against the tent sidewalls. Easy to setup and grab prints to show folks up close, but wind makes them move to and fro a bit.

    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Pere View Post
    I think that B&W photography( especially landscapes) just isn't the in thing nowadays.
    Thanks for the link. Why do you say that? I know that what's in vogue in the "art" world (formal galleries, institutions, etc.) is not that, but art festivals are very different markets. I have some friends working in photography making some very avant-garde stuff that is all political and commentary on current world events, but that doesn't sell...I don't think anyway. I can't imagine trying to sell anything at these art festivals that is like that. But this was my reason for making the thread - I am interested to know what is selling, where, how, etc. My concept currently is that there would be a market for well done, black and white images of this area. All of the folks that came through my booth recognize some of my locations/images. There's the odd person who wants to tell me he took the same photo with his phone, but mostly people are recognizing there's a bit more there in my photograph, in terms of thought, composition, lighting...

    Let me close out with a quick example story. I had a pair of women come through who were avid hikers and knew many of my locations. They were in love with one of my recent images I posted in the landscape thread last week I printed to 16x20 and had hanging prominently. One of them was just entranced and kept looking at it while the other talked to me about hiking locales. Anyway, I really thought they would buy it. I couldn't close the sale. The one lady, I actually saw her stop in the middle of the road as they were leaving and turned around to look at the print for a bit longer. How much better can it get, in terms of "liking" a print?? I don't really get it. But again, it seems like where I am, people are just not buying, period. BTW, most if not all of my print sales came from people who were travelling from a different state or came a long distance.
    Bryan | Blog | YouTube | Instagram
    All comments and thoughtful critique welcome

  7. #17
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    Re: Art Festivals vs. Craft Fairs, resources and markets

    Do you use your camera as prop?

    Perhaps a really rickety big wood camera and tripod?

    Artiste is a state of mind. You mesmerize your prey.

    Be an animal

  8. #18
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    Re: Art Festivals vs. Craft Fairs, resources and markets

    And I hope you take Credit Cards.

    Try Square.

  9. #19
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    Re: Art Festivals vs. Craft Fairs, resources and markets

    Yes! The camera brings people in because it's unusual. This last one I had my Chamonix. I thought about bringing my 8x20 but it's huge of course, and I don't want some kid knocking it over and turning it into kindling. Most people think it's just an old camera, they are surprised when I say I shot most of the images with it.

    I use PayPal as a CC processor (through a paypal.me link on my phone). No extra gear. Square is good if there is no wifi, I think it stores CC info until it's in range or something to that effect.
    Bryan | Blog | YouTube | Instagram
    All comments and thoughtful critique welcome

  10. #20

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    Re: Art Festivals vs. Craft Fairs, resources and markets

    Bryan - your experience pretty much mimics mine these days. I have a sense that things are not getting better, and that this might reflect some overall cultural changes. But I also feel that all is not lost!

    For the past four years, I’ve been participating in a very highly regarded, nine-day arts/crafts festival in N.H. which typically attracts around 25,000 motivated visitors. A bit expensive at appx. 1,400.00 (10x10 booth space rental), plus van rental and other expenses. About 2K total expenses, not including that of the matted/framed prints. Nor does this include the booth itself…leaving me responsible for schlepping down my own DIY booth, which I need to erect onsite.

    While my first three years saw a steady increase in sales…to the point of making a decent profit over expenses, it was the most recent (fourth) year which still leaves me scratching my head. Thing is…the enthusiasm for my work last season was wonderful - kind of “off the map” in fact. But people simply weren’t buying, at least not with the gusto with which they had in past years…and I ended up barely covering my expenses.

    But I did garner another collector who continues to purchase my work…as well as some gallery leads which are becoming productive. I’ve also realized some good “after the fact” sales, to folks who contact me…sometimes many months after the fair itself, to finally make a purchase.

    So I guess my feeling at this point, as I look to participating yet again in this particular fair, is that getting my work out in front of such a large and enthusiastic audience is worth it for more than simply making on-site sales. Furthermore, getting my face out there…being a human presence amidst my work - engaging and educating my “audience” by way of countless meaningful discussions about my work and all that goes into its creation, is very self-reaffirming and also makes for lots of good will down the road.

    Looking ahead…I can see two aspects of my art/craft fair pursuits which need some improvement. One is technical - in that I’m not exactly internet/web savvy. I should probably do some social media. My website is sorely in need of an overhaul (understatement of the year!). And I should probably be gathering email addresses so that I can do regular mailings/updates to potential customers. I’m really bad at this stuff…and I need to be better at it!

    The other thing is that my prices start high enough to discourage a number of folks (at least in the art/craft fair context)…and I need to address this in ways which will not backfire in terms of maintaining my own standards. My thought here is to create a series of very small, handmade (batch processed) prints - perhaps make them up as signed, numbered note-cards (15 bucks a pop?) which can later, if so desired, be reconfigured, mounted and framed, and which in any case might serve as a “hook” to get folks to come back and purchase a full-sized print (or prints!).

    Bryan don’t give up. Your work is great, as is your attitude, and you need to keep developing ways to connect with your audience, and potential customers, while maintaining/enhancing your high standards and integrity.

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