The Artist’s Life – Applying for Shows – April 2014
I thought it would be interesting to use some of my blog posts as a way of sharing insight in to ‘The Artist’s Life’ ie: bits about all the roles that make up being an artist. To be an artist does not only mean being creative and good at making things your hands; though that of course is part of it. When I 1st decided to sell my work professionally I had no idea how many other hats I must wear ie Business person, social media expert, marketing expert, book keeper, accountant, customer service representative, web designer, photographer, booth engineer, car packing extraordinaire ect…
One conversation I often have with customers who come in to my booth at art markets is about the process of ‘getting into shows’. Many people are surprised to learn about what a difficult and time consuming process it is and just how much it costs. Its always fun to watch customer’s jaws drop when they learn how much I paid to be set up in my booth for the weekend. This is not information I just shout out to everyone who comes by but if someone asks I’m going to be honest about the $1000-$2000 I spent on the booth. (not all shows cost this much but I would say $700-$1400 is average for many of the shows I do). I think its important for shoppers to realize how much time and money artists have invested in being at shows and help them realize it is a real business with financial risk and that their support is greatly appreciated.
January is the time I sit down in front of my calendar and computer and figure out all the dates and deadlines for application for shows. The deadline for Christmas shows (yes Christmas!) is often Feb or March so I’ve got to be on this ( I have learned the hard way and missed out on shows in the past cause Im too late to apply). Many applications require an application form, artist bio, description of exact process for creating the work, price list, high res photos and sometimes samples. They often want a jury fee (yes you have to pay even if you dont get in) plus a deposit and payment for the show is usually many months before the show starts so I had better hope I have money in my account to cover all the cheques I am writing! This is one of the most stressful parts, knowing when all the show fee payments are due! Once the applications are all sent off (this year I am planning to apply for at least 10 shows) its time to sit and cross my fingers I get in! Many shows are highly competitive so its not uncommon to get a few rejection letters before an acceptance letter. Its always super exciting to get the ‘You have been accepted’ email! There is also the possibility I will be rejected which if course is heart wrenching and a different blog post all together! To be in the business of being an artist one much be able to accept rejection. Once I know I have been accepted the planning for the show can begin!.. again.. another blog post yet to come!
There you go, a little insight in to one of the many roles of an artist! And now.. if you don’t mind.. I must get back to these applications!
May your day be filled with passion and creativity!