On June 30th, 2018, I FINALLY sold my artwork at a festival! I’ve been wanting to do it for years & years! I took part in a few exhibits, but never sold anything besides commissioned pieces for businesses, friends-of-friends, & graphic design clients. I researched tips, ideas, …everything I could think of. In the end, I just had to do it!
A friend sent me a message about a new festival taking place, I sent them an email & BOOM, I was in. Oh shit! I was planning all types of new works, but, as the day drew closer, I began thinking, “What the fuck am I doing?!” I’ve been creating art all of my life & have 2 massive portfolios full of stuff, so I started digging through them. I decided on about 30 pieces. All sorts of stuff: paintings, grabbed some random bracelets I made when I was bored, some prints (linoleum) I made in college, whatever I thought was cool, but knew I wasn’t going to put up around the house any time soon. Over the past 3 years, I invested in a rocking printer, a sticker/magnet maker, & a button maker. I made a few digital illustration posters, some prints (of digital & traditional pieces), & a bunch of stickers, magnets, & buttons (also of digital & traditional pieces, although I did add some text to some of the traditional pieces). I only printed out price tags for the artwork…I used a dry erase board to list the prices of the small stuff (buttons & what-not). On the side was a corkboard, so stapled some colored paper that listed some legal jargon.
So, my products turned out to be the easy part…but I about lost my mind when it came to planning my display! I already had a sign: found myself a big paint palette & printed out my logo & all of my contact info, along with some LED lights. I got a card table & I already had a display board, but I needed something more, so I got a coat rack! Seems a little odd, but bare with me… So, on my trifold display board, I strung hemp across, which I would hang the artwork with little clothespins & I wanted to keep this look. So, I took hemp, tied it to the coat rack & kind of weaved down, tying it together to create something more stable than a bunch of hanging strings. Once again, I used clothespins to hang my art & voila, instant art wall! I went to Pittsburgh Center for Creative Reuse, found some cool-ass fabric for a tablecloth (although, I stuck a white sheet on top to not distract from the artwork…plus, who the hell uses silky sheets?! That shit slides too much) & some baskets for my small stuff. I did decide, though, to display the magnets a little better by sticking them to a baking sheet & placing it on a table easel. I strung a bunch of cute lights & I had myself a cool, somewhat hippy (surprise-surprise!) display!
Now, I’m sure you’re asking yourself, “How the hell did you get all that there?!” Thought about that! I made sure all the big stuff I got was foldable or, in the rack’s case, was easy to take apart & put back together. Everything else, I put in a big tupperware. Lastly, I made myself an emergency kit of things like tape (regular & Duct), extra price tags, a Sharpie, scissors, pins, etc. Just in case!! Also, & especially if you have a Square or other card swiper that forces people to touch your phone, don’t forget hand sanitizer!! To transport, my dad came to the rescue by allowing me to borrow a cart & a bunch of bungee cords. Now, I definitely need to invest in a better cart, maybe something that goes around corners a little better (that’s a post of its own!), but you know…learn those lessons, Bitch! …&, honestly, you’d be surprised how many friends you make when all your shit falls over & you look like a goober in distress.
In case you haven’t noticed by now, I put my logo on EVERYTHING! Marketing is important. I also wanted to make sure, since most of the patrons I assumed would be drinking, that they got my awesome artwork home safe. So, I purchased some paper bags on Amazon, getting a variety pack. I had a bunch of poster board, so I folded it & taped 2 sides to make some folders. However, it was all so boring. So, I took a little extra time, assuring my neighbors that I’m totally off of my rocker, set them all on plastic (didn’t really help!), & splattered them with some watered down Acrylic. Luckily, it was a nice day & they dried fairly quick. As someone bought a work, I put it in the folder, put the folder in the bag, then slapped a logo sticker on it so everyone knew where it came from. I also thought it was mad cool that the bags & folders were little artworks of their own & were different then everyone else’s.
A final thought, now, I was luckily enough to be allowed to choose my spot, so I stuck myself in an area that got traffic to the food, booze, smoking area, & bathrooms. Location is everything! Hot as hell by the kitchen, though, so be sure to dress in layers. Oh! & TAKE SNACKS!!! Forgot my lunch box in the fridge & was pissed! This girl could not be nice to folks being hungry for 11hrs, so I ended up buying food, which is kind of a bummer when the whole point is to make money. Lastly, take something to do or it’s going to be a loooooong day. I was luckily enough to be asked (>cough<thenightbefore!>cough<) to paint a skate deck that would be auctioned off for charity. I really dug the live painting! I actually had folks that kept coming back to check in on my progress, which was neat.
Well, if you got this far, prompts to you!! …& thank you for taking the time to read this. Like slinging my art at fests, I always wanted to start a TAD Colorful Blog. I tend to learn things the hard way, so hopefully I can make someone’s life a little easier…or, at least, let you know it’s not a pain-in-the-ass thing for just you. …& it IS scary, but the best things in life usually are! That’s 1 thing about being an artist that no other profession must experience: we put our hearts & souls into our work & it’s terrifying that people come up to judge it…&, in turn, you…or so it feels. The festival turned out great, in case you’re wondering! I was pleasantly surprised how well my work went over with the festival-goers. In the end, I learned a BUNCH of lessons, but became MUCH more confident in my abilities to sell my stuff & just my art in general. It’s nice to know that what I do is actually received by most people.