To the Artists: My Thoughts on the First Art Fair of the Summer / 2017

Well, I finished my first art fair of the season, and it was excruciating! Being pregnant, obviously made it harder. Also being the first one I have invested so much in, also made it difficult. It involved weeks of prep work, and heavy lifting once we got there. I met a lot of really great people when all was said and done, and I sold a handful of paintings. I will be honest with you though, I ended up putting out way more money than I got back. In the end, my endorphins were completely shot, and I felt defeated. Then came the big question from my own mind, and those of family and friends, "Is it worth it?" 

Good question. I have done a few art fairs in the past, and I knew they were a gamble. Some can be a complete failure (maybe most?), and sometimes you can get a win. If anything, you are out there showing the work to the public, and attempting to make new business connections. But is this enough? My method right now is to try, modify, and try again until I find success. I am looking at them as trade shows. As other businesses go out there to meet the public, I am doing the same. But, I can't keep this up forever, or I will go broke with a broken back.

There is a lot to contemplate when you are attempting to run a legitimate business. A lot of trial and error. A lot of failures before success. There was a time when artists did not have to worry about the business side of selling art, as much as they do now. Galleries handled the sales. Most galleries fell 10 years ago, and in today's world, artists are expected to run their endeavors from conception to sale. This means all business and marketing falls on them. I read that to find success, 60% or more of your time should be devoted to marketing. When you factor in this time into the price of your work, it can be confusing and also unrealistic.


I am curious what other artists feel about this? What is the time and effort you are devoting to your business vs. practice? Where is your happy medium? How do fairs fall into your category of marketing? 


Do you have questions for other artists regarding art fairs? or marketing efforts in general? 

Alexa Karabin Kleiner

Marketing, Design, and Photography with an artful edge.