Show Your Work: The Other Art Fair
The stands have long been taken down, the dust has settled and a week has passed. The Other Art Fair at Victoria House has officially ended and is now on its way to Bristol. This was my second fair and in terms of sales, my most successful but also in just about every other way too.
From a personal standpoint I think I had learnt a lot from the first fair that I had done, in presentation, pricing and size of prints on offer. Also, and despite having a major panic about 3 months before that 'I did not have anything new to show' my initial project idea had miraculously evolved into something else altogether. A mixture of sheer luck and half asleep inspiration, the images I had on show had come from nowhere and had thankfully caught a lot of attention.
I am a huge believer in the "show your work' attitude to art and photography. Its taken many many years to get to this comfortable position, my first ever gallery showing I would not even go in the gallery to see my work hung, let alone "put it out there" in its progression phase. But I firmly think sharing your fails and successes help tell the story of your work, and if you have followed me on here or on any of my social media spots you will know quite how long and hard this road has been! Ultimately It helps not only to create an audience but an audience that liked what you are doing and one that will then share to friends and maybe even buy it. I've spoken before about Austin Kleon and if I did not buy into his "Show Your Work" philosophy I would now after how the fair went. It was summed up when one friend (Chris Mann), who started out as just some chap off Twitter several years ago, popped along, pointed to a print and said: "I'll take that one please. As soon as I saw you post these new photos on Twitter, I knew I had to have one" and he wasn't the only one either. Thats the power of being open to being open!
No doubt I have a lot to learn still. Like many photographers and Artists I think we can quite often have a terrible judgement on our own work. I was convinced that the Eiffel Tower photo (Above and Centre) would be the photo that stopped people, but in fact it was the San Diego Surfer photos, especially 'San Diego Surfers V1' (below) that stopped most people in their tracks on my little stand-I have since sold that lovely big edition of 25 twice now, which is incredibly pleasing. The architectural prints tended to stop people because they recognised them but never felt like they were ever going to sell-but thats ok, I still love them and they were a massive part in the progression of where I am and where it is all going.
Did my costs break even at the end of it? No, not even close. But I felt a lot of progress, in the sales I did make, how to market my work and more importantly that I feel I am on the right track with this series as a whole. We all want to sell our art, while creating something tangible is the number one reason we all do this, selling it is and it being on peoples walls is close behind. All in all, considering the first fair I sold exactly £0 this was an improvement!
Standing on my feet for four days, talking constantly, answering questions on questions (especially on "how did you do it?", "What camera did you use?" ...... sigh) and trying to sell is exhausting that is for sure and this week, a full working week straight after has been hard. October 2016 is the next event I will apply for, yes, I will go for it again. Why? Because:
a/ I love The Other Art Fair- the team, organisation, PR. The amount of people that they get through the doors and past your art work (12,890 visitors this year) you just would not get at a gallery in such a small space of time. Also, I get to hang around with a number of other incredible artists..... this time: Andrew McGibbon and his insanely good animal photography. The crazy talented storyteller Gillian Hyland, newbie Gareth Hayward with his gorgeous stripes and Colin McCallum's fantastic eye popping paintings.
b/ Showing my art work.... thats all I want to do.
Big thanks to all that organised it and those that came by, supported, said hello and dipped into their pockets. You all know who you are! Until next time.