There are many different paths for artists. You can go into a specific field, become an art teacher, graphic designer, museum curator, etc. You can set up a website and sell yourself through social media and other online means. You can get representation through a gallery and they sell your stuff for you. And/or you can go the art fair route.
Since graduating college, I have set up the website and have tried to sell myself through social media. My graduation party was an impromptu art show where all my friends and family could see my art in person and have the opportunity to buy something if they wanted. I ended up selling three original pieces that day, which left me feeling on top of the world.
Then I got a job at a marketing company and life went on. I did some more art, had a few commissions, but then I kind of hit a wall. I still had a lot of pieces just sitting around collecting dust and I felt like social media and other online things were not working. This led me to try applying for art fairs and trying my luck with that.
I put in a lot of work and money to get all the things for an art fair ready. I/my dad made panels to hold my paintings, I had to get a booth tent, weights to hold them down, a table and chairs. I took some pictures of my booth all together and then sent off some applications. It was a few months before I found out that I had made it into one of the fairs that I had applied to. I was really excited but it was also stressful because I had never done one before and I did not know what all would be involved.
The day of the art fair was less stressful than I thought it would be because my mom was with me and she helped me set up the booth and sat with me all day. If nothing came out of the day, it still would have been a good experience because now I have an idea of how to do an art fair and how to interact with people as well as getting to see a lot more people’s reactions to my work that are not close to me in any way. I would say that 80% of people that saw my booth, really liked my stuff but did not have a place to put it in their home, didn’t want to spend the money for an original piece, or didn’t want to carry around a big piece for the rest of the day.
It was getting to the last few hours of the event and I was resigned to the fact that today was not my day, and I was not going to sell anything when a guy stops in front of my booth and is just looking. I say hello and he comes into the booth and asks what some of my paintings mean. I tell him the inspiration behind some of them and we just start talking and then I see my opening and ask if he wants to buy a piece. And to my amazement, he does. I was so excited, and ask which one he wants and he shocks me by picking a painting that I had not considered my best or most liked piece.
The picture above is the painting he ended up going with. It just goes to show that you don’t know what people are going to like or when you are going to make a sale. After doing that fair, I also applied to another one that I hope to get into for later this year for another opportunity to sell my work. I am just putting myself out there, seeing what events work and trying to reach as many people as I can to make that sale.