36 Hours of Angst

Does that look like a nice booth shot?  I thought so.  It shows some of my recent abstract paintings I had on display at the Indian Market in Denver last Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

So where did I go wrong?  I was ITCHING for an indoor art show to come along.  The 30th annual Indian Market was just the ticket I thought.  I had NEVER BEEN to the Indian Market before, mind you, but another artist recommended it.

Great crowds, lots of print, radio and TV advertising. I cannot blame the sponsor for not getting the word out.  The venue was an enormous indoor space with very easy loading and unloading - it was heaven.

The fact that is was indoors meant I didn't have to worry about wind, rain, heat, cold - the usual bugaboos of an outdoor show.

So, why didn't I sell a ton of work?

I got my first inkling of trouble brewing when I read the list of participating artists.  I do several outdoor shows a year, and it seems I personally know, or know of, at least half the artists present.

At this show I knew ONE.

It was billed as the Indian Market and Southwest Showcase.  I was juried in with my geologic abstracts which have a strong southwest appeal to them.

But the crowds of people were NOT there to buy $2000 paintings, however.

They WERE buying incredible handmade silver and turquoise jewelry, beautiful leather handbags, clothing with silver trim and lots of fringes, pottery decorated with traditional Indian designs, and paintings (yes!) of Indians, pueblos, tee pees, horses and the old West.

If my name had been Carol Soaring Eagle, I might even have done better.  They were not looking to buy geologic abstracts from a Swede.

Of course, I cannot blame the crowd.  I should have done my homework.  I should have listened to a few artists who were guarded in their assessment of the show.

If you're selling contemporary fine art - make sure it's at a fine art show.  I met some fantastic fellow artists and we LAUGHED for three days straight.  As a matter of fact, the worse the sales were, the more we laughed.

Lesson learned.



Thanks for sharing your experience Carol, even if it was so dismal. Shows are such a crapshot - just as you pointed out.

Your art is incredible, so glad you can have a laugh over it.

ARTKarpov said...

Very beautiful pictures!
I advise to all!


ARTKarpov said...

Very beautiful pictures!
I advise to all!

AutumnLeaves said...

At least you were able to laugh, Carol. It sounds like it was indeed a fabulous venue...So sorry that the sales were dismal!

Vickie said...

Oh so sorry to hear about the show, but so happy to hear you still had fun. I guess you never know who you might meet and when they will come back to you. That one person that wants a 2000.00 painting may call you yet. Your work is worth every penny of it too.
byw the booth looked fabulous.

Saundra Lane Galloway said...

Sorry about the bust of a show my friend...but GLAD you found a way to laugh! You KNOW the shows coming up will be awesome! Your booth looks great...as always!!

Kristen's Paintings said...

If someone likes your art, it shouldn't matter where your ancestors were born, unfortunately it does to some people.

Bren said...

So appreciate your sharing your insights, finding the right audience for our work is key as you've said. I've got to say it wasn't for a lack of visual impact, seeing all those rich textures and deep colours would be arresting.

Barbara Andolsek Paintings said...

Hey Carol, I felt like I was reliving an experience I had last year. I sold enough to 'pay' my way and gas.

I had told the person 'pushing' it that I'd usually see the show for myself first and if it is appropriate for 'fine art'.

Lesson learned: always listen to your gut instincts. It was fun though as the country was just beautiful. Thanks for sharing your story.

Spiritartartist said...

I can empathize Carol! Been there more times than I would like to remember... Complete torture! And it really drains you physically as well as mentally. Glad you found some kindred spirits to help pass the time. Your painting display is awesome. It's hard to find clients with class and cash these days. All you need is a few good ones which I'm sure you'll soon attract.

Kim Blair said...

Can you change your name for next year? (only kidding) I have a hunch there will not be a 'next year' for you wanting to enter this show...) Too bad the outcome for sales wasn't better, but at least you were able to have a few laughs over the experience.
Nice photo of your booth with all your wonderful abstracts!

Kelley Carey MacDonald said...

You know, Carol, more than the different 'artists' you were showing with, this was a different group of collectors. Now, you know that the public has to be exposed something a number of times before they open their wallets, so I would bet dollars to donuts that NEXT year there will be people looking for your work.
And the year after that they'll be taking out their credit cards.
$2,000 might be high for a 'cash and carry' sort of venue like this, but some smaller pieces might fly out of there... I agree, your art is incredible. Do not lose heart!

Kristen's Paintings said...

I have to agree with Kelley. There is a strong possibility that the people loved your work and will look for it next year.

Melody Cleary said...

Might have been good to have lower priced, smaller works available at a show like this. I'm sure they admired your work, as do I. Having jewelry makers in my family, I'm told if something is $50 or more, they go away and think about it first.

Pattie Wall said...

Been there - done that, many times over. Marketing is a fickle and a funny business and I don't mean 'ha-ha'. Sometimes you hit em and sometimes you don't. Sounds like you - as well as others - chalked it up to what it was for you and that was 'an experience' - sometimes thought of by me (and more times than not) as 'an experiment'. Always something to take away from it...