Pay me if you want to sell your art.
I am back from my mini vacation to the Outer Banks and ready to hit the ground running for a very busy next couple of weeks. I should restart this, I already sound like I'm writing a blog for my alter ego, www.michaeljacobsphoto.com. If you need portrait work, please visit him.
Alright, pay to play art shows, what are your thoughts? I participated in my first one this past month entitled, "The Pancake and Booze" Pop up Art show. It's a travelling art show that goes between major cities in America allowing us artist folk a chance to display and sell our work, for a price. That price is both monetary and sanity. I was told to pay 15 dollars per work I was showcasing. That's not terrible considering I try to price my stuff competitively and its on the larger side of things. This Art show was also being held for one night here in Raleigh at the Lincoln Theater. If you've ever seen a show there, well, it's an old theater. It needs some work. I was told to bring my stuff the day of the show between 2 and 6pm. I got to the venue and there was no sign, nothing. I really had no idea what to do, called the venue, of course, no answer. I travel around back and find all the other sweaty tired artists in line, holding their work while waiting to register. I finally got to the front where a very lovely but completely void of information lady was registering us. Apparently a travelling art show doesn't accept credit cards and she also had no idea where an ATM was located so guess what I had to do? Forfeit my place and line and go for a legend of zelda inspired adventure to find one in downtown raleigh. Not as easy as you would expect. I finally returned after being blown down the street left and right(it was windy don't be dirty). I paid the aloof woman and she told me I could just pick anywhere I wanted that was open to setup shop.
There I was, standing on the precipice of sheet rock being installed by sweaty men who didn't care much about what they were doing. Honestly, they were just building v flat walls very haphazardly and leaving. All the spaces on the ground floor seemed to be taken already so I headed upstairs to the dizzying loft and found two walls to call my own. Made friends with my neighbor Kat and got to work hanging.
I am not very good at hanging stuff. I'm actually pretty terrible, especially when given screws instead of nails and 2 inch sheet rock. I made due with what I had. That's another thing. Pancake and Booze said they would give you all the tools necessary to hang your stuff. Wrong. If "giving you all the tools" meant going to the corner of the ground floor and finding random nails and screws on the floor to push in the wall with your bare fist, then sure! They were great!
It was very warm up there and we were all hot and gross but I saw Kat sitting there and in the awful overhead light she actually looked awesome so I asked if I could snap a picture of her resting.
I seem to have lost her business card but if I find it I will give some plugs. She is a wonderful artist who knows how to fucking schmooze. She had all types of mixed media on her wall which was really groovy. She also really hates Trump, so kudos!
My exhibit/wall was a bit of a cluster of things I had done in previous years. I felt paint was a very good concept to display at this show so I went with some pieces I had previously done with an awesome creative team of makeup artists and models. I also had an idea to make my showcase a little more hands on and enlisted the help of wonderful pal and model, Lyndsie Marie. If you need someone who is effortlessly sweet and professional, consider hiring her for any job you need. Lyndsie displayed the utmost patience and stamina for almost 4 hours. Oh, why was she there? That's right, whoops. So I had an idea to have patrons paint her. There would be live body painting during the show but it was done by trained artists. I wanted regular joe schmoe and joet schmoe to paint her. I found this might get a little inappropriate, especially if alcohol was involved so I made sure that anyone who painted her had her consent first. I didn't realize the men who attended would be the minority in painting her. Ladies loved Lyndsie. More on that later. So I bought some apple crates, some washable paint and some cheap brushes. Here is before everything went down!
Seriously, I can't plug her enough. Work with her. In an industry that is full of flakes and people that don't take things seriously she is a diamond. Here is some of her contact information:
Lyndsie Marie for bookings: Lyndsiemariebookings@gmail.com
The show started and people started coming in. It wasn't well managed. First off, when I returned after hanging my work, nobody checked who I was. Aside from that being unsafe, I could have brought 10 more pieces in and not paid a cent. I did however end up having to pay for Lyndsie as she was considered "work." Ugh 2017 people! Seriously though, artists, exploit this loop hole. I think people should be able to sell as much work as they can fit on their wall so if you decide to do pancake and booze, make sure you bring back up prints.
According to all my wonderful pals who attended the lines outside were terrible. They did not do a good job of organizing who was supposed to be where and what lines were for what door. Apparently you could buy tickets that made you skip the line but those lines were not clearly defined. People started flowing in and what seemed to be the theme of the night started occurring, bottle necking. There was absolutely no space between my wall and the railing. Well, only space for people to walk to the next wall so everyone that stopped at my exhibit ended up causing a traffic jam. It got horrendously crowded. Great for exposure but terrible for engagement really. I don't think Lyndsie moved the entire night from her spot. I know I did not move much. I believe the other artist vendors were excited because they got a lot of the run off from my work. My problem with selling my work is that it's an acquired taste. I also sell large pieces that are pricey. People are going to buy the cute kitten drawing for 10 bucks over my 100 dollar 11x14 of a naked person covered in paint. I'm a terrible seller. I don't know how to do these things. I don't know how to price anything. I do it to the best of my ability and factor in how much work it went into shooting, whether I used a creative team and how much retouching I had to do. I guess I just need to make smaller, more affordable prints. Ah, well, you live you learn Alanis.
I was so incredibly happy that almost everyone I know in North Carolina came by to see me. I mean, also the rest of the work at the art show but, friends, coworkers, loves and people I've shot all showed up. That's always the best feeling ever. It's like my birthday. I just get to see everyone that rocks so I am very thankful they took the time. Like I said, it was a really hard place to converse. It was just so crowded but even the 5 minutes of interaction was sweet. I'm starting to feel a bit ranty so I will just show some images from the night, mainly of Lyndsie being painted and then leave you with some final words.
A little note that has nothing to do with anything. I brought my 20-35mm L along to shoot some pictures. First thank trader joe's because anything shorter I would not have been able to capture a thing but secondly, ugh, this lens is showing its age. Holy flare not controlled batman. I really need to invest in something wide that is a little newer. This was canon's first wide angle zoom of the eos era. We are talking a lens built in 1994. A lot has changed and it shows on my full frame sensor. Holy distortion too.
So was all this work worth it? For this show, probably not. It was a lot of work, time and money. Like they say though, if you don't put yourself out there, you'll never be out there. At least people saw my stuff, took my card and looked interested. It's always interesting how people perceive your work. Sometimes I am so aloof as to what people think. I can only smile nervously and say thank you so much. But I did it. That's what matters right? I'm sure there will be other shows in the future that will be similar. If you don't try, nothing happens. If you do try, maybe still, nothing will happen but that little chance makes all the difference, yes?