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The Learning Curve - My First Art Fair!

12 June 2020

I wanna start by saying a big thank you to the organisers for this event. It was an absolutely spectacular event and I was so grateful to be a part of it. It was so lovely to be able to be a part of the new event, plus meeting so many fantastic artists! As it was my first art fair there were some great learning opportunities for me, which I am going to go through here but I also want to shout out to the other artists who were showing at the event*.

So, Brendan and I started the day early and were one of the first to arrive at the Sub Rooms square. We had spent the day before preparing everything and we had a clear plan for setting up. It being my first fair I had put a lot of prep work in as early as possible, plus having Brendan to bounce thoughts and ideas off meant that we had a plan for everything. I had the stock, and the paintings, but the biggest thing we had to think about: the weather! I had been watching the forecast for a few days, had a gazebo available as a backup and even though it was bright sunshine we had an "if it rains" plan. Being from a watersports background I had also planned for wind, I wanted to keep everything as low to the table as possible, or angled or weighted so that they couldn't get picked up by any wind. I think the weather is the biggest challenge for any outdoor event, especially as it is not just about keeping your work protected but also yourself. It was very exhausting being in the heat all day but we managed ok.

Due to budgeting, it can be really tricky to have lots of stock, I periodically restock my smaller items so I had a good range for the stall but I wasn't able to have any of the limited edition prints. I had tried to build an "order system" and had a copy of one print as a display item but most of the conversations we were having around the prints were the quality and sizes available. The flyer packs that I had made did prove very useful and I did see an uptick of website hits over the day and following days. The biggest success of the day is finding out what catches people's eye; "colourful" was said a lot during the day, and especially when the sun came out the stall was very eye-catching. Plus I was able to do subtle market research, listening to people talk about the work and the questions that were being asked.

One of the biggest lessons for me, that I had already suspected might have been a good idea. I should have had a poster with my name and website on, as well as a short marketing statement including the phrase "handpainted". I often get asked if I work digitally, or screen print. However, because I love the textural nature of paint I continue to work in acrylic medium on canvas.

So for the fun bit, Artist Feature:

*If you are one of the artists and I haven't got a link to your page please contact me and I will correct this immediately!

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