Selling My Art

This past weekend was the Las Cruces Art Fair hosted by the Dona Ana Arts Council. It has many local artists as well as ones who travel from afar to take part. Most of these artists are high end artists with a lot of experience and sell work for a high price. With thanks to the support of NMSU and our Art Department I was able to participate with a group of other artists who were interested in selling their work. Here is what I learned, what I plan on improving on and what I'll avoid in the future.

 

Before I get to that I want to include a set of words I read from another artist about why you should buy handmade art. ‘When you buy from an independent artist you are buying more than just a painting, or a novel, or a song. [...] You are not just buying a thing. You are buying a piece of a heart, part of a soul, a private moment in someone's life.’ I saw this and asked to borrow it for my website and for this article. Turns out they had done the same years ago. These words stuck with me and I will carry them, I hope you do too. 

 

What I learned:

Do not expect to sell all of your work, or even half of it. People do not buy artwork at craft shows, it is often more expensive and people will look, make a positive comment then awkwardly move on hoping you didn’t notice their disinterest and vague dishonesty. 

Do not let someone, or multiple peoples disinterest, discourage you from doing your work. Do your art anyway. Think about your reason for doing art and use that to drive you, not for another person's enjoyment, but for yourself.

Invest the least amount possible while keeping the quality good. 

Stay Positive and Friendly

Network with customers and neighboring artists. 

Have a business card to give out and give one to people every time they buy something.

 

What I can improve on:

I struggled with networking. It was hard to talk to potential customers when they entered the booth. Many people did not want to converse or learn about the art, they were much more interested in browsing. Learning how to strike up a conversation with people like this will take practice. I also need practice in talking to other artists and networking. 

The quality of my work and how much time and money I am willing to invest. To say the very least, I spent too much time and money worrying about this show. In the future I will have to learn to spend less money and hopefully figure out what works actually well. That way I can spend the money there to make a sale and spend less on the stuff that will end up on my social media. I need to lower my cost and increase the quality.

Presentation. To say the least, the presentation we had as a group was a little sad. It worked but was ghetto. The way things were presented made it obvious that we were students and made us look like we didn't care. 

Advertising, the show was not advertised and I did not do any advertising myself for the show. In the future I will be doing work to let my friends and family know about such events.

 

What I Should Avoid in the Future:

Investing large amounts. I made hardly any money.

Relying on other people to make sure things go smoothly. Our setup showed how much care and respect went into the group effort. It was not good and in the future I plan on doing a better job at showing how much I care. 

Doing craft shows in the first place, they are expensive and people don’t buy from them anymore. Doing my own shows and selling online is much more effective in today's society.

 

To say the least, I am working hard on my degree and my passions. The show was a good experience and something I needed to learn from. I am glad I participated. I thank the universities Art Department and Tauna Cole-Dorn for helping students put this on.