When learning how to sell your art, one of the most rewarding things you can do as an artist to help sell your work and establish yourself as an artist is to participate in an Art Festival, whether local or afar. You get to meet wonderful people, allow others to experience your art and possibly connect with others who can help get your work in other venues.
However, to be able to turn the art festival into a successful opportunity there are some tips you should consider when selling your art. Allow me to indulge you for a moment with some of these tips that artists should not do at an art festival.
1. Never sit behind your tent and read a book with potential buyers walking-in and out of your booth.
When people see you in the back of your booth sitting and reading a book or newspaper they may get the feeling you don't want to be bothered. Get-up and get in front of your booth and let the people get to know you and get a feel of who you are. Most people will not come behind your booth to talk to you. Also you can not sell to people sitting down in the back of your booth. Like I said in other articles and posts your booth is like a store. You want to be up front where customers see you and you can talk to them and work your way into a sell.
2. Please don't eat in your tent or in front of your guests.
How would you like it if you went into a department store and needed help but the sales clerk was too busy stuffing their face? Well that's what you look like when people come into your booth when you are too busy eating. People are not going to interrupt you as much to ask you a question about your art if they come in your booth and see you eating. You could be losing sells. If you will have to eat at the festival go off away from your booth so your eating won't be a distraction to your customers.
3. Don't have all your buddies and families members hanging out in your booth.
Have you ever walked in a store and the owner had their family members or friends all huddle up talking and laughing. How did it make you feel when you went into the store? Uneasy I bet. Well that's how people feel if they come inside your booth and all your buddies are hanging out in your tent talking and not really contributing to your business. Some people may not even come in to look at your work if they see a bunch of people just hanging out doing nothing in your booth.
They will come in if they see a line of people with money in hand ready to purchase your work. So please tell your friends not to come and hang at your booth.
4. Not having artwork that focuses on one theme or niche.
One of the best ways to be seen as a professional artist is to have artwork created around one theme or niche using the same techniques or process. It could be that you have sculptures on birds, photographs of women, paintings of rural landscapes and so on. The point is that you want your work to be consistent with each other.
You don't need to have a painting of a bird, a painting of jazz musician and or photograph of a landscape all in one booth. It looks as if you haven't found your voice as an artist. And if you haven't you may want to decide which direction you want to take with your art and stick with it.
My advice to you is to find something that you like to create and something that will sell very well within your geographical area. I paint images of musicians playing jazz music with a palette knife on wood and canvas. When I first started out, I painted a little of everything, landscapes, still life and abstraction and I would have all of them in one booth. I found out that this was not the route you should take if you want to be successful as an artist. Today people come-up to me and say "Hey you're the guy who paints those musicians, I love your work". They have identified me and my specialty. I want to make sure people are able to do the same when they see your artwork or see your name.
5. Not having any business cards, artist statements or credit card swipe machine; not having one of these is Art Festival suicide.
First, there are several people who will like your work when they first see it but will not be able to purchase it at that time and if you don't have a way for people to contact you have just missed out on some money, plain and simple. Secondly, having an artist statement helps people learn about you and your work and if you don't have other things other than your artwork to promote you, you are in for it. Having an artist statement is like your company's mission statement.
Lastly, credit card processor, everyone that enters you booth will not have cash or a check and by having a credit card machine you can give your customer a chance to purchase your work. You don't want to miss out on sells especially just because you don't take credit cards.
There are easy ways to get credit card processors, just look online for the best deals. You don't have to have the fancy electronic ones. If you are just starting out you can get the manual ones where they slide back and forth.
Art Festivals can be a lot of work yet fun. With these tips mentioned above you can definitely help increase your sells and make your experience of selling art wonderful instead of a drain.
So be positive and focus on being a great artist and a great businessman or businesswoman that you truly are.