I am continuously amazed sometimes at how artists handle themselves at an art show. I did a show this weekend at a gallery with several other artists. I had a great turn out and even sold a piece and received a commission. I also met so many amazing people!
I did make some observations of things that some of the other artists were doing that I thought I would share because I think you can learn from them. I guess I should explain that the gallery lets the artists be in charge of their own information regarding their work.
I think of an art show like a job interview. You are putting yourself up for judgement. People are looking at your work and they are looking at you. Put your best foot forward.
1) Dress the part. Patrons want to talk to you because you are the artist. I once got another artist an art show in a corporate environment. He showed up in a tank top, stained shorts, and a pair of tennis shoes. I watched all day as potential customers discredited him as not being professional. He wasn’t taken seriously at all. Know where you are hanging. I’m not saying you have to put on a power suit. In fact, for my open studio I wear my paint clothes. Be approachable.
2) Be prepared. I went to my art show early to make sure everything was in order. I had an artist bio printed, business cards to set up, and a notebook for collecting emails. I had time to walk around and look at the other artists work. I was hoping to meet some of the other artists. Almost none of the other artists had titles or their names on their artwork. Interestingly enough, all of them had prices.
3) Show up on time. I can’t even express this enough. You wouldn’t show up for a job interview late, don’t show up for your own art show late. I was asked repeatedly about work of three other artists. This was because there was no information about their work and the artist was no where to be found. I couldn’t even tell them who the artist was. This was still going on an hour after the show had started. The artists still hadn’t shown up! I can only imagine how many potential sells were missed because they didn’t even show up for their own show on time.
If you do nothing else, do these three things. Think of your art show like a job interview, unless you have no intention of wanting to talk about, sell, or market your work. In that case, don’t even bother showing because you’re just making yourself look like you don’t care.