Pros and Cons to Selling At Art Fairs

Is An Art Fair Worth Doing? Pros and Cons to Selling Your At Art Fairs

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Many artists look to sell their art by participating in an Art Fair or Art Show. Many of these same artists may be the primary method they use to sell their art.

The Art Fair model of selling art has been around for a long time. But with any method of selling your art, there are pros and cons if you choose to use the Art Fair as your main way to sell your art. Before you sell at Art Fair, you should remember a few things about selling there and a few things to understand about Art Fairs.

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The Art Fair Model of Selling Art

Art Fairs have long been the norm for selling art. The art fair will draw together galleries, collectors, and artists into one place for a few days each year. This model has worked well for many as they can see a lot of art in one place over a few days.

Some art fairs are curated in that the artist has to be approved before they can even get in to show at the fair. Others are not curated, and anyone who pays for a booth can show there.

Many Art Fairs are popular as they allow artists to bypass the galleries and sell directly to the collectors or customers. This would give the artist more money in their pockets through their sales.

But an Art Fair can also be a lot of work as the artist may need to travel to the fair and then set up and operate their booth. Some local art fairs allow local artists to get an excellent local following.

Here are the Pros of Selling Your Art At An Art Fair

For many years, Art Fairs have been a prevalent method for selling art. There are many reasons for this, but here are some of the Pros we have listed as to why an Art Fair can be a good choice for selling your art.

Selling Your Art In Art-fairs

You Meet Your Art Customer Face-to-Face

One of the most important things you can gain from an art show is that you will meet your customers face-to-face and get to know them and know a bit about you. This is one of the biggest advantages for you to decide to sell at an Art Fair.

People Come to Shop for Art

Many people come to Art Fairs ready to shop and to buy something. They are there as they want to see the art and they are ready to buy some art.

Can Meet Art Collectors

Many Art Fairs, especially the larger ones, will probably have many art collectors attending the show. If they like your art and they feel like your art is worth buying and collecting, these art collectors could end up being some perfect long-term customers.

Meet Industry Art Contacts

People who are in the industry may also be at the shows. There could be suppliers that can help you get a better deal on something or even people looking for artists who can license their work.

You Can Learn From The Shoppers

An Art Fair also allows you to see the shoppers’ reaction. You can find out what most people tend to like or do not like. This can help you know what you have done that is successful and what you should do more of, and what maybe did not work as well as you thought it would.

Dedicated Time To Sell Your Art

The Art Fair is a dedicated time to sell your art. There are artists, and that is all they do is show and sell at art fairs so they can spend the rest of their time working on new art pieces.

You Can Build Up the Following

Even if people do not buy from you, if they like your art, you can use the time also to try to collect some names, emails, and other contacts so that you can market to them in the future. The art shows can help you build up a following and let others know about you and your artwork.

Meet Other Fellow Artists

At many of the fairs, many artists are friends and may even help you by recommending who to sell, etc., especially if they see that your art is not the same as theirs or there is no direct competition. So at an art show, you can meet other fellow artists and get involved in a community of artists.

Tips for selling your artwork
Tips for selling your artwork

Here are some of the Cons of Selling At An Art Fair

Besides the Pros, there are also a lot of cons about selling your art at an art fair. Here are some of the cons.

A lot of Hard Work

Setting up for an art show will be a lot of hard work and hard physical labor. Chances are you cannot set up the booth by yourself, so you either have to hire someone to help you or bring someone with you who can help you.

Can Be Expensive

Many of the Art Fairs can be expensive, not only in the booth’s cost but the cost to get your items set up and at the fair itself. If you need to travel far to the fair, you will have additional travel, hotel, and other expenses. All of this can add up.

If these miscellaneous costs are high, it may mean that you need to sell a lot of art even to break even. Setting up a booth and doing all the hard work means you will sell a lot of art.

Outside Things Can Affect Sales

There are many things which can affect your sales at the art show. Here are some things that you have no control over that can affect your sales:

  • Attendance – If the show’s attendance is low, for whatever reason, it may affect your overall sales.
  • Weather – If the show is outside or even if it is inside, the weather can affect the show from a terrible rainstorm coming to a hurricane or tornado.
  • Location – Your actual location at the show itself can affect your sales. If you are in an area that most people do not go to, that will really affect your overall sales.
  • Pandemic – Years ago, this would not have even been a reason, but it is in today’s world. If a pandemic or something as a pandemic happens, it can really affect any show’s overall attendance.
  • Attendees – If the show is not really an art show but a show where people come out to look around and buy some food and bring their kids out for an afternoon, it may be that you sell very little. So before you sign up for a show, you should first understand a bit about the show.

Can Be Long, Hard Days

Selling at any fair is never easy. Normally they are very long, hard days. You need to be there early in the morning until later at night. But despite the long, hard days, it can be a time you set aside to sell and make contacts, so it is all worth the long days.

Can Be Hidden Costs You Do Not See

There will always be hidden costs to showing at an art show that you do not see. You could spend money on framing your paintings only to find out that people do not want them to be framed, or you have to frame them again in a new frame to sell them.

It could be miscellaneous costs that you did not think about as transportation, meals, hotels, etc. There will usually be hidden costs that you might not quite budget for.

Internet Sales

The internet is changing the world, and this includes the world of art. People could only sell through Art Fairs, Galleries, or friends. Now, they can set up a website or put their art on a website to sell it.

This also means that people going to the Art Fairs may go to look around and then go home to decide what they are going to buy, and then buy it online. It does not mean you will come out of the Art Fair with a lot of cash, but instead, you come out with many potential customers that you need to do additional work to turn into actual sales.

Visit Before You Sell There

I believe that before you go through the Art Fair’s expense, you should go there before you plan to sell there. You can find out a lot about a Fair by walking about the show.

Here are a few things you should find out before showing at an art show:

  • Number of Attendees – If you attend the show, you can judge firsthand the number of people attending. Also, you can see if people are walking out with art or empty-handed.
  • Understand Layout – You will understand the show’s layout and understand a bit more about what area or section you want to be in.
  • Talk to Other Vendors – You can talk to other vendors to determine how the show is for them.
  • See Kind of Work Displayed – You can get an idea of the kind of work displayed and what seems to be selling.

As in most cases, I put this under a con: going to visit the art show before your show there will take money and time. But we believe this is an important step to help ensure your selling at an art show is successful.

Many artists will use the Art Fair method as their main way to sell their art. This selling art method has been around for a long time and will probably stay around for a while longer.

Anita Louise Art is dedicated to art education, great artists, and inspiring others to find and create their art. We love art that uplifts and inspires. #ArtToMakeYouSmile! #ArtToMakeYouHappy!

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Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I consider participating in an Art Fair to sell my art?

Art Fairs provide a unique platform for artists to showcase and sell their work to a diverse audience, allowing for direct interaction and potential sales.

What are the potential benefits of selling art at an Art Fair?

Pros include exposure to a wide audience, networking opportunities, immediate feedback, and the chance to connect with art enthusiasts and collectors.

Are there specific types of art that perform better at Art Fairs?

While all art forms have potential, smaller, more affordable pieces often sell well at Art Fairs due to impulse buying and a broader customer base.

What are some challenges artists may face when participating in Art Fairs?

Cons may involve high participation costs, unpredictable sales, and competition with numerous other artists, making it crucial to carefully assess the potential return on investment.

How do I choose the right Art Fair for my art?

Consider factors such as the event’s reputation, target audience, fees, location, and the overall atmosphere to ensure alignment with your artistic goals.

Are there additional expenses artists should be aware of when participating in an Art Fair?

Yes, artists may incur costs such as booth fees, travel expenses, display materials, and insurance, so it’s important to budget accordingly.

What role does networking play in the success of selling art at an Art Fair?

Networking is crucial as it can lead to future opportunities, collaborations, and repeat customers. Building relationships within the art community is a significant advantage.

Can participating in Art Fairs enhance an artist’s online presence?

Yes, successful participation in Art Fairs can generate publicity and social media exposure, potentially increasing an artist’s online visibility and sales.

How do artists handle the pressure of creating a visually appealing and cohesive booth at an Art Fair?

Artists often invest time and resources in booth design, ensuring it reflects their artistic style and attracts the attention of passersby. Planning and creativity are essential.

Is it advisable for emerging artists to prioritize Art Fairs over other selling channels?

While Art Fairs can be beneficial, emerging artists should consider diversifying their selling channels to reach a broader audience, including online platforms and galleries. Finding the right balance is key.

When selling your art to an art gallery, you need to consider many pros and cons. One of the major pros is that the gallery usually helps you to market your artwork. A major con is that you usually lose control over who buys your artwork and even at what cost. An artist needs to weigh out if selling through an art gallery is what they want to consider to sell their artwork.

You can discover more by reading our blog on Pros and Cons Of Selling Your Artwork To An Art Gallery by clicking here.

Does An Artist Need a Brand Tagline?

A tagline is a short yet memorable phrase that you can use throughout all your art marketing. All artists should have a tagline as a part of their art marketing campaign. The tagline should show your personality, be genuine, consider your customer’s needs and problems, and be something memorable.

You can find out more why an artist needs a brand tagline by reading our blog on Brand Your Art, Why Every Artist Needs A Brand Tagline by clicking here.

Anita Louise Hummel
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