Sunday, August 13, 2006
Wood Farm Evinston Florida
oil on canvas
Advice for Outdoor Festival Artists
I started fresh out of art school as a festival artist and did them for 20 years before moving into galleries and museum shows. Now I judge several Florida festivals and art center shows each year.
Here are a few tips that might help you if you are starting the same way.
Be sure to frame up a nice little brief statement about your work and information for purchasing the paintings. If you have a studio space where folks can come to see you and your work, be sure to post that information and studio hours in the framed bio. You want to make it as easy and comfortable as possible for people to find you.
Your business cards should be professionally made and of good quality. Remember that your business card may be the only impression you get to make on a potential patron. Handing out a wimpy home computer card does not instill confidence in a patron that you are in business for the long term.
If you do not have a credit card set up, open a paypal account as a merchant so that you can accept CC online. That's what I did. You can have people who need to use plastic go to their computers and pay instantly with pay pal. Offer to hold the painting overnight for them and then offer to deliver locally if they can't come back.
Have some nice post cards or brochures in the booth to hand out only to people who actually engage you in conversation. Give business cards to everyone else. Make sure the post card has a % off coupon on it, so they will look you up later and use it. If you have a mailing list card with postcard stamps on them you can hand those out to anyone who really seems interested but hasn't the time to sign your mailing list book in the booth. They can just drop it in the mail for you.
Your mailing list is the most important selling tool you have. Get as many emails as possible. Set up your mailing list form with name/address/email so they will know to give it to you. Don't ask for phone numbers. That puts people off.
Send a hand written thank you card to everyone who buys a painting. I have done that for years and years and people love it.
Put your most important painting in the back of the booth front and center, so it is the first thing people see. It should be well framed and important!!
Don't crowd too many things into the booth. Better to have some extras to show people if they show real interest. Your booth should look simple and uncluttered, like gallery walls. Use consistent framing, avoiding a mishmash of styles and colors or mats. Show a thematic body of work. Try to avoid multiple genre's.
Make sure you put a % off coupon with all paintings you sell. It will give them incentive to become collectors. Most of my patrons own several paintings.
There are several publications and magazines which focus on art festivals, including equipment and marketing techniques. Do some reasearch by attending a few festivals, checking out booths and talk with artists. Most of them will be kind and helpful, but don't approach them when they are with customers, and don't monopolize their time.