I'd been thinking for a while about trying to sell my photos at an art show, art walk, art fair, whatever you want to call it. I'd done a little research, but never taken the leap. Back in July I saw a notification on FB for a new monthly art walk that was going to start in August. This Art walk will be the second Thursday of every month from 5-9pm. What caught my eye was that it would be in a little strip of shops in a historic area of town that we love. There are cute little shops, and some of the best Restaurants in the city.
When I first moved to Jacksonville back in 2005, I found a little one bedroom apartment just two blocks from The Shoppes of Avondale. I was patronizing these restaurants at least weekly, sometimes daily. They are located in a great area of town. Our house in Murray Hill is about a mile away, so this art walk seemed like the perfect opportunity to get my feet wet.
I started doing some research to learn what I might need to make this happen. Who knew it could be so complicated?
First I needed a tent. I chose to go with a relatively cheap, but sturdy EZ-up variety from a big box membership club. It had great reviews and came with the walls (some require you to order them separately). Reading blogs about art fairs I learned that this type of canopy is pretty common.
Next I needed a way to display my work. I found several options, but most of them were prohibitively expensive for a first time show, considering I wan't yet sure I would like doing it, and not sure I would ever want to repeat the experience. I found a company that makes mesh fabric walls that could be attached to the EZ-up. I also found that these mesh walls have great reviews and can be re-sold for what I paid for them. It seemed like a "can't lose" situation, so I ordered them.
Next I had to figure out how to display my work in a way that protected the images. I'd been to shows before and knew that it was common to sell prints in clear plastic bags. I'd noticed that the prints were usually in the bag with a piece of backing board to keep them straight. I found a company called "Clear Bags" that sells them including the backing board and pre-cut mats. They sell the items separately or as a kit. I was amazed, so I ordered them.
At the beginning of the year I had decided I wanted to be known as a Print Photographer, so I purchased a Canon Pixma Pro-1 printer and began making my own prints. I knew I'd need a sizable inventory for the art walk, so i ordered additional supplies and began making prints.
I took a few days to go through my considerable library of images and create a list of those I thought might sell. Then I started printing.
I then realized I needed a way to display the prints that weren't framed. I also read that it would be a good idea to have lights and a power source since there was no guarantee of electrical access.
I already had a selection of large prints I'd had gallery mounted by Michael's, so I knew I had product I could hang on the mesh walls, but I read on a couple of blogs that having all large format prints is not a good idea, so I decided to mat and frame some smaller images myself. I invested in a variety of frames that I thought might appeal to a lot of people and tastes.
When It was all said and done, I'd invested a lot of hours and money preparing for the art walk, but I told myself, I was investing in future shows as well, because whatever inventory didn't sell at this first one, might sell at future shows.
The day of the event was hectic. There were a lot of last minute details I had to finish. I also had to figure out how I was going to get everything to the location.
Luckily I was able to rely on Ashley for help. In the end the event was great. I sold one large piece, one medium sized piece, and quite a few prints. I had a lot of traffic and a lot of great positive comments. I would say it was a success and I am already planning for the next one.
As an artist, I always doubt myself and see the flaws in my work, so it was great to have so many people loving it. It definitely made me feel better about the choices I've made.
It was a lot of work and I'm not sure I've ever been so soaking wet from sweat. Florida humidity in August may be the worst. It was worth the effort though. I met a lot of interesting and friendly people and made some contacts that will hopefully lead to more work.
If you are interested in viewing some of my work and possibly ordering prints, visit my gallery. https://shanealanartimages.pixieset.com/artimages/
If you are local, come find me on the second Thursday of the month among The Shoppes of Avondale in Jacksonville. You might see something you like and need for your home or office.
Until next time. Thanks!
"Each morning we are born again. What we do today is what matters most."