Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Juried Art Shows

 This is the season for many artists who make their living by showing at fine art shows to begin their prep for fall submissions . Many are making new work and getting ready to submit images to shows or the online site ZAPPlication. 

ZAPPlication is an online jury site which shows use to streamline their application process.  As an artist you can submit to tons of shows with the click of a mouse.

 But what I want to talk about is preparing your work and submitting images and booth shots to Art Shows.
First the difference between a Craft show and an Art show is huge.
Craft shows are great and I have done a few. If you prepare and work smart you can make money. Some craft shows will want to see images of your work before you are accepted. You can use mass produced items such as toggles, ear wires, czech glass beads, etc along with your own work (ie lampwork beads, polymer clay etc.)

In a Fine Art Show ALL materials have to be handmade. One year I worked on having great slides and submitted this image to the show. Nice image right...not so. I found out the mass produced earwires and dangles sealed my doom. A friend who had sat in on how shows jury work, told me of my mistake. Now I make all my own earwires and no dangles unless handmade! 
I also learned that having the white background may not have been a good idea. A more professional image like the one below is what
to strive for. It is crisp, clean and striking.  Many times I will use props for photographing my work for Etsy a website or postcards. While it will look good, don't do it for jury submissions into Art shows. The slide can be too busy if you use  stone or wood as a background instead use classic gradient or spot sweep.  
 This is a slide of my work that finally got 
me accepted into some shows! It took a long
time, but I hired a professional photographer to shoot my work and it made a world of difference. I think now I might try it myself since I have a nice camera and photo setup but at the time I had a cheap camera and no set-up.

Next big lesson I learned, don't use sheets as a table cover. Yep I did it (how embarrassing). I had some other artists tell me next time to invest in fitted coverings and to make sure things looked sleek and clean. Your booth should reflect your work. Many times you will be asked to submit a booth shot. Make sure the image is as good. Many times a booth shot will be the deciding factor in choosing between two artist.
This booth is really nice. Notice the clean lines and the photos of the artist work. I covet this booth!

Next if you want to enter an Art Show go to their website and look at past artist images. Be honest with your self and see if you feel your work is just as good. Make sure your images are equal to those on the website. I have been rejected so many times I considered giving up, but finally started getting some acceptance. You will get rejected but you will also get accepted!

I would like to open this up for discussion and if you have any questions I would love to help out. I am sure my fellow contributors have suggestions and have written on this subject too. So ask away!


Artisan Beads Plus said...

Thanks for your insight. I do not do shows unless I tag along with my husband. I've noticed many "no-no's" like you have mentioned when visiting booths. I think it is important to make your booth easy on the eyes so that your work stands out. Too busy is a turn off for me :o)
PS I'm going to share this on Facebook.

stacilouise said...

Table cloths can make or break a booth! Fitted ones make a world of difference.

I am VERY set on a quick and easy set up and tear down, and making it wind proof. I have done too many shows where the wind was wicked and I felt like a Captain manning a ship in a storm. Think it through, good planning will help you to be able to relax and focus on your customers.

mairedodd said...

this is a terrific post and i thank you for talking about the submission/photography aspect... it is so critical... and yours are beautifully done... yes, that booth is pretty great... very inviting...

Libby Leuchtman said...

Ohh and I forgot. I like to raise my table with PVC pipes or bed risers. People don't like to bend over a table that is low. View it as a Gallery. In a gallery all jewelry is in cases that are higher so the customer can see it better.

Stacie Florer said...

Great post and wonderful photos! And the risers do help a lot!

Izzy said...

Wonderful information Libby. I've done neither type of show, but should I decide one day to go for it your tips are a must.

Julie Holmes said...

Great post Libby! I have only done one show and the biggest mistake was being so flattered to be invited that I failed to realize the show was for beaders and a poor fit for my work. I spent $2000 for the booth and sold one item (my worst piece) on the last day for $125.00. An expensive lesson! Another enamelist who sold components that were torch fired made back her costs on day one.

Kelli said...

GREAT post!!!!! Can you tell me more about your photos? I've started applying to Zapplication, and I'm SURE my photos aren't "professional" enough. What background? camera setting?
etc. THANKS!!!

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