Sunday, 6 September 2009

There is another way

I've been searching for some time, for something that I think will make me very happy.

And, as is the case, when you start searching, you start finding.

Maybe not the thing you thought you were looking for, but something else, something even more beautifully life enhancing.......

and the answers came from the North........

Sheffield, to be exact! In that delightful county of Yorkshire. At the "Art in the Gardens" Event that they hold there annually. I had never heard of it until 10 days ago, but it sounded like something I needed to see and participate in. So I went. And liked what I saw, very much. Its an Arts and Crafts fair held at the Botanical Gardens, with various little stalls and tents dotted around the gardens and amongst the trees, selling art, ceramics, cards, wood carvings, glassware, clothing, knick-knacks and all things creative. So, a lovely day out in itself. But I was there for a particular reason. I was there to see the "Premier Artists" who were exhibiting there. Because I knew a few of them, as we'd met before at other art events. And they, like me, are professional artists, who need to make a living selling art. I greeted each of them at their tent, admired their work, and had a chat about how the event was going for them, how they liked the venue, and listened to the good and positive feedback I got.............

But there was one conversation that was more positive and helpful above all others. And that was with the lovely Helen Parsley - who I met for the first time in June at Patchings (an Art Fair in Nottinghamshire). It is rare for me to be bowled over with another artists work. I see a lot of art, and can admire it, like it and even respect its technical ability to a large extent. But I was totally bowled over with her art. Because she paints atmosphere in her landscapes and I can totally relate to that. So, I was delighted that she was at the Art in the Gardens event and went over to say hello again. She and I are both friendly and chatty, so the conversation flowed, and I told her that the reason I was there was to suss out the venue as a possibility for me to exhibit there, because I've always struggled to find a gallery that will take my artwork. And then she said the magic words: Yes, me too, I don't want to give 50% of my sales to a gallery, I'd far rather do these events, they're harder work, but you meet the buyers direct, and get all the sales proceeds for yourself. So I asked her how many events she did, and there were a large number throughout the year, and she very kindly told me which they were scattered up and down the country. It was SO refreshing to hear another successful artist say what I've felt for some time. That galleries are not the whole answer to selling art. They may be useful, but they are not the definitive answer.

And looking at Helens tent, I could see the little touches that make all the difference to selling. I could see why she was so popular. And I've made mental notes, to do the same when I next do an Art Fair. Because I think that's the way forward for me..............

8 comments:

Indigo said...

Good, I'm so glad that you had an eventful day out Jackie. You've struggled with trying to get galleries to acknowledge you as an artist, and yes why should the galleries steel 50% of your hard earned money. Well done, I bet you're brimming with enthusiasm now?

Jackie Adshead said...

Indigo - Thankyou, yes I did! and yes I am full of enthusiasm now!!! :)

nitebyrd said...

Some of the best artwork I've ever seen has not been in galleries but at outdoor events. I feel more in touch with the artist who's out there talking, laughing and interacting with their customers. It's more casual.

I'm really glad you're considering doing shows like this. I'm sad I can't come to see!

Jackie Adshead said...

Nitebyrd - Yes, I think art fairs are a lot better for the artist and visitors to talk and interact more - and people can find out more of the process of producing the artwork from the artist direct. Plus, its a lot more casual, I agree.

Aw, thats a pity you can't come and see - I'll have to take photos when I do one so you can see it on my blog instead.

Fitzy said...

It certainly seems as though that turned out to be a very positive event for you and best of all you were able to get some great advice that will hopefully make a big difference for you.

Not least allowing you to keep 50% of any sales!!!

I guess the other benefit of meeting your potential customers is that even if they didn't like anything enough that was on show to purchase, you can at least make them aware that you will paint commissions and gain work that way as well.

Do you now know where these events are and would be able and willing to attend them all/most?

Jackie Adshead said...

Fitzy - Yesm it was a very useful meeting, and I agree that being able to communicate directly with anyone who wants to buy my art is the best way, so that they are aware of what I can do for them regarding artwork.

Yes, I know where the events are, and would be willing to attend most of them.

Fitzy said...

Well fingers crossed these events prove to be what you are looking for.

Jackie Adshead said...

Fitzy - thankyou.