Wednesday, May 24, 2017

East Lansing Art Festival

East Lansing Art Festival was my first out of state show this season - on May 20, 21, 2017. I was invited back to this show as an award winner from last year. I decided to go back to this show in spite of the really traumatic experience of having a bunch of my paintings stolen last year. I was overwhelmed by the support of the community, the sheer number of people who reached out to me, shared the stolen pieces on social media, the efforts of the ELPD to recover them and the art fest. I was really hoping for a more positive experience this year. 

I had sent out 20 postcards to collectors & fans from last year to promote the show. I was also a featured artist on their social media & one of my pieces was shown on a TV ad airing in the area. I was excited to show off my new style of mandala paintings & I was also bringing another large elephant piece! I have a new line of florals I started creating in 2017 I was excited about showing in East Lansing.

We got there around 7 pm on Friday night for set-up. I had paid for a corner booth, way back in January. But on arriving we found that we did not have a corner as planned. It was very disappointing as I had brought inventory & planned for the lay out of my booth based on having a corner. Similar to Elmhurst, we were able to set up only the tent on Friday. We didn't want to leave any inventory in the booth overnight. We stayed in a nearby airbnb for the weekend and it was ok. 

The weather was also iffy this weekend with a little bit of rain on both days. However people came out and bought! My biggest sellers were the prints on Michigan state & the Spartans logo. I also sold quite a bit of the Block M prints :) I was thrilled to see so many people remembering us from last year & more than 5 people who signed up for my email list were already on it! 

There was an awards session along with dinner on Saturday evening. We were so exhausted from the drive, set-up & long day in the wind & rain that we went to bed at 8.30 and slept for a solid 10 hours. The take-down on Sunday went by quick & the load out was easy. I was also able to drive the van to my booth on Saturday & Sunday mornings to hang the paintings. 

We only sold a single original small 6"x6" painting, while we were closing up on Sunday. It was a little disappointing to not sell any originals, but at least we sold enough small items to make it a decent show. 

The director was apologetic about messing my corner location & I am not sure if having a corner would have made any difference in sales. We were home by 10pm on Sunday and though I wish we had done better, I don't have any complaints. Only regret was not being able to purchase an art piece from another artist that I liked - hopefully I will see them in another show where I make enough sales so I can choose to buy art too!

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Elmhurst Art in Wilder Park

Elmhurst Art in Wilder Park, on May 6, 7 was my first outdoor show of the season for 2017! This is the third year I am doing the show & it is always an exciting one as we get to see so many of our artist friends after the winter break. This year we had the added bonus of having Miranda ( & Stephen stay with us for the show. 

Our plan was to do the set-up for the show on Friday evening, we got to the venue around 5.30pm. Finding parking was not an issue, but my booth location had moved from the previous years due to rain & the ground being soggy in some places. We had to move the van again to get to a closer parking and dolly everything to our booth.

It's amazing how rusty we had gotten over the winter & it took forever, with a slew of amateur mistakes before we could set up the booth. Luckily we hadn't forgotten any part for the set-up like last year. It was also super-cold. Weather is always iffy at this show, given it is very early in the season. This year I had to pack all my winter gear including hand warmers for the show. We only managed to put the booth up & decided to hang the paintings the next morning. Just the tent & walls took more than 2.5 hours to get done!

We got there early around 8.30 on Saturday morning to finish the booth. I love having a corner booth at this show and it allows me to have more of my work out. Saturday was painfully slow and I had only 7 sales, not even making what I paid for the booth fee in sales. I had even run a facebook ad for the past 4 days promoting the show & my works. Shankar had taken back the front wall to close the booth home by mistake, so, I had to make an extra trip home before we could close up for the day. The highlight of the day was going to a nice Indian restaurant for dinner with friends & family!

Sales on Sunday was even worse than Saturday. The sun started coming out later in the day, though the temperature did not rise. Highlight of the day was quite a few friends stopping by & it was also nice to see a few of my collectors from the years before.

I didn't sell any original paintings & the sales of prints hardly made up for my expenses. A few other artist friends did not even make what I did. This show is the closest in distance & time to where we live. The location is great & so is the promoter. Unfortunately this is the second year I am not making any money doing this show & we have to seriously think about it for next year. I had such a great show the first year I was here and the weather is the biggest factor in determining the crowd & sales. Hoping the upcoming shows make up for this one!