Late last month, I had the opportunity to participate in the Canandaigua Lakefront Art Show -- a festival of fine art, music, and food.
After two rather long days of exhibiting, it’s easy to be exhausted; drained; spent. But this year, showing my work at this festival reminded me of the amazing opportunities we, as artists, have to put ourselves and our work out there.
Throughout the two, seven-hour days, I was able to market my paintings, meet new customers, and chat with out-of-state visitors checking out the Finger Lakes for the first (or 20th) time -- people that wouldn’t necessarily walk into a gallery, visit a museum, or intentionally seek out fine art online.
All the work of setting up a booth, packing up your inventory, and figuring out payment methods becomes instantly worth it when you get to share your art with the world. It’s an amazing experience that brings a natural honor -- and it’s simply hard to describe until you get out there and do it.
But that doesn’t even touch on my favorite aspect of attending festivals and shows as a visiting artist: The organic connections that are made on a deeper level with each and every visitor that takes time to stop and observe your work.
As I’ve said before, art is an active piece of the room it lives in. I believe the best connections are made between a buyer and their selected painting when they’ve taken the time to physically interact with it -- and those connections are made even deeper when they can connect to the artist and the energy that surrounds them, as well.
Through many years of shows in both the Finger Lakes and the Adirondacks, here are a few tips I’ve picked up along the way for making the most of shows you attend:
- Have smaller pieces on hand: I’ve done notecards and smaller pieces; I’ve seen others do prints
- Bring a leave-behind: Give them something to remember you by when they’re at home incessantly thinking about that beautiful piece of art they wish they’d bought!
- Take Monday off to rest: While all the work is worth it, it’s important that you treat yourself nicely after the event is over. Take time to settle back into your studio or office -- and allow for time to capture all the inspiration that’s undoubtedly built up inside you
Putting myself and my work out there has not always been easy for me. As an artist, it can feel like we’re putting our souls on display. But each and every moment I’ve spent doing that has always been worth it, and I believe it will be for you, as well.
(PS: This year, exhibiting at the Canandaigua Lakefront Art Show was an experience made even more special because I was asked by the show organizer to develop the logo and poster for the event. In the months and weeks leading up to it, I drew inspiration from the amazing Finger Lakes atmosphere. The final product -- which features an illustration of my vintage guide boat -- is a beautiful representation of everything the Finger Lakes and painting mean to me -- family, letting go, freedom, peace, and beauty.)