Monday, November 22, 2010

On Art Fairs - Part I

I know, I know…  It’s been a while since I last posted on this blog.  A lot more time than the biweekly posting I thought I’d be able to do, that’s for sure!  The truth is, I’ve been very busy with events, classes and work.  I’ve been meaning to post this message for a while, but as I thought about it, I realized that there’s a lot to say about art fairs, as each one of them is a unique experience in itself.  So I’ll probably do a series of blogs on art fairs, not sure how many, so don’t be surprised to see them pop once in a while.  Here goes Part I, and we’ll see where that brings us!

Art fairs, art festivals and symposiums are the perfect events to get in touch with the public that buys and appreciates art, not to mention it also increases exposure for an artist.  More and more, people appreciate being able to meet and talk to the artist that created the work they bought, or plan to buy.  Last Labor Day weekend (September 3-6) I traveled to Quebec City for a symposium of painters, sculptors and other artists.  Thousands of tourists visit Quebec City every year, and this weekend was no exception.  I had the pleasure to talk to people from Spain, France and the US, and share their thoughts on figure drawing and sculpture.

For these events, it’s important to plan ahead and make sure nothing is missing.  As you can see in the pictures, a lot of equipment is involved, as most of the time nothing is provided by the organizations that manage the events – their role, once the participating artists have been selected from a jury, is to make sure the event is well marketed and publicized, and to make it attractive enough to bring visitors.  The rest (shelters, hooks, chairs, tables, etc.) must be provided by the artists most of the time.

Why art fairs?  Well, not all artists can, or want to, have access to galleries.  Art fairs are the perfect opportunity to sell your art work and get commissions, build up your list of contacts of potential customers and fellow artists, and lastly, pile up some experience.  The most attractive aspect for the visitor is to be able to watch the artist work, and interact with him or her – there’s richness to that type of exchange that will not be had any other way, as the ambiance of an art fair can be at times quite unique.  Not to mention, Art fairs also help evaluate how your art work will be received by the general public.  So if you have doubts about a new style you’re introducing to your body of work, that’s the perfect place to try it out.

During that weekend, I met with a painter who had just gotten her bachelor in Fine Arts, and she mentioned that she couldn’t get into galleries because they all said she didn’t have enough experience.  She’ll have to go to these art fairs to get her experience, and who knows, be noticed by a gallery owner, or artistic agent who could get her to interesting places.  So I’ll say this to my fellow classmates, and all who are studying to be an artist: don’t wait until you graduate to put your art out there.  Do it now.  In three to four years from now, when you get that degree, you’ll already have something to show and back you up.  What if there aren’t any events like this in your community?  Well, why not start one?  All it takes is some inquiry at your local sports and leisure center and your willingness to see this project through.  You’ll learn a lot from that, and it’s another aspect of being an artist – one of these days, you’ll have that special project in mind and you’ll have gained all that amazing experience to help you bring it to life.

Have fun!


  1. I like your blog. Check out my metal art at my site I work out of my house. Keep up the good work.

  2. I'm looking forward to reading your blog now that I've discovered it! Interesting post on art fairs, I'd like to go to one soon!