We recently had our holiday art sale and I have come to some conclusions for shows like this. Here is my list (I seem to be really into the list format of writing lately...):
1. Small and REALLY affordable (meaning under $150) sells. Is this a result of the declining economy or do people just like smaller works? It's hard to tell. San Francisco homes tend to be on the smaller side and wall space is sparse. While most galleries want to see larger paintings from artists, the average home in this area can't accommodate paintings larger than 24" x 24" so it would make sense that smaller paintings sells easier. My average painting sizes are 30" x 30" but I try to do a bunch of smaller pieces, usually 8" x 8", at lower prices for open studios and sales like this. These smaller pieces are usually the first to sell. They are affordable and gosh darn people like them.
2. Place refreshments inside your area, close to your work. My studio space is in a giant warehouse and our spaces are more like cubicles. During the Fall Open Studios I set up my drinks and snacks outside of my space so that it wouldn't get in the way of people seeing my art. The area looked nice but some people would walk straight to the snacks, eat, and then keep walking without so much as a glance at my work. Now the snacks and drinks weren't that expensive so it's not a money issue, but would it hurt to take a look at the art of the artist that is so graciously feeding you? Just a look, that's all I ask. They don't have to buy anything, just look at the art. This time, I placed the snacks in my "booth" and people had to walk in and, hopefully, see the art in order to eat. I got a lot more people commenting on the work and "appreciating" what I do.
3. Having a painting in progress enables people to see your process and this enables them to understand your work easier. For the Fall OS, people were constantly asking me how I got my photographs so big and how did I transfer the images onto the wood panels. Now, while it is flattering that people think my paintings look good enough to be photographs, they are in fact oil paintings. When I would explain the process of how I uses old photographs as references, draw the images, and then paint them, I got some skeptical looks and some people just didn't believe that I actually painted the images. I had a work in progress this time so people were able to see that yes, I do paint the images. It answered the question of whether I paint the eyes of each figure and then block them out (yes, I do) or do I just start off with blocked eyes since only one of the three figures were completed. People were also able to see what my paintings looked like pre-wax layer.
4. I need to work on my people skills still. I find that I am still shy when approaching people and talking about myself or my work. If I'm going to do this full time, I need to be able to feel comfortable with talking to people. I need to have my 30 second elevator speech perfected and ready to go. For those of you who don't know what that is, it's a 30 second explanation of who you are and what you do as an artist. During one of Jeff Schaller's presentations he talked about the importance of this and how you should be able to explain your work in that amount of time. I've got mine down pretty good but it still needs work. Another thing added to my list of things to do.
This is it. Thanks to those of you who were able to stop by!