Friday, December 09, 2005

Marketing Your Art though Art Shows and Festivals

If you are a budding artist, one of the easiest ways to market your work is to sell it yourself. And one of the best ways to do this is to exhibit in Art Shows and Festivals. Following are some hints for getting started:

Finding the Shows

Many states and localities have Art Leagues and Associations which list local Art Shows. Make sure to start with these organizations. For nationwide listings, try either Sunshine Artist (artandcraftshows.net), artfairsource.com or festivalnet.com. Once you identify the shows that interest you, you can write or email the contact person of each show for an application.

Filling out Applications

The first thing to note on an application is the deadline. Many shows will not accept entries received after that date. The application will outline the show regulations and fees required. Art Shows vary extensively in rules and regs. Most of the better (i.e. potential for sales) shows limit artwork exhibited to that which is hand-made. Any reproductions, even 2-dimension prints, may be limited or not permitted at all. Make sure to read the application completely before applying to the show!

A Note about Fees

In most cases you will need to send two separate fees with the Art Show application. The first is known as a "Jury Fee" or "Screening Fee." This fee is non-refundable, and must accompany the application. Jury Fees generally range from $5 to $30.

The second fee is the "Booth Fee." This is the fee you pay for space at the show. A standard booth space is 10 foot by 10 foot. Depending upon the size and quality of the event, the Booth Fee may range from $25 to $400 or more. Some shows require this check upfront with the application. Other shows request the Booth Fee upon your acceptance into the show.

After the jury has reviewed your application, you will receive one of three replies: A Letter of Acceptance, A Letter of Rejection, or a Stand-by (Wait List) Notice. The first two replies are self-explanatory. The "Wait List" letter simply means that your work did not quite make the first cut, however you stand a chance of being called in to do the show should someone else cancel. It is your choice to remain on the Wait List or to withdraw from the show altogether.

Slides

In most cases, 35mm slides of your work will be required with the application. Some shows are starting to request electronic scans, however many still require the slides. Either way, quality is requirement number one. Whenever possible, you should spend the money to have your art professionally photographed. Remember that this is the only view the art show jury will see of your work. Two dimensional artwork should fill the slide area -- no matting or framing should be visible. Three dimensional artwork should have a very simple background which compliments the art.

Many shows, particularly outdoor shows, will require a "Booth Slide" or photo as well. In this case the art show is looking for a picture of your entire display. It goes without saying that this picture should look as professional as possible. To get a good shot of an outdoor display with canopy, try taking the photo on a slightly overcast day (to eliminate hard shadows) and leave the top of the canopy for nice lighting. Your display should be clean, simple and free of clutter.

Booth/Display

Canopy -- If you are planning to do outdoor shows, you will need a canopy to protect you and your work from the elements. This is not the place to save money. Buy the best canopy you can afford. Talk to any artist who has ever lost $1,000's of dollars of work to wind, rain, etc. and he/she will confirm this. Two of the better canopies are the TrimLine Canopy by the Flourish Company and the Light Dome Canopy. Canopies are offered with many options, including see-through material for skylights and doors, awnings, carrying cases, and more.

Display Panels -- For two dimensional art, you will want standing panels so that you can hang your framed pieces. You may also want a "flip bin" or two for matted, unframed prints. The panels should be fabric-covered, as plain grids tend to have an unprofessional look. Some of the best panels come from ProPanels.com. This company also makes pedestals for displaying three dimensional work. The Flourish Company makes panels which attach to their canopy.

Weights -- Weights are a necessity for canopies. You never know when the wind will kick up, and canopies can turn into flying parachutes. All four legs of the canopy should be weighted. Sand bags and cement blocks work, but a nicer look can be achieved using 3"-4" pvc pipe. Just cut 2-3' sections of pipe. Cap one end and fill with either cement or sand. Then cap the other end with a screw eye hook in the cap. This way you can secure the weight to both the top of the canopy rails (using a rope) and the bottom of the canopy legs (using utility ties.)

Weather -- Make sure to plan for the elements! This may mean rain gear, sunscreen, extra clothes and the like. Also, your art work should be transported/stored plastic bins as opposed to cardboard. Consider purchasing a heavy duty dolly. Not only will this make getting your display from the vehicle to the display area easier, the dolly can also serve as an above ground table for storing artwork behind your booth.

Hotel arrangements

If you are planning to exhibit out of town, make those hotel arrangements as soon as you are accepted into the show. While an art show alone usually does not fill all the local inns, you may find that other events are in town for the weekend to coincide with the art show. This may make finding last minute lodging difficult.

Payments

Consider in advance what forms of payment you will accept. While "cash only" is a nice arrangement for the artist, it generally results in lost sales. If you plan to accept checks, make sure to check identification when accepting the check. If possible, try to get a merchant account before the show so that you can accept major credit cards. This will definitely improve your chances of sales. Most banks offer merchant accounts, though these days you will probably find better terms and pricing online.

Marketing Materials

Even if people are interested in purchasing your work not all customers will make purchases at the show itself. It is important to let them know how to reach you later. At very least, have professional business cards ready. (Try vistaprint.com.) If possible, also take flyers, brochures, price lists and other materials which you can hand out. And don't forget sales slips/receipts.

An "Artist Statement" (telling about you and your work) should be posted in your booth. People want to learn about you!

Attitude and Presentation

One the day of the show, make sure to SMILE! Purchasing artwork is a joyful occasion for most people. Few will transact with a grouch! It is also important to make a good impression on the show committee. One sure way to *not* get into future shows is to growl at a committee member. One last note, dress comfortably, but neatly. The paint-stained clothes should be left at home. You are in "selling" mode now and should dress accordingly.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

What is Graphic Design?

Graphic Design refers to a specialized area of the Visual Arts. Generally, Graphic Design is considered to be for commercial, advertising or educational purposes. It involves the enhancing of a product, service or information by designing a pleasing visual or set of visuals.

Traditionally, Graphic Design has included both creative preparation and execution of materials in the areas of: Logo Design, Corporate Identity, Brochure Design, Photo Retouching, Charts/Graphs/Diagrams, and other printed materials. Graphic Design can also include the preparation of 35mm Slide Presentations, Television Advertisements, Multi-Media Presentations, and other Visual Aids.

Today, the term Graphic Design also includes the rapidly expanded Web Design market. While a Graphic Designer may certainly specialize in one area, it is common to find designers with applicable knowledge is more than one discipline. A Graphic Designer may be expected to design entire websites, edit photos for both print and web use, and design printed materials which also have web applications.

Most of us are surrounded by Graphic Design work daily without even realizing it. Many of the web sites you visit involve the efforts of a Graphic Designer. Advertising Agencies employ many Graphic Designers to prepare the ads you see on television. And here are some more signs of Graphic Designers on the scene: the signage you see in front of businesses; the menu at last night's restaurant; the morning newspaper; the brochures at the doctor’s office; all those greeting cards at the store; and yes (unfortunately!) -- all that junk mail you receive.

In the past, a Graphic Designer could rely on predominately right-brain tendencies of being a “Creative” type. These days, a Graphic Designer needs to have a “balanced brain” in order to be successful. In the last two decades, computers and increasingly powerful graphic software programs have become a requirement to accomplish the work of a Graphic Designer. One must not only be “Creative,” but also possess the “Logic” skills to pilot numerous software programs, trouble shoot computing issues, etc.

Graphic Design is a highly rewarding career. Not only does it challenge an individual mentally, it also offers the opportunity to network with a wide variety of professionals in numerous fields. Graphic Design is also a great Work At Home opportunity. Once one is established (education, contacts, etc.), a Home Office can be the perfect option. Incomes vary and are dependant on a number of factors, including: area(s) of expertise, years of experience, business contacts, etc.

See CygnetGraphics.com for helpful links and additional information on Graphic Design, Web Graphic Design, Graphic Design Services and Freelance Graphic Design.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Horse Lover Gifts and Dog Lover Gifts!

If you are shopping for a Horse Lover or Dog Lover, please checkout my online CafePress store. I stock Horse Lover Gifts Galore! You'll find Friesian Horse T-Shirts, Friesian Horse Mugs, Friesian Horse Totes, Friesian Horse Mouse Pads and many more Friesian theme items. Also: Dressage Horse T-Shirts, Dressage Horse Mugs, Dressage Horse Totes, Dressage Horse Mouse Pads, Horse Jumping T-Shirts, Horse Jumping Mugs, Horse Jumping Totes, Horse Jumping Mouse Pads, Horse Racing T-Shirts, Horse Racing Mugs, Horse Racing Totes, Horse Racing Mouse Pads, Arabian Horse T-Shirts, Arabian Horse Mugs, Arabian Horse Totes, Arabian Horse Mouse Pads, Morgan Horse T-Shirts, Morgan Horse Mugs, Morgan Horse Totes, Morgan Horse Mouse Pads...

I also stock Dog Lover Gifts Galore! You'll find Doberman Pinscher Dog T-Shirts, Doberman Pinscher Dog Mugs, Doberman Pinscher Dog Totes, Doberman Pinscher Dog Mouse Pads and many more Doberman theme items. Also: Greyhound Dog T-Shirts, Greyhound Dog Mugs, Greyhound Dog Totes, Greyhound Dog Mouse Pads, Corgi Dog T-Shirts, Corgi Dog Mugs, Corgi Dog Totes, Corgi Dog Mouse Pads, Labrador Dog T-Shirts, Labrador Dog Mugs, Labrador Dog Totes, Labrador Dog Mouse Pads, Whippet Dog T-Shirts, Whippet Dog Mugs, Whippet Dog Totes, Whippet Dog Mouse Pads, Agility Dog T-Shirts, Agility Dog Mugs, Agility Dog Totes, Agility Dog Mouse Pads...

AND, CafePress runs frequent specials and discounts!

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Are you shopping for a Dog Lover? As a dog lover myself, I thought I'd share a few gift-giving ideas. Here are a some items you might consider for your Dog Lover Gift List:

Many Dog Lovers like to accessorize their pets in style! Check out colorful “Pet Wear” for that prized pooch. Favorite articles include Elastic Neck Ruffs and Bandana-syle Skollars which slide over the collar, eliminating messy strings and velcro. One talented artisan selling these items is Pammer’s Pet Wear (available through pencilplace.com.)

Another great Dog Lover Gift Idea is Embroidered Collars and Leashes. These are terrific items. This is a opportunity to purchase a personalized gift at a relatively low cost. And, if you chose to add a phone number to Spot’s name, the collar and/or leash may be a life-saver one day should Spot gets lost!

Dog Treats are always in demand and welcomed as a gift by any Dog Lover. Try searching for either “Holistic” and/or “Organic” Dog Treats to find the very best products. The word “Natural” has been a bit over-used in advertising and is therefore not a premium search word. One last note: When you purchase Organic Treats, you buy not only a top-quality gift item, but you also help Organic Producers!

For a truly luxurious Dog Lover Gift, try a New Zealand Sheepskin Rug! These rugs are made from natural sheepskin, and are even machine washable. They are incredibly soft, and make much nicer resting places for dogs than synthetic rugs and pads. Some of the best rugs come straight from New Zealand to you -- from outofnz.com.

Always appreciated by the Dog Lover is a Gift of Dog Art. Try a Limited Edition Dog Art Print as a very special gift. As Limited Edition Prints are signed and numbered by the artist, they have inherent value, but tend to cost much less than original works of art. A wide variety of Dog Breed Art Prints are available from pencilplace.com.

Here is an idea for Doberman Pinscher Dog Lovers: Special Needs Dobermans holds frequent auctions of Doberman-Related items. (Special Needs Dobermans auctions) You can bid on and win a special gift AND contribute to the needs of some truely special Dobe!

Also, for the special Greyhound Dog Lover in your life, try visiting the Houston GPA website. They have a large Gift Shop full of Greyhound related gifts!
Are you shopping for a Horse Lover? As a horse lover myself, I thought I'd share a few gift-giving ideas. Here are a some items you might consider for your Animal Lover Gift List:

Horse Lover Gifts are simple to find as horse lovers are easier to please than you might think! For a solid, time-honored choice, try a T-Shirt or Sweater with an imprinted or emroidered horse design. Anyone who has horses can tell you that it just isn’t the cleanest hobby. T-shirt and sweaters get soiled quickly and wear out frequently -- more are always welcome! Among other sites, CafePress.com/KelliSwan has a wide selection of shirt styles with equine art imprints.

Another much-appreciated Horse Lover Gift is Gloves. Depending upon the recipient’s location, either summer, winter, or all-weather gloves may be appropriate. If the horse lover is a rider, make sure the gloves specifically state “riding gloves.” Riding Gloves are specially made to be durable and yet flexible enough for handling reins. Also, don’t scrimp on this purchase. Your horse friend knows how quickly gloves where out in this sport -- buy the best quality you can afford. If cold weather is involved, consider giving Silk Glove or Sock Liners too.

When Horse Lovers aren’t with their critters, they still like to show off their affection for Equus! Try a special piece of Jewelry such as a pendant, bracelet or earrings. If you aren’t sure what breed of horse your friend has, or what riding style he/she participates in, try purchasing a “general” horse theme design -- one without a saddle, bridle or rider on it.

Always appreciated by the Horse Lover is a Gift of Horse Art. Try a Limited Edition Horse Art Print as a very special gift. As Limited Edition Prints are signed and numbered by the artist, they have inherent value, but tend to cost much less than original works of art. A wide variety of horse prints are available from PencilPlace.com.

And when Horse Lovers aren’t riding or in the barn cleaning, they are often times at the computer emailing their other horse lover friends! Thanks to new printing methods, you can now purchase a wide variety of computer Mouse Pads with Equine Themes. These make great low-cost gifts that can be used and appreciated daily.
Here are a few ideas to help anyone looking for an Animal Lover Gift:

Animal Lover Gifts come in many shapes, sizes and price ranges. The easiest way to shop is to start with the correct “Critter Category!” If you are buying for a varied-critter home, try a Gift Certificate to a major Pet Superstore. This gift is greatly appreciated as your family member or friend can pick out a wide variety of food, bedding, treats and/or supplies for their 4-legged friend(s)!

One nice Cat Lover Gift Idea is Embroidered Cat Collars. This is a opportunity to purchase a personalized gift at a relatively low cost. And, if you chose to add a phone number to Fluffy’s name, the collar may be a life-saver one day should Fluffy gets lost! Designer Collars decorated with gems and other unique embellishments are also available.

Horse Lover Gifts are simple to find as horse lovers are easier to please than you might think! For a solid, time-honored choice, try a T-Shirt or Sweater with an imprinted or emroidered horse design. Anyone who has horses can tell you that it just isn’t the cleanest hobby. T-shirt and sweaters get soiled quickly and wear out frequently -- more are always welcome! (Among other sites, CafePress.com/KelliSwan has a wide selection of shirt styles with equine art imprints.)

For the Dog Lover on your Animal Lover list try a Gift of Dog Art. A Limited Edition Art Print makes a very special gift. As Limited Edition Prints are signed and numbered by the artist, they have inherent value, but tend to cost much less than original works of art. There are plenty of sites to browse. For starters try the wide variety of Dog Breed Art Prints available from PencilPlace.com.

For the Small Animal Lover Gift there are still many options. Gift items such as Calendars, Figurines, Jewelry and T-Shirts are now available for rabbits, mice, hamsters, ferrets, gerbils and many more animal themes.

Memorial Donations are a wonderful idea to consider. Remember a friend’s favorite passed loved one with a donation to the local Humane Society or Rescue Group. Generally, your Animal Loving Friend will receive a nice note from the charity -- confirming your gift. It will warm someone’s heart and help a great animal cause too!

Monday, November 21, 2005

I have recently published a new website, AnimalLoverGiftPlace.com. This site is intended to offer a few creative Gift Ideas for those shoppers who need to purchase a Gift for an Animal Lover, a Horse Lover or a Dog Lover. There are many Animal Lover Gift Ideas, and this site should provide a "jump-start" for shopping. The perfect Horse Lover Gift or Dog Lover Gift may be just a few mouse clicks away! Of course, don't forget to consider a Limited Edition Art Print for your fellow Pet Lover. Horse Art, Dog Art and Animal Art are favorite themes of Artists!

Sunday, November 06, 2005

New Limited Edition Print Releases are now available for my Farrier Art Drawings! The original pencil drawings were completed several months ago and I now have the prints available through my website, pencilplace.com. The prints are sold already matted to standard frame sizes, and are available in either black & white or hand-tinted with color highlights. Each print is personally signed and numbered.

My many thanks to Farrier Johnny Rooker of Flagstaff, Arizona for his patient assistance in modeling for the reference photographs used for this project! His helpful input was great appreciated!

Other new drawings I have completed this year include several Greyhound Dog pieces, Horse Racing, Friesian Horses, Doberman Dogs and several other themes. Check out my new Doberman print "Caution: Guard Dog." This piece features a "vicious" Doberman snoozing upside down on the couch!

I would also like to thank the Houston GPA (a Greyhound Rescue organization), for giving me the opportunity to work with them on several new projects. In addition to offering my prints for sale as fundraisers for their cause, they have just announced Holiday Greeting cards featuring my artwork!