It is important to remember that you are not truly unique. Someone, somewhere has a style that is similar to yours. That style can be your idea, colors, or applications. What you need to remember is that, although not unique it is always different.
Take a look at what you are currently creating and ask these important questions.
1. What makes your art different for you?
2. Have others mentioned something about you art that stuck in your mind?
3. Can you see this difference in all of your art or just some of it?
4. Did that difference sell the work faster?
Try to focus on those key points and see if you can bring that subject matter forward and work on making it your own.
Here is a list of national website and basic information to find an art show or festival in your area. I would like to make it clear, you do not have to pay for these sites to get the full information. Often, all you need is the name of the art show or festival and with a little more effort you can do a search to find the rest of the information yourself. Now with that said, you can still pay for the service if you don’t want to do the extra work yourself. They will provide you with the name and contact of the person in charge of the show.
A lot of people will always try to get you to lower the cost of your work. They will tell you they can find it
cheaper or do it cheaper. Let us be frank to them. If they could find it and do it better, then they would not need
to ask you to lower your price. They don't want to admit; they can't afford your time and effort you put into your work.
I have recently seen a video about “pricing your work” and I can and will agree with everything this video says. Over
the years, I have come to price my work in the same way after I have created the work and
over time the prices get higher depending on my time and expenses.
When looking for the right show to apply to, I have learned over the years that you have to be on the look out for shows that don’t have the experience and letting the people know if there will be art at these showings. I have been to places where customers wouldn’t know about the art. They assume it was all craft and didn’t plan on buying artwork. The one thing you don’t want is display at a show, where everyone is only willing to pay $5 for your $50 item.
Things to look for:1. The title often says it all. If the word “fine art” is on the flyer, you can rest assure it will be about art. Look out for “art and craft”. Sometimes that is not enough to create a good art show. The only thing consumers are seeing is “craft”, because to them, craft is art. (Sometimes it is) but not in the case where someone wants a painting for their home. Try your best to simply look for something that says “Art show” or “ Art Festival”. 2. Be careful with shows set up by private or religious organization. These organizations often cater to children. Now having kids at shows is not a bad thing. However, being in a show that has more children rides than adult rides often means, the parent is only looking for an event where their child can ride and eat things for free (leaving the money and the attitude of buying art at home). 3. Look out for shows that have too many promotions. Sometimes this can work in your favor, other times it will not. For example, If the promoters are giving away free bags of items, you will find yourself not being able to sell your work. Now if the promoters are simply putting money into the show and you know that only 10% of the tents will be booths for those promoters then it’s worth the chance. (Assuming the price of the booth is reasonable.) 4. Try to stay away from “First Annual.” Often those shows didn’t do enough to promote the art or the artist. Another issue is that people just don’t know about it. I say wait for the second or third show, before putting any money into it. Now if they offer you a free deal, then by all mean, go for it. Look for shows with high numbers of shows. 5. Look for shows with high number of people. Ask the event's coordinator, how many people show up to the event. If it's less than 10 thousand people, be careful and see how much of the rest of this list pass or fail. If it's less than 10K, but it's the 25th annual, then give it some more thought. 6. Never take part in a show that is competing with another show of equal value. Not much to say about this. Seem pretty self-explanatory.
Someone asked me, while I was shopping in an art supply store, which brand of paints I felt would be best to purchase. The sales person told her she should get the best brand on the shelf. Now, I understand that a good name brand is better than some standard brands because the name brand may have more of what makes it good. Examples would be pigments, velocity, texture, smooth or rough, etc. However, don’t feel buying those expensive name brand will somehow magically make your artwork better. No matter what you use, good artist create good art. You can either buy charcoal from your locale art store, or create it with the end of a burnt wood stick. How you apply that medium to your idea is the most important part of creation. I don’t want to lead you in the wrong idea that it’s all the same product. I will tell you now it’s not. Some brands do spend a lot of time making their product the best it can be. For example: oils are made in different ways. You have the basic “linseed oil” which most companies use. They will clean the linseed to a point with it will work just as well as any other oil. However this oil over time will darken for some brands. Some company will use “walnut oil”. This oil is one of the old school mediums used back in the time where painting was the only method for pictures. In my opinion walnut oil is better than linseed. It doesn’t darken over time, like linseed and in same cases it will do the opposite. These factors might be very important if you are creating a very light or very dark piece. If you are a beginner then you shouldn’t spend time worrying about what will happen to your artwork 300 years for now. Let those who collect your work, spend the money to preserve your artwork. Sometimes when times get tough, you have to do what you have to do to create something new. Instead of buying the best high quality watercolors, make it your self. Go finds items that you can mash into medium to create the colors you need, such as flowers, or colored food products even that old makeup kit you can’t find any need for may work. Then get or create a kind of filler. For example: Gum Arabic is a main medium for some watercolors. This medium controls the flow of the color and allow for an even coat across the paper. It’s also an ingredient in some of your favorite juices. It is basically a sugar of some kind. One of the best watercolor companies, “Holland” uses honey in its best watercolor choice. Honey was once the main medium of watercolor creation. If you have honey, great! But if you don’t have honey, you can create a concentrated sugar medium. Sugar doesn’t spoil so it fine for what you would need it for. The point is “Think out side of the box!” Don’t let others tell you what you can or can’t use when creating what could be the best artwork in you life. Find ways to create the supplies if you can’t buy them, and when you can, buy them cheap. Use the limitations the cheaper products have and see how far you can get with them. Here is a link I found that has a list on how to make your own art supplies: Creating your own art supplies I find that this comapny has the most afforable art supplies from my dealings witht them: Reeves Website For your opinion on this topic and to possibly have your views added to the column, please email us with the details.