|Photograph of my stand before the fair began
Last weekend was the Reading Contemporary Art Fair. It was the first time that I have had a stand at such an event.While it was an interesting and enjoyable experience (if a bit nerve-wracking), I was rather disappointed by the fact that I didn't sell enough to cover the cost of the stand.
Having spoken to some of the other artists and given it some serious thought, I have just come up with a number of potential reasons for this - reasons that don't preclude me trying again.
My inexperience and newness probably contributed quite a lot.
- I would have been a new face to the art buyers of Reading. I have been told that "known" artists, even on a small scale, tend to sell more. This is effectively a reason to try again.
- I don't think I was very good at the actual sales thing. It's not the sort of thing I feel comfortable doing, but I should have made a point of talking to more of the people who paused to look at my work. It is unlikely to be a coincidence that the one painting sale I did make (not counting a LEGO painting sold to a friend) occurred after I plucked up the courage to speak to the couple who had returned (at least twice) to look at it.
- I suspect that a position closer to the entrance may have allowed me to make a bigger impact. The Reading Fair is huge and the standards were high; it was easy to become visually overloaded.
- My wares were not very consistent in style. I think I would have been better placed to have selected a theme and run with it - something that I had, actually, decided to do before hitting upon the stained glass tree idea. (I was going to go for wavescapes and stone circles - which would have been predominantly palette knife oils). But my donation to the Prince's Trust stand was a stained glass tree, and so I felt the need to produce others in that vein specifically for the fair.
I am pleased, however, to note that my Princes Trust painting seems to have bee an early sale for them - I think it was sold at the Private View on Friday night.
Sales aside, however, I am hoping that the fair will have got a few potential customers interested, perhaps to visit during West Berkshire and North Hampshire Open Studios in May, perhaps to contact me in some other way. I had to replenish my pile of business cards during the fair, and we gave away all but one of the Open Studio directories we had...
It was also a nice opportunity for networking. I don't think I'm going to get galleries knocking on my door just yet, but it was good to speak to other artists, both local and not-so-local, established and almost-as-new-to-this-as-me.