I had a number of learning experiences this last week, although none to show you pictorally at this time.

First, I applied for one of the local craft fairs.  I have yet to hear if I have gotten in, but it seems like a good fit and is an affordable place to start building my craft fair presence.  It's called Crafty Underdog and it's a bimonthly event at a local theatre-restaurant. It sounds like a lot of fun, and my husband and I are going to attend the next one to see what it's all about and who's selling what.  While researching craft fairs, I came across this post on one of my favorite blogs which included a PDF of tips for sellers who hate selling.  I'm not very good at sales, despite several years of retail experience.  The PDF is so immensely helpful.  It even includes questions you can ask your booth visitors to start a conversation rolling without being an aggressive salesperson. All I can say is THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!  I tend to slouch behind my booth with a frightened look on my face, which isn't terribly inviting.  They had suggestions like standing in front of your booth.  It has made me so happy.  Even if I don't get into Crafty Underdog, it's very useful for other craft fairs I might get into.

I also came across this article via Facebook.  It's about the many hats that a performing artist must wear, and is an answer to the question of "do you just do this or do you have a job?"  As I am discovering, being and artist, performing or otherwise, involves many jobs, not just making stuff.  So in addition to the actual production of art, I am a marketer, agent, seller, social media coordinator, administrative assistant, accountant, business manager, PR person, delivery girl, website designer, photographer, graphic designer, and hopefully soon, a teacher.  So that's 14 jobs.  On top of that I volunteer at the museum, educate myself in art (as well as all the other jobs that I don't have much experience in), try to live as self-sufficient a life as possible (made my own toothpaste today), go to church, edit my husband's manuscripts, and spend some quality time with my husband and friends.  I try to squeeze a little exercise in there as well as it makes me feel much better.  I am hoping to add more volunteering too: I'd like to get involved in some kind of feeding-the-hungry project, and I'd like to teach Sunday School.  But I am not going to go hog-wild trying to add everything at once or it will make me crazy.  I should also point out that I have a friend helping me with ad copy on my online store and my husband helps me with the social media.  Nevertheless, I am extremely busy.  So when people ask me when I'm going to get a job (because people do ask me that) I can tell them that I have 14 and don't have time to take on any more right now.

I had a good time volunteering at the Museum on Thursday.  It was pretty slow, which was kind of boring, but it's also a great environment because everyone is an artist and everyone is interested in everyone else's work.  So although I did it to learn about how a museum is run, I actually am doing a fair bit of networking and promoting my business.  Totally not what I expected!  I also got a bit of time to look at the exhibits.  I never have enough time on shift to spend the hour and a half you really need to look at everything, but I can get things in bits and pieces.

After my shift, I went to a lecture by the artist Kanishka Raja.  I really enjoyed looking at his paintings and his influences (he does incredibly detailed paintings which sort of reference surrealism and magical realism).  However, his talk used what I call "Academicese" which is language that is so highly peppered with field-specific jargon that it is unintelligible to anyone outside the field.  There was talk about mitigating the interstices between modality and ornamentation and such.  So I have a good idea of what his art looks like and no idea about anything he said.  It was worth it to see the art, however.

I listened to a couple of podcasts from Art Biz Blog.  The first one that I listened to was about gratitude, which is lovely (it was her last podcast, so she was thanking her listeners.  One thing I did get out of it was the That Is Priceless blog, which takes famous works of art and gives them new titles.  It's hilarious.  The second one was about how to get free stuff for marketing information--mostly advertising the blog itself.  The last and most helpful one I listened to was about people who did all their art marketing without the help of the internet.  One person did her sales through a mailing list sent out to friends and family.  She sold shares in her research trip to China and financed it that way.  The local newspaper heard about it and she sold even more shares.  Another artist sold hundreds of paintings through her mailing lists, displaying things at restaurants and selling at fundraisers.  She uses postcards for a personal touch.  So those are good ways to get the word out in addition to messing about on the internet!
bonnie derr
12/18/2011 09:12:09 am

your blog has taught me many things about all your hats you wear as an artist. At times, it must be wearying.


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