It’s been quite a while since my last blog which is another indicator of a very slow season for me. While i had a great spring run of shows, the summer has proven the opposite. Despite receiving strong and favorable feedback from all the visits during my shows, very few actually bought. This ended up being the case for many of the artists at each show. Seems like this summer was more entertainment for folks, then serious buying. In this business of the traveling artist, you must be prepared not only for all sorts of weather, but also lack of sales.
No sales? Three sales? These are certainly things I’ve said incredulously while working a 2 or 3 day show. Wow, who would’ve imagined that after all this work, you only had three sales! This is where the rubber meets the road. In other words, as an artist on the show circuit, you MUST enjoy the work. You MUST enjoy the people. Making a profit and a living from this work, is incredibly hard. Especially when you do only one-of-a-kind pieces. So, I tell folks that I love putting my pieces out there for the public to see and hopefully buy. I love interacting with lots of interesting people and telling my story of my art and my processes. I love being outside (inside shows are harder for me!) and I love meeting the weather challenges (or the lighting challenges of an inside show).
What about that profit? Aren’t you at a show to sell? Isn’t that the point?
Yes, it is. But sometimes you are humbled and you are there maybe to do something else. These shows I record as my “marketing” shows. I’ve marketed myself, my work and my pieces. I’ve exchanged my business card, my art statement and my website. I’ve shared my life with fellow artists and spent time with my husband–which we rarely have. So, there is purpose in what I do. It just doesn’t always look like a profit. That is what I hold onto when the shows run dry. This summer there was a drought!
Officially, the fall season starts after Labor Day. September and October hold promise as we enter this next season of shows. It is easy to second-guess your show decisions and your choices. But, as a professional, I have to stay committed to the schedule and to the show and work hard and hope hard. Ultimately, this business for me is so much more than just a profit. It is about the people, the art and the process. It is about the strength God gives me . . the promise of His provision and the active use of my faith.
Sometimes droughts can bring great fruit once the rain begins again. Sometimes you have to re-evaluate the direction you’re in and discover if there are options you haven’t explored before. Thus, begins my next journey and development as an artist trying to make this a serious business.