Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Open Studio Weekend: Wrap-Up

Here are a couple shots of my space when it was all set up.  I had intended to take some pics of people mulling about in the hallway - but when it's SHOWTIME, it's hard to remember such things.

It was slower than last year - but I expected as much.  This area was hit mighty hard with the October snowstorm.  Many people just dropped a wad of cash on a generator and others will be giving their first born to the tree-trimming guys.  But I met my financial goal and I sold a decent amount of stuff from the walls.  So I'm a happy pappy.

A Few Things I've Learned:

1. Marketing helps.
On Day 1 - I barely sold any cranes, books, or cards packs.  The cranes were new so I had no idea what to expect there.  But I sold a TON of books and card packs last year.  So I made some little signs suggesting that teachers love card packs and cranes were great gifts, too.  I also made some signs for the books with reviews on them.  All three items sold better on Day 2.   Open Studio can be overwhelming to people, so it's important to remind them of what the little things might be good for.

2. Too Much Theme
This year all my wall art (well, 95% of it) was bird themed.  I did sell a decent amount of it, but I think I went a little bird crazy.  Usually my collages are aimed at kids' rooms.  I've done dinosaurs, fairy tales, fables, cats, dogs, trains.  And despite the fact that I loved my bird collectives, I don't think the kids cared for them particularly and I don't think adults looked at them and thought, "I bet that'd look great in Timmy's room!"

3. People Love a Sale
I know - this one is obvious and it's not news.  But when I start slashing prices on Sunday - people respond.  The sad thing is is that I already price low because I want people to be able to buy original art.  And by "people" I mean, "people who are cheap like me."  Art shouldn't be only for the wealthy.  If you love art you should be able to have some.

There was a lovely young artist near me - fresh from art school - where she was taught to price her art high in order for people to value it.  She said, "Artists owe it to the art community to value their art and price it high."  I said (nicely)  "I don't owe the art community anything.  I price my art for the audience of the show."

I don't think she sold anything.  (But she had wonderful technique.)

So, basically,  when I price my art I have a few things in mind: how long did it take me to make a piece, what I would like to get for it, what I think I'm going to get for it.  Then I name a price that I feel is fair, but also a price that I won't mind knocking some bucks off of if I need to.

It's not easy but you get a feel for it.

Some of the items: prints, t-shirts, cards will go up on my etsy store for those of you far from Hartford who want some Julie art.  I'll let you know when I post them.  Or, if you can inquire through comments here or my email.

MANY THANKS to those of you who came out!  I always love seeing a familiar face!

Now - onto illustrating Monkey Ho Ho!


Angela said...

Yay Monkey Ho Ho! Thanks for hanging with me. It was a blast! I'll have to make some signs next year. Maybe I'll get it together and do it pre-show. Right. I loved those birds.
I don't think we owe the art community anything, but I have heard people say that if art is priced inexpensively, folks won't think it's worth anything. For some folks that is probably true, but I am like you and try to put as fair a price as possible. I might have to lower my photo prices, bc it seems many people have a harder time paying a what seem high price for those. Who knows. It was great fun though! Awesome job Julie!

Julie_c said...

Re: pricing. I also think an artist needs to consider the venue. A painting I might sell for $300 in hallspace art show, would probably sell for $550 in a gallery b/c A.) the clientele is different and B.) The gallery takes a cut.

But more often than not, at an art show like Open Studio, I hear people walk around thinking some of the artists think far too highly of their talent than the customers.