This one is testing my confidence a bit. As we make our way together towards the upper right hand corner I keep wondering why the paint is not applying itself as smoothly as it usually does (yeah, show me paint that just “applies itself” LOL). Same canvas, same paint, same brushes, same medium, same everything. As I work on it close up I keep thinking it’s just not happening. Then somehow when I put my brushes down for the day and prop the painting against the wall (I work flat, by the way) it all seems to be OK. It’s just taking way longer than usual on account of having to fiddle with the paint more than I’m used to in order to get the effect I’m after. So hey, I’ll ask 3 times as much for this one just because I had to work so much harder. Nah, just kidding.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch…
Earlier today I tuned into a webinar about virtual art fairs. If you’re at all into enjoying summer festivals you know by now that oodles of them have been postponed or outright canceled. I applied to fewer this year than last, got accepted to some, did one in early March, backed out of two, and the rest were canceled. So along comes this unique opportunity to do, of all things, a virtual art fair. Combine the producer’s brand new “virtual art fair” portal with the existing Zoom software and voilà–you have a virtual art fair!
Here’s the gist: you sign up, pay your $100 entry fee (which is way cheaper than a physical art fair booth space), upload your photos, bio, statement, whatever you feel best represents you. Using the producer’s custom website you create a virtual booth with various angles of your work so it can be seen from as many sides as you think necessary. If it’s framed, you can show the frame and/or mat in addition to just the image, and put the work in a setting, such as a living room or bedroom. You can also upload a short video of you and what you do if you’re good at that sort of thing. There’s a shopping cart for people who visit you online to stash their choices. Using Zoom, there’s a “live chat” with you on the first day of the show, for four hours. The art fair continues without the live chat for a whole week. The fair producer takes care of credit cards and sending your payment (they also get 25% of each sale, which is fair for all the effort it takes to set up and run this elaborate site). You take care of shipping and submitting sales tax. The only hard part about this whole deal is all the work it takes on the part of the artist to make it look totally professional. The website itself is well-designed, but it’s up to you to provide dynamite photos. The catch here for me is, all photos documenting my work have been taken in a format to apply for a gallery show or a regular art fair. This new format calls for way more variety in the artist’s media in a way that requires me to take a whole bunch more photos. Think along the lines of someone trying to sell something on Ebay. The more you can show your potential buyer each item with exquisitely lit and in-focus photos, the better. So I’m going to have to weigh the advantages of much lower booth fees/not having to cart around tent and merchandise/not having to sit in the rain-wind-hot sun for 2 or 3 days–against the work of having to take lots of new photos/catalog everything/upload it/arrange it/etc. One of the big advantages of the virtual show is that once it’s “set up” it never has to come down and be set up again someplace else. And since it looks like there may be several virtual art fairs available to enter, that’s a huge load off the artist’s shoulders. Will be mulling this over.
The virtual art fair is a very interesting idea – I would want to know how are they going to get people to visit the site? As you rightly point out, all online platforms involve a lot of effort photographing work from different angles and writing descriptions, but only some of them manage to actual sell your work. It’s not always easy to tell before hand.
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The entity offering the virtual art fair normally would produce up to 20 outdoor art fairs per summer season in the greater Chicago area. They have a ginormous contact list of artists, attendees, and sponsors. They do extensive publicity ahead of every show, so I think the awareness factor would be pretty huge. They can build on all the people in the area who would normally have attended one or more of the outdoor shows. I did four shows with them last year just to test the waters. Everything is extremely professionally run and management is always open for suggestions, as was evident in the 2-hour webinar to present the idea to around 150 online artists!
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Wow! Really sound like they know what they are doing!
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