Friday, January 10, 2020

Rolled the Dice

...Or else I set $40 on fire. I applied for the St Louis Art Fair, which happens in September. Every year I have an argument with myself about whether I should apply to the top-shelf fairs I used to go to, when  lived in St. Paul. I didn’t know how easy I had it, back then! At least 10 of the top 50 best art fairs are within a ½ day’s drive of St. Paul. The closest one to me here is the Smithsonian, which I don’t apply to because it’s very unlikely I could get in. Also the jury fee is $50, the lowest booth fee is $1300, and getting a hotel and food in DC for 3 or 4 days would be a crazy expense. Also, the *average* sales total is about 6k. Since jewelers always make the most, and since there are always a few big studios that make like 50k, that means the little people like me are making between $0 – 3000, for a show that costs about 2500 to do.

Anyway. The last time I did St Louis, I made upwards of $5000, and would have made more except I sold out of everything! I had one pot left at the end of the show. Can I expect to sell almost literally everything, again? Probably not, but I can bring more pots! One good thing is, the organizers of this event did not get greedy, and the show still has less than 200 booths. Also, St Louis in  September? I could probably find camping nearby, or a hostel. (I also have friends in St Louis, having lived there many moons ago; but it seems rude to ask for hospitality, when I know the art fair will be so much work that I will not be able to spend any time visiting my hosts.)

Of course, I might not get in! I have a better chance than with the Smithsonian, but any good fair, you have to assume you might get juried out. I probably could get into the Uptown, but the last time I was
there I grossed $2k, which was great for a fair I did not have to travel to, not so great for one 1500 miles away. I still do have a lot of good friends in and around the Twin Cities, some close enough that they wouldn't mind housing me even if I basically just slept at their house & drank their coffee, so I could eliminate that expense, but travelling 1500 miles is still going to be a spendy proposition, in terms of both time & money.
I also applied to 3 local shows, one is June, one in August, one at the end of September. There are not a lot of great shows in Maine, and it has taken me some time to make the mental adjustment that most shows here are going to mean weeks of preparation and three days of flat-out backbreaking work to net a frustratingly small amount of money. 

Why did I choose this stupid field*? I should have become a visual merchandiser. Or idk, a dentist, a money manager, an engineer.
Just kidding, we all know I never had much choice in the matter. Clay chose me, and I'm lucky it did. 

*Again, I know it is bad branding to admit I don't make much money! I know we are all supposed to pretend to be super-successful all the time. But fuck it, somebody has to be honest, otherwise we all secretly feel like losers. 

No comments: