Tips for Artists: Showcasing Your Work for the First Time
Thanks to RAW Artists Boston, I was able to take part in my first artist showcase back in January 2018. For those unfamiliar with RAW, it’s an independent arts organization that provides emerging artists the opportunity to share their artwork with their local communities by participating in a fun and collaborative artist events.
When RAW initially reached out to me, I let their message sit in my inbox for days. I had heard a bit about them, but was afraid it was a scam. I was even more afraid to go outside my comfort zone and show off my work in such a large venue. Thankfully, the RAW team communicated with its artists regularly and did a great job to prepare us. By show day, I was more excited than nervous! I do have to admit though, I wasn't aware of how much prep-work would be needed, as this was my very first artist showcase!
Below are some of my recommendations for anyone taking part in a RAW Artist showcase or who might just be exhibiting their work for the first time.
- Be prepared to spend money. If you don't already have some branding materials like business cards or a sign for your booth, you're going to need to get them before the event. I'm a big fan of Moo's business card services, but if you have basic Photoshop skills, you can definitely DIY your own business cards for cheap! Making prints of your artwork is also a large expense. I recommend finding a cost-efficient online service, or weighing the pros and cons of investing in your own printer, which could eventually pay for itself. Because I run an online business, I chose to splurge on an EPSON Artisan printer so that I could make my own prints on-demand.
- Plan out your booth. At RAW, artists typically receive a 6x6' grid to hang their artwork. I recommend laying your items out in advance and triple-checking you I have everything you need to properly hang them. Not confirming my hanging supplies were adequate left me racing back and forth to the hardware store while I was trying to set up my booth. I also suggest printing out some gallery tags so that viewers can easily see the name and price of each piece.
- Price your artwork in advance. This is something I've discovered is stressful for artists, especially ones who are new to selling their work. There are tons of different formulas floating around the internet, but at the end of the day, it's up to you to decide which pricing method makes sense for you and your artwork. The most common formulas I've seen used include:
- Hours and Materials: (Hourly Rate x Number of Hours Worked) + Price of Materials = Price of Painting
- Example: ($15 x 10 hours worked) + $50 = $200 painting
- Square-Inches: (Height x Width) x Multiplier of Your Choice = Price of Painting
- Example: (12 in. x 12 in.) x $2 = $288 painting
- Example: (36 in. x 36 in.) x $2 = $2,592 painting
- Linear-Inches: (Height + Width) x Multiplier of Your Choice = Price of Painting. This linear-inch pricing method is often used by artists who work in a wide range of sizes. As seen above, by pricing artwork based on square inches, your smallest piece could be $300 while your largest could be well over $2,000; this can potentially confuse and drive away buyers.
- Example: (12 in. + 12 in.) x $2 = $48
- Example: (36 in. + 36 in.) x $2 = $96
Have you participated in an artist showcase? What are some other tips you'd recommend to emerging artists?