Things I have learned by getting my art ‘out there’.
Last year was a year of growth and getting myself ‘out there’. I didn’t have too much of a plan other than to do Sennen Market every Tuesday and to do a few ‘bigger’ events in the summer and at Christmas.
Sennen Market is a lovely locals farmer’s market. The stalls offer locally grown produce, organic skincare, plants, jewellery and a variety of art. Sennen is predominantly a tourist town though and during the winter, on a day like today, it is cold and the people are sparse.
One of the great things about having a stall is that you get to chat to the other stallholders and there is a great sense of community there. This is important to me as it keeps me feeling part of something, rather than just feeling alone in my little art bubble.
By chatting to other people you can learn all sorts of things from what other markets are good to do, what shops to try selling your work in and also recommended suppliers. On quiet days, you realise it’s not just you and you gain strength in the shared experience.
Putting your work on display every week is useful as it lets you see all your work together. This might sound a bit obvious, but until I started I hadn’t really had the chance to view my creations as a whole. You get an overview of yourself as a brand!
It is close to having a shop window as you get to display things in groups, or colours, items or themes! It’s actually pretty fun and I really enjoy the opportunity of playing around with my display. I love it when I have new items and get to put them out for the first time.
Being able to watch people gives you pretty valuable information on what people are drawn to, what attracts them, what they pick up and what they put they down. All of this helps you to decide on what you need to make/buy more of and where is the best place to put it on your table.
By showing up every week you establish yourself as an actual business. People realise that you are serious about your work and this means that you also take yourself more seriously. The routine is good and by being more visible to others you increase the potential for opportunities.
I think that by having a physical presence has also had a positive impact on my online sales. I had 500 postcards made up with my details on with the intention of contacting art directors, but instead ended up using them as business cards. I have given all of these away now and I like the thought that people are becoming more aware of me and what I do.
The positive feedback that I have had has kept me going and given me the confidence to try new things. Don’t think that I don’t have bad days or that all my choices were spot on. I made mistakes in buying things that didn’t sell as well as I hoped for and I had some days that were so bad that I cried and doubted everything that I was doing.
As an artist you do need a lot of faith and you also need to know that the bad days aren’t a reflection on you. There are lots of other factors involved and it’s good to become aware of your target audience and the best way to find them.
My best event last year was a FLAME Christmas event at The Acorn which I designed the poster for and helped promote on Facebook. I think that the energy I put in came back to me and this is something really worth taking on board.
If you are struggling to find a place to sell your work, then perhaps organising an event with likeminded local people could work for you.
I put more effort into my Etsy shop, updated photos and tags, joined Facebook groups and again learned things that I was able to apply.
There has been a lot of learning and now I am learning to push myself to do the things I don’t want to do. It’s easy to be an artist and live in a world of your own imagination, but it takes another mindset entirely to take that into the world and make money from it.
This year is all about magic for me and part of magic is alchemy - transforming something into something else. I want to be able to create a life that makes me happy whilst making others happy too.
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