Welp, my first Ann Arbor Art Fair is complete and all I can say is: "PHEW! Whatta ride!" From the weather (heat, storms, wind) to the people from all walks of life ("My daughter won't stop talking about you after visiting yesterday, so we're back again today!"), it was a life-changing adventure.
I was part of the original art fair that spans N. University, Washington, and the "Mall" - I was told by several patrons that it was the part of the Art Fair that was "most elite" and "hardest to get into" and that I should feel very honored to have gotten in on my first try. Of course I felt that way!
I had neighbors from Nebraska, Wisconsin, Ohio, Florida, Minnesota... everywhere! It quickly became apparent that my being "a local" was rare and maybe... an asset? So, I mentioned it when it made sense to do so.
Did I sell? Yes! Did I sell "a ton"? No? I don't think so? How does one measure that amount... I suspect it's highly individualized. Lemme 'splain: I sell tiny paintings that take me an hour to create* - my overhead was low for this show. I had the entry fee and the tent/table rentals sure, but I didn't travel or stay in hotel... I wasn't selling fragile and challenging-to-transport sculpture or glass... I could carry my work in my backpack (literally).
I made a little more than my expenses, so, I consider that a success! Also, I really believe this experience helped put my face and work in front of my local audience again... and repetition hopefully breeds memory which will lead to commissions, sales, opportunities, down the line. Someone remembered me from ArtPrize last fall, for example! I think that's huge!
My square Moo business cards were a hit, as was my live demo that I signed up to do for the Fair; I got a (surprise) small honorarium for it as well! I forget how much I love teaching until I do it. This was no exception as I showed a handful of folks how to paint some coffee beans, beneath the shadow of Hill Auditorium (!). Magnus helped me paint up some decorative rocks (see picture in the slideshow) and I put up a small sign saying as much - that got a lot of notice too. I think folks appreciated my approachability? At least I hope so.
I learned so much - the first thing being that I need to up my booth game! I saw some amazing displays and took a million notes/pictures so I can now plan for next time. It was my first time, a learning experience - I hope the A2 folks understand that and give me another go next summer. Lastly, I will edit the pieces I bring - stay on a theme, be more choose-y. Frame more... etc. etc.
There were dance parties amongst the artisans, art swaps, tips and advice, electricity shares, chats, hugs, runs to the A/C'd Michigan League building, Italian Ices, and a shared experience unlike anything I've ever had - I want to do it again!
PS: There are some new paintings in that slideshow up there! I passed the time (total hours: 40) painting, of course!
*most of the pieces are this way... some are more involved, of course!