I’ve been searching for some time, for something that I think will make me very happy.
And, as is the case, when you start searching, you start finding.
Maybe not the thing you thought you were looking for, but something else, something even more beautifully life enhancing…….
and the answers came from the North……..
Sheffield, to be exact! In that delightful county of Yorkshire. At the “Art in the Gardens” Event that they hold there annually. I had never heard of it until 10 days ago, but it sounded like something I needed to see and participate in. So I went. And liked what I saw, very much. Its an Arts and Crafts fair held at the Botanical Gardens, with various little stalls and tents dotted around the gardens and amongst the trees, selling art, ceramics, cards, wood carvings, glassware, clothing, knick-knacks and all things creative. So, a lovely day out in itself. But I was there for a particular reason. I was there to see the “Premier Artists” who were exhibiting there. Because I knew a few of them, as we’d met before at other art events. And they, like me, are professional artists, who need to make a living selling art. I greeted each of them at their tent, admired their work, and had a chat about how the event was going for them, how they liked the venue, and listened to the good and positive feedback I got………….
But there was one conversation that was more positive and helpful above all others. And that was with the lovely Helen Parsley – who I met for the first time in June at Patchings (an Art Fair in Nottinghamshire). It is rare for me to be bowled over with another artists work. I see a lot of art, and can admire it, like it and even respect its technical ability to a large extent. But I was totally bowled over with her art. Because she paints atmosphere in her landscapes and I can totally relate to that. So, I was delighted that she was at the Art in the Gardens event and went over to say hello again. She and I are both friendly and chatty, so the conversation flowed, and I told her that the reason I was there was to suss out the venue as a possibility for me to exhibit there, because I’ve always struggled to find a gallery that will take my artwork. And then she said the magic words: Yes, me too, I don’t want to give 50% of my sales to a gallery, I’d far rather do these events, they’re harder work, but you meet the buyers direct, and get all the sales proceeds for yourself. So I asked her how many events she did, and there were a large number throughout the year, and she very kindly told me which they were scattered up and down the country. It was SO refreshing to hear another successful artist say what I’ve felt for some time. That galleries are not the whole answer to selling art. They may be useful, but they are not the definitive answer.
And looking at Helens tent, I could see the little touches that make all the difference to selling. I could see why she was so popular. And I’ve made mental notes, to do the same when I next do an Art Fair. Because I think that’s the way forward for me…………..