Artwork for podcast The Thriving Artist
Do Art Fairs Pay Off?
25th March 2018 • The Thriving Artist • The Clark Hulings Foundation
00:00:00 00:48:35

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Do working artists need art fairs, even after securing representation? An artist himself, Ray Beldner explains the decision-making processes of developing stARTup Art Fair, as well as the important considerations for artists participating in any fair. In addition to running an impromptu cost-benefit analysis of art fair attendance, Ray and Podcast Host Daniel DiGriz discuss how to take the reigns and control your own career, the complexities of online selling, and the importance of a multi-pronged sales approach. Check out the show's highlights below, and then listen to the full 45-minute episode.

How Do Artists Benefit From Fairs?

  • “Having one-on-one face time with an artist is what the viewer wants, it’s a good way to sell art and look at art.”
  • “Fairs are a great place to test ideas, to test your market, to learn how to make sales.”
  • "You learn how to gauge interest, how to read buyers, close a sale, and how other artists pitch themselves and present their work---it can be an incredible learning experience, and profitable."
  • "If you want to reach the most amount of people with your work---curators, dealers, buyers---a fair is one of the best way to do it."

On Understanding and Controlling Your Own Business

  • “Artists are business people---what happens in the artist/gallery relationship is that artists cede their control and, in so doing, become infantilized and dependent on the dealer.”
  • “If you want to continuously grow your business, you have to grow your network of partners.”
  • “Dealers are partners, and you can have many partners in different regions.”
  • "It’s important that artists stop thinking of themselves by the old model---that only the dealer takes care of the artist."
  • "Galleries come and go, but in the end, if you don’t think of yourself as a business then you won’t understand the critical concept of making a career as an artist."

On Sales Strategy

  • "You need a multi-pronged approach to create a vibrant business, and one prong doesn’t hurt the other; they can actually support each other well."
  • “The move is away from brick-and-mortar galleries and toward something that’s event-driven and supported by an online component.”
  • “A lot of traditional venues for artists have been failing or falling away. The internet has made everything more transparent and given artists tools to promote themselves online as well as off.”
  • “You have to control setting the sales goals and building your team---that concept is empowering to artists.”



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