8 Essential Tips For Exhibiting Your Art


beechhouse media quick tips for exhibiting your art  

Welcome to my new series of quick tips for artists! This will be a series of much shorter posts which will be posted periodically between my feature posts. 

If there is a particular tip you want or some general art advice, let me know in the comments section and if I don’t know the answer I will ask our wonderful communities within the Artist Exchange and The Artist Hangout and everyone else I can!


Summer is rapidly approaching and with it a brand new season of summer art fairs and exhibitions. The summer season is actually the one I enjoy most. The weather is warmer for a start and it is an enjoyable day out even when you are not exhibiting your own art.

But if you are exhibiting your work there are eight tips that might just make the event go a little more smoothly.

1. Price your art. I know a lot of artists who don’t do this for whatever reason, but pricing your art does attract buyers who would normally walk past thinking that they can’t afford it.


You can create your own price labels by using good quality card stock. Try to make them look a little different by adding a brief description of the art and put the price at the bottom of the description.


If the price includes the frame make sure that this is indicated. If it doesn’t include the frame then make this clear and put something like frames from $X or £X or whichever currency you are using.


2. I often talk about art cards and these actually serve a range of purposes and are great for displaying at art fairs and exhibitions.


Create a card for each piece or series of work and provide the online link and your contact details so that buyers can pick through them and take them away.


I tend to use metallic linen card-stock (250 GSM) which adds a little texture and shine to them. I actually purchased a smaller printer which uses cheaper inks so that I could produce something quickly without having to print using my wide format printer and using up a ton of my more expensive ink. The cheaper printer runs fine using compatible cartridges so producing art cards hardly costs anything at all.


If you work on the image you can also use it for creating social-media posts or you can create a little pack of them in a cardboard envelope to give out, each with a different picture on and maybe add in a card that gives the buyer a small discount. 


Here’s an example of one of my art cards which has been handed out and used online.

synaptic awakening art by Mark Taylor  


3. Give your visitors something to do while they wait in line. Sometimes people will wait around to get to speak to you about your work and this is the ideal time to pass on some information and also collect some information too.


If you have an iPad or Android tablet you can have it on display (just make sure that it’s fixed down somehow) and run something like Mail Chimp subscribe (https://mailchimp.com/features/mailchimp-subscribe/ ) so that people can leave their email address and contact details.


Mail Chimp offers sign up forms and allow you to collect signups on your tablet at a cash register when you are travelling around events. 

It also allows you to create responsive email newsletters and if you only have up to 2,000 subscribers and send out less than 12,000 emails per month, the service is free. 

There are paid options which will offer a greater range of services and will allow you to have more subscribers, but for most art fairs, 2000 sign ups would be more than enough.


You can buy a second hand tablet nowadays which will serve the purpose well enough, but even new tablets (and especially Androids) are cheaper than they have ever been.


Just think how much time you would spend collecting email addresses. It may also be worth considering making the sign up into a prize draw, the prize could be a small piece of art, signed print, or something entirely different. Just check that the rules of the exhibition allow you to run a prize draw first.


If you are also selling on Print on Demand sites, let people know that signing up there is also an option and particularly if you run periodic offers and promotions.

There are even Apps which serve the same purpose although they usually cost a little upfront but free apps are available and some don't need you to be connected to the internet and will lock the rest of the device functionality down. You don't want people using your tablet to browse your competition!


4. Approach your space as a visitor and not as the artist. The key to winning visitors to your exhibition space is to make it look inviting. Get there early to set up but take a little step back periodically.


You will be viewing your space from behind the counter as it were when you set up. Take a step back, forward, and from each side to  view the space from other angles and ask yourself if you would stop at this particular space if you were only visiting.


5. Facebook Live is a great tool to use when out and about. If you can get a decent signal, stream some of the event over Facebook Live and let people know where you are. If they are close enough they might just pop along, if they’re not they still might be interested and they will at least get a virtual experience from your event.


6. Don’t forget to be prepared to accept other payment types apart from cash. I rarely carry any cash on me at all these days, it’s just so much more convenient to carry a debit or credit card.


Most people won’t be carrying enough in cash to buy your work but many will have some plastic in their pocket. There are some great deals around at the moment to provide card payment machines with some offering the machines for free and adding a small transaction cost to each purchase.


Make sure the transaction cost is included within the displayed price though. If the buyer prefers cash, you’ll have a little room to negotiate and reduce the cost if they pay this way. 


7. It doesn’t have to be an art fair! Something I discovered many years ago was that I didn’t necessarily have to exhibit only at art fairs. Of course those are where the art buyers generally go, but look for other events that have a fit with your art.


I wrote a little while ago that some artists are displaying at Dog and pet shows, and that some were offering phone cases with various breeds of dog which the artist had painted. Artists were also displaying portraits of dogs and used it as an opportunity to get orders for pet commissions.


Maybe there is an air show and you paint aircraft, or a boat and leisure show and you paint seascapes and nautical themed works. Look for the not so obvious trade and niche shows and you might find that some of those will have a better fit with your work, might be cheaper to exhibit at, and your niche audience will be there usually in their droves. 

Trade shows are good too if you want to sell corporate art. In fact a tourism trade show which I attended a few years ago actually started me on the road to producing artwork for small independent hotels.


8. Don’t over clutter your limited space. Too much art in a limited space will not sell art. Choose your best pieces and display those, and if a piece sells have something else to replace it with.


Think about adding in a TV screen which might show a slide show of some of your other works.  It takes up the space of a single work yet presents the viewer with a glimpse into the entire breadth of your work.


The best spaces I have seen in the past few years have taken a minimalist approach and have used technology well. 

The best way to find out about niche events is to contact your local exhibition or conference centre. They usually have a calendar of events for the next 12-months at least. 


So there you have it! 8 essential tips for exhibiting your art at art fairs and at other events. If you have a great tip or can offer any advice for other artists and those possibly even running their first show, please do leave a comment below!


Mark is a UK based artist and blogger who also loves technology. His work is sold in more than 150 retail locations across the USA and Canada and can also be purchased from his Pixels site here



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