I don't do too many booth type shows but choose instead to have my work in galleries. I believe I have been a consignment artist at The Artist's Shop in Missoula, Montana since 2011 and I have had a couple of solo exhibitions there. I have shown at numerous other galleries over the years and that is my preferred way to sell my work. I also have work in a small gallery in Brooklyn, NY called Brigid's Well and hope to get my work better known in that part of the country.
I admire the tenacity and dedication of artists who haul their work and their booth set-up all over the place and spend several days trying to make a profit and have something to show for their efforts. They pay show entry and booth fees and of course have to pay gas and sometimes lodging costs to attend shows. It is a lot of physical work to set up/take down and requires stamina to smile and greet people for three days! They get to keep all their sales though and hopefully they have the right mix of artwork to get the sales they need.
I, on other hand, drop off or send my work to a gallery and they hang it for me and take a sizeable commission on the sales. I get to stay home and make more art while they attempt to sell my work for me.
There are advantages and disadvantages to both efforts---and some people do both. I have a son in high school and that keeps me close to home for now. I enjoy interacting with potential customers and talking with them about my art and that is the one reason I do the occasional booth event or studio tour. It is a real boost to the fragile artist ego to have people admire what you create and even want to buy it. Unfortunately gallery personnel don't have time to call you every day and tell you what someone said about your work! Sometimes we have to get ourselves out in front of the public to find out for ourselves.
That is also a good thing about doing solo exhibitions once in a while where you have an opening reception and can interact with your audience and see what pieces they spend time looking at and comment about. It is very enlightening and usually a positive experience. I have had more than 10 gallery openings for my work and never regretted spending the time to be there all evening and talk to whoever was interested. I am always grateful that there ARE people who are interested!
So when you are looking for that unique Christmas gift or gift for any occasion don't forget to consider buying something from a local artist at a craft/art show or gallery in your "neighborhood". Be assured they will be grateful and honored that you chose to purchase their work. Every sale matters no matter how small and if you share the purchase with someone else as a gift or display it in your home that artist is getting some promotion and exposure thanks to you.
Look for my work at The Artist's Shop on Higgins downtown in Missoula, Montana. There are many wonderful artists who show their work at this artist co-op. I am honored that they let me share the space with them!
The Artist's Shop