The Importance of Artists Supporting Other Artists

Artwork by  Pat Hay

Artwork by Pat Hay

Art shows and festivals are a lot of work and they are not always as lucrative as you hope they will be. Picking the right shows can lead to earning money and gaining confidence in your work. However, one of the most valuable things you can get from an art show is not money- it is the connections with other artists. It can be beneficial to check out what other people are doing with their art. One aspect of the artist community that is very valuable, is the lack of competition. While sometimes you may initially be defensive of your work, it quickly fades when you realize your success and their success are not mutually exclusive.

Here are a few things you can do to support other artists (I have some of my own fellow art friends featured throughout this post, give them a look!):

Artwork by heos ceramics

Artwork by heos ceramics

Show genuine interest in their work

Shows are busy, but if you get the chance to walk around and talk to people, you totally should. Learning what other artists are doing and where they are doing it is valuable. It can help spark ideas within you and it can help you find a group of people who have similar interests. This could lead to future collaborations or just people to hang out with. If you show a genuine interest in what people are doing, it can help fuel your passion and gain you some friends along the way.


Artwork by  Peter Oravetz Arts

Give credit

Social media is a powerful thing. If you have acquired something from another local artist, give them props. It is not difficult to post a picture of a new piece and tag their page. That will send some traffic their way and it will show other artists and followers that you support your community. Another way to give credit is by displaying their work. We have work all over our apartment and none of it comes from Golden Key Prints. Every piece that decorates are walls is from a friend or another local artist. When people come over, they get to see the work that we have collected from other people.


SarahDrawsThings  and her niece with a GKP print

SarahDrawsThings and her niece with a GKP print

Go to their shows/ open houses

Sometimes it is hard to go out to an art festival or show when you are not participating. Summer shows are hot, have large, slow moving crowds and you don’t HAVE to be there. But you should go. Go with and smile and browse. Bring your friends a water or a beer. Shop their booth even if you know every item in there. Grab a bag and help a customer check out. Talk them up to anyone who comes through. Talking yourself up can be awkward, but bragging about your friends can come pretty easy. Be the helper you would want at your own show or festival. Additionally, you can see if the festival would be worth your time in the future. Open houses are also a great opportunity to check out where other people work and create. These can definitely inspire you to reinvent your space or aspire towards a different atmosphere in the future. Your friends will be proud to share their space with you, and happy that you showed interest in them.

Bonus Note: Purchasing

When you buy from your friends, do not expect a discount. Do not ask them to give you a lower price. Do not ask them to go above and beyond for you. Not because they can’t, but because by paying full price, you show them that you value their work. If they choose to give you the discount, make it clear that you are willing to pay the asking price. It is really hard to set prices and stick with them. Holding your ground with friends and family can be even more difficult. Paying them full price will reinforce their confidence in their work.

Artwork by  livebylsr

Artwork by livebylsr

Art Festivals from the Artist's Perspective: Installment #1


So, the season begins... Art Shows! Festivals! etc.

Philadelphia has an exceptional number of these every year, largely due to all of the suburbs and high number of practicing artist and crafters, who do so at least part-time. I am by no means a veteran of this culture, so take what I say with a grain of salt. However, in the short time I've been doing shows I've learned some things. Here's my incomplete guide to navigating art shows:

Selecting Your Show
In the short time I've been participating in shows, selecting shows can greatly impact your experience. I've noticed that picking the wrong show can mean you end up with a net-loss, but picking the right show could lead to having patrons for the foreseeable future! Sometimes it is hard to figure out what shows will be "good" or "bad". Instead, you should decide on an individual level, is this the right show for me and my work? Personally, I tend to stray from "craft shows", because this could include anything ranging from woodworking to children's capes (yes, that's a market apparently). Personally, I do not see myself as a crafter, but to be seen as an "artist”. You must being willing to participate in fine arts shows which usually translates to increase in $'s. Bringing me to my next topic...

Although money shouldn't be the deciding factor in your selection of show, the bottom line is- it likely will be. The cost of the jury fees, booth space, time to create the art, time to take off of your "real job" to participate in the show, materials, transportation and other expenses all add up! Don't underbid yourself to make a quick buck; this can hurt you in the long run. Patrons that truly appreciate your work will request it from you, regardless of the price, and if they're a returning customer, you can adjust your price accordingly.

Time Management
Be wary of deadlines. They can sneak up on you. Having the bulk of your work completed weeks or even months prior to your show is useful "in case of..." In the instance of printmaking, I can pretty accurately gauge how much time it will take me to create a certain number of pieces. But, there are always moments that- despite how much you plan- still occur and disrupt your schedule. Just be flexible. This is easier said than done, but it is possible. In a show earlier this year, I thought my wife and I brought everything we needed. We dropped off all of the art, chairs, table, tent, and racks necessary to set up within 10 minutes on arrival. "This is pretty good!" I thought to myself, as I began unpacking. As I set up the tent structure, I looked in the bag for the roof.
My heart was at home.
Luckily, I didn't live far from this show, so I managed to drive home and back before the show started, but had I not, I would have been out of luck!

More blog posts will follow on this topic, so stay tuned! If you have any similar stories or suggestions for practicing artists/crafters for displaying work or planning for shows, leave a comment below!