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I have been an artist my whole life, as I suspect most artists and craftspeople are. Both of my parents are fine artists, so the influence of the arts in my life has been a constant since I was just a little one. As I grew up and started to find my voice as a creative professional, I began showing my work at every event and venue that I could. Now at age 33, I have amassed a little bit of experience and advice I’m hoping is useful for some other creatives out there.

Be Open to the Possibilities

Some of my best sales were achieved in a lovely bakery in Jersey City, not in a gallery or a fair that I spent lots of money to participate in. As long as you have a general idea of who your audience is, and what they’re willing to pay, there are limitless ideas for displaying your art. While living in Brooklyn years ago, I remember artists that showed their work in a local hip laundromat. Bookstores, bistros, city and state buildings, dentist offices, law firms – just about any place you can imagine might be a good spot to display your work as long as your audience frequents those places.

Have a Plan Besides Just ‘Selling’

Some years ago I began showing my art and wares at a variety of outdoor fairs in New York City. They were all expensive, and all took lots of time and energy out of my weekly schedule. At the end of each, I hadn’t even made my deposit back and I was so disappointed! I was invited to appear at another event a few months later and had the idea that I’d make it worth my while even if I didn’t make one dollar. I focused browsing visitors on my email list sign up, passed out tons of free coloring pages, talked to everyone and shared my social media info. I got lots of fans and followers out of that experience and have looked at all events as real marketing opportunities ever since!

Be Prepared

Always be overly prepared for any event you’re about to participate in. Have business cards, promo materials, and fresh flowers ready. Free food and drinks can sometimes work against you, so be selective depending on who you are expecting at your showing. I always put together ‘goody bags’ because 9 times out of 10 small children will be coming to see my artwork and books. Be genuinely interested in those coming to see you. Ask them questions and make them feel like they matter… because at the end of the day your fans and customers really do make you who you are as an artist!

I’d love to talk further if you have any questions or tips of your own. Please comment below and get the conversation started.

Ashley Lucas {aka Lady Lucas} is an artist, children’s book illustrator and author, crafting expert and ‘The Queen of Cute Characters’. She has shown her work at various venues and events all over the world, from New York City to Salzburg, Austria. You can find her online at www.ladylucas.com or say hello on social media: @LadyLucasArt.

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