Last year I grabbed a bunch of prints and tossed them out on the table and said there, welcome to my work. Alright, it was a little better than that, but you get the picture.
How things looked for Open Studios.
Wow! What a weekend. So much fun. This was only my second BOS (Beacon Open Studios), and apart from the mad dash that preparing for it always seems to be, it was all good. Even the prepping part is good because lots of work gets done on the house to my wife's eternal happiness. Sure, I am a bear to live with for a week or two, but the dining room walls get sheetrocked (last year) and then spackled, finished and painted (this year). We are figuring that next year's BOS will bring the dining room project to conclusion.
I was much more prepared this year than last. For starters, I was not carrying construction debris out the door as people were trying to come in. Everything was thoughtfully curated and hung. Last year I grabbed a bunch of prints and tossed them out on the table and said "there, welcome to my work." Alright, it was a little better than that, but you get the picture.
Last year I had 15 people come through and two hundred dollars in sales. This year between seventy and eighty people came through and I had almost one thousand dollars in sales. I am liking the trend. It's odd how the sales go. Both years I have sold work at the very beginning, as in first people through the door, and at the very end. Very little sales in between. Go figure.
I did something I think was smart because it turned out well. I made up 6" x 6" cards of my images using archival paper and ink, i.e. framable art pieces, and sold them for two dollars each. I wanted something priced at a level that anyone could afford. It takes me about an hour to print up twenty cards and the materials involved cost pennies, so I make almost forty dollars an hour off them. I won't get rich that way, but my guess is that it will be an important way to lodge my work in people's minds and it does pay for itself. A win-win situation.
Participating in Open Studios has easily been my most cost effective promotion effort to date. Mounting a solo gallery type show in other venues has not led to any sales to date and it is expensive to frame twenty to thirty photographs (though getting less so because now I have a bunch of frames that I can change out depending on conditions). It is a huge effort too.
I haven't had much success with being in gallery group shows either. I am thinking it is because I am unknown and my print prices double in the gallery context.
At any rate, Open Studios, very successful. Onward and upward...