rawcolumbus

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On Tuesday, I participated in what will likely be my last show with RAW Artists. I have done four of them, and in the future I’ll write up a post about my thoughts on RAW overall- generally positive things. These shows have been a very positive experience for me, and I’m so glad I did them!

This show was located in Columbus, Ohio, only about an hour away from where I currently live. For every show done in a home city, RAW offers its artists a complimentary show in another city. This show was one of two comp shows I had available this year; I used the other last month in Indianapolis.

While Indianapolis was a very profitable show, I can’t say the same for Columbus, though it was still a mostly pleasant experience. I’ve gone 50/50 on shows with RAW being profitable. I did at least make back my expenses, so I didn’t lose anything by attending. It was very disappointing, though, I won’t lie.

There are quite a few factors I think contributed to this show not being as successful as the last.

First, and I think most importantly, this show was full of incredible artists. Don’t get me wrong, every show I’ve participated in has been full of really great artists. But this show in particular was very impressive. I felt really outclassed.

Also notable was the fact that I was right across from another digital artist, which was actually a first for me at these shows. Not that they don’t bring in digital artists to RAW, because they definitely do, I just haven’t really seen any at any of the shows I’ve personally participated in. I was across from Andrew Thompson, and seriously, check out his work because it’s awesome. I’m a fan.

But what I really think was the nail in my wallet’s coffin for this show was the lack of emphasis on my prints. In every show I’ve worked, my prints are what goes. Which makes sense- my large pieces aren’t “originals,” even if the framing/presentation is what makes them unique. So I don’t usually expect to sell those (and figure if I do, it’s a bonus). Which is fine with me; they decorate my home when they’re not on display!

The baby is just a cute bonus (his name is Augustus).

But it’s my smaller prints that usually sell.

There wasn’t as much space in this venue as there was in Indianapolis. It made for more of a nice, personal gallery feel, but it also left less space for a display table. While my Indianapolis setup looked like this…

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… my Columbus setup looked like this.

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I’m actually quite pleased with how it turned out. Each show with RAW has presented its own set of challenges in setting up, and I like the way my presentation turned out this time. But there’s a pretty significant difference in table space, and thus a pretty significant difference in emphasis on my prints for sale. It was so crowded, a lot of people didn’t seem to notice my little table advertising my prints and business cards. Later in the evening, I did grab a display rack from my car to put up some of my 8×10 prints, which I think helped a bit. I’ve noticed people like to look through things, to be able to touch and sort through their options before deciding to buy. I may have done better placing my table in the middle and making my 8×10 and 4×6 displays much more prominent. There’s no way to know for sure. But I think emphasis on my prints at any shows I do going forward will need to be a priority.

Speaking of my table, this blog post wouldn’t feel complete without mention of my biggest frustration of the evening… My table being used as a bar table. Pretty much all night. Yeah, not cool, really disrespectful. People were actually pushing my things out of the way to set down their drinks, or rest their arms, or whatever else they needed to set down. I later discovered a ring from someone’s beer bottle staining my tablecloth- my own tablecloth that I brought, not the venue’s- and ruining several of my $1 stickers. At least some of the people who decided my space belonged to them were thoughtful enough to push my things out of the way before setting their stuff down, I guess?

Yeah, I know. The correct answer was to be assertive and ask them to move. But as someone who struggles with some social anxiety (which makes events like this a bit hard to begin with), that’s really difficult for me to do.

So, that’s about it. Overall I really did enjoy the show. The performances were absolutely fantastic, the other artists who were there were amazing, and it was a really fun atmosphere. RAW shows usually are. I’m not complaining about the experience, because I definitely did enjoy it! And I met and made connections with a lot of people, which is always a good thing. Still, it’s interesting to analyze what worked and what didn’t for me, from a marketing/sales perspective.

If you missed out on getting prints, you can pick them up from my Etsy store any time!

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