I am back from New York and ready for a break! It was the first time we (my art collective artists and I) exhibited at Blueprint Show in New York, and it was a great success! The show is much more boutique and targeted to clients who were looking for work like ours. It was nice to see new and old faces and chat on a more personal level with buyers. The show is a business to business expo so it was targeted and focused and a bit intense because you do on-site negotiations, but it's also nice to do this in front of a real person, and they know you're a real person too rather than crazy long email chains.
SURTEX vs. Blueprint Show
Apples to Oranges. They're nothing alike except they share some of their buyers. The Blueprint Show is small, no walls, friendly atmosphere. Surtex has a cutthroat feel to it since the smallest booth is $5k. So exhibitors are in it 100% to sell and have no patience for small talk, time-wasters, amateur art, etc because of the pressure to recoup one's investment. You're frequently bombarded with promotional, up-selling type emails and the Javits is majorly overwhelming to the senses.
Blueprint Show is less than half that price and it's curated so the work feels more cohesive. It's a no-frills show with heart. The work I must say skews toward hand-painted, hand-crafted look. There's no bureaucratic 50 page PDFs to sift through to understand how to exhibit. It's a straightforward show that depends on exhibitors to help market the show. Blueprint really does count on exhibitors to be in the licensing world already in order to contact existing clients and get them to come. So, foot traffic was not as high, but the quality of the buyers was high. Capiche?
Also, ugh tradeshows!! Does anyone else have anxiety? Love seeing fellow artists, really dread the lead-up and travelling fully loaded up with stuff. But, by this go-around, I've got a really good handle on what each part costs which helps prepare. Sigh.
On "Leveling Up"
I feel like I have leveled up this year and here's how... I'm continuously focusing on improving my work. I see what it can be and I see what I produce, and I see what's selling, and I want to maintain a high, commercially viable quality to my work. My level of taste and my skill level are finally meeting! But, I also want to keep moving forward on my goal of getting published in the children's book market! Will it prove to be a distraction or the next best thing in my career?
But-BUT, as many of you have probably figured out by now, it's VERY very difficult to live solely upon the income you make by licensing your art. Perhaps in times past you could easily do this, but the art licensing market is flooded with good artwork and we're all pitching to the same buyers. Since I don't have a brand-type illustration style that I sell, I have got to diversify.
So, how do I live?! I'm translating. I'm doing graphic design. I'm selling my art on Etsy. I'm licensing my knitting patterns, fonts, and artwork. It's a patchwork career. I'm still hustling on the daily, y'all. On. the. daily. Oh, and let's not forget I'm not dependent on a single income. This is huge.
There are no shortcuts unless you're born into wealth.
Just hard work... even if it's cute work.
Speaking of which, you should totally buy from my Etsy shop. Seriously! So much cute work.
And if you're not in the mood to buy, you should 'heart' a couple of paintings so it helps others see my work. I appreciate it! Thank you so much!
And, let me know if you have any questions about the shows. That's what these here comment sections are for!