Object Dar't

October 2, 2011

5 MUST DO's for Artistic Success: little Hey Day as illustration (blogtoberfest 1)

Forrest Gump's Mom was right! Life really IS like a box of chocolates; you just never know what you're going to get. I could never have predicted that Hey Day, a little farm event held at the Mass Auduban's Wachusett Meadow in little inky, dinky Princeton, Mass would be such an AMAZING experience. Truth be told, life has continually defied logic since my entrance into the world of art. There are literally some days that I think I couldn't have written fiction stranger than reality! lol When I woke up and saw the cloudy skies, I was sure there would be virtually no foot traffic - we've all been told that selling is a numbers game. The more people that walk by your wares, the higher the chance you have of selling. Hey Day 2011 was proof-positive that THAT rule is a bunch of hooey.  In actuality, I made some earth-shattering connections which could potentially catapult my career, I sold my first original which was aggressively priced (definitely not a bargain piece from an emerging artist) and I had an epic day of sales. In fact, that one day netted me more than my two-month solo show. To say I was shell-shocked would be an understatement. How could 5 hours possibly out-perform two months?!?! And the whole drive home, I tried to wrap my brain around the reality. Why did it work out this way? How did that happen? What was fate and what part was action on my part? As a result, I began to think about the whole experience to break down the answers to these questions (so that I can do it AGAIN!) So for those of you who are waiting for their "Hey Day", here is the breakdown:

1. Preparation

All set up in the morning with a little help from Mini-Me!
 In spite of my fears, I forged ahead as if it would be the MOST successful event ever. And herein lies the awesome power of positive thinking. According to Henry Hartman, success happens when preparation meets opportunity. I'll be damned if I'm ever going to meet opportunity without being prepared. So I arrived early to clean off my table, set up the table display of prints and my work and got my iPhone all set to accept credit cards

The barn converted into a beautiful art gallery!

 2. Determination

And here's what I love about New Englanders; they just aren't going to let any crazy weather (short of a blizzard) keep them indoors. This is in large part because if they DID, they'd almost never get out. LOL People simply came out equipped with umbrella's, rain coats and their Wellies (including me!) . This is a great illustration of DETERMINATION because in short, nothing outside of yourself can really stop you - unless you let it.

3. Customer Service

Helping customers with prints

Putting down my first layers of color
While there were tons of activities (and Fall food galore), people came in from the fun to see all the artwork. Which again was a big surprise for me because generally when I go to fairs or events with my kids, I don't have the luxury of perusing things that interest me. And yet, these people did. It was my job to help them, make them HAPPY while they were with me, be interested in them and at the same time do a little bit of soft, market research. Taking time to find out from customers what they like because I intend on doing more of that. After all - my whole mission in my work is to spread happiness and there is no work without happy customers!

4. Professionalism 

Part of being an exhibitor at Hey Day, came with the responsibility of demonstrating. I had my studio set up and was working on my latest painting Brookfield Orchards. While the initial thought of painting in front of others seemed a bit corny, it actually turned out to be such a GREAT thing to do as an artist. It drew people in mentally! There were lots of questions about how I start a painting and the process that I go through. Which is not something I typically think of others being interested in but in reality - THEY ARE! And frankly, I connected with people as a result.

Engaging with customers!
5. Passion
I attribute this "MUST DO" as probably the singularly most important element on this list. If you are passionate about what you do, it shows. I remember my husband remarking once that something I cooked lacked my love and that it tasted like it. And it was true! It just didn't taste as good yet it was the same standard recipe I'd made 100 times before. Anything done or made with love, comes out so much better. And although most folks can't verbalize that, human beings have accute instincts. They sense when something is forced or trite or coming from a place of insincerity. And they roll right by it! So if you aren't doing what you absolutely love, you just shouldn't be doing it. There is no way for you to SUCCEED at what you don't love. You may eek by but you won't excel. So on this list, I'm referencing passion on a grand scale; think big picture. Passion ignites others on all levels. Passion inspires others; it inspires your customers, it inspires others to see you (seriously - you don't think you get there all by yourself do you?) succeed and it causes word to spread about you and what you do. Be passionate about what your art does or says to other human beings. Be passionate about helping others with no regard for what they will or can do for you. The universe takes care of all that so long as your intentions are pure and you come from a place of goodness.  

While I know everyone has heard about these things previously, I have to say I've met a LOT of fellow artists who just have no inherent sense in these matters. While there IS an element of luck (such as whether one of your customers is a gallery owner or not), most artists seem to just be waiting for some lucky break without sticking their necks out at all. Which is natural BUT the laws of life dictate that if you put nothing in, you get nothing out. Showing up just isn't enough!

Other Hey Day photos:

I'm a calendar girl!
The 2012 Massachusetts Audoban/Wachusett Meadow Calendar was sold at Hey Day. I'm "Miss June" ;)

The original works of art for the Calendar were displayed in all their glory. It's amazing how many talented artists there are out here in the country. Proof that genius doesn't just exist in the city!