The Small Shop Roundup – My First Art Market Experience!

McKenna Woolleyart0 Comments

I’m so happy to have been a part of the Small Shop Roundup! It was a great experience and a good excuse for me to pull myself together for my first attempt at doing an art-market! Now I’m ready and rearing for many more in the future! In fact, the next one is next month, Saturday July 18th but more on that later! 😉

Aside from preparing original paintings and prints to sell I needed to come up with a concept for displaying my work and to actualize it. I did some research by attending other markets and scoping out various ways other artists were displaying their work to get a feel for what I wanted for myself and what I didn’t. Attending a market gave me a good feel for the customer experience and helped me know what things are necessary and how I should portray my art and my brand.

For my display I wanted something that helped the viewers envision my artwork on their walls, so my base idea was to build a large free standing wall to fit within a 4×6 foot space… With ya know, a mini-couch and a lamp on a table beside it. Haha! That’s for realz what I wanted. The idea was grand but our car space is limited so I had to make adjustments so that it would also be moveable and, yeah, functional. I cut the dimensions in half and planned to place the display on top of a table. This gave me some flat space to use for my smaller items as well as a “wall” for hanging framed work.

Since I knew I’d be required to sit aside my booth I also envisioned a tall but small round table for my business cards and a bar stool to sit at. This would bring me up to eye level with my visitors, making myself present and available for answering questions rather than sitting on a lower plane as people approached. I don’t know why this matters to me but the psychology of it felt like a good and important aspect. In the end I wasn’t able to get the tall table I wanted but was able to get the barstool for a killer deal.

I built my display much like an oversized science-fair board. This allowed it to sit up free-standing and also fold up to fit in our car. I had a great support team who helped me sand, paint it, and mount the hinges!

My goal for an art market is to make a lot of my work more affordable to a wider audience of collectors so I make that balance by providing cheaper framing or unframed options. I made the choice that I would size many of my smaller works for ‘normal’ sized frames, aka anything one could buy at Target or IKEA. One day when I’m real legit I’ll work along side someone who does custom framing as well, for those wanting to make the worthwhile investment. For other artwork outside of art markets ie; large works, show and gallery pieces I usually make my own panels which is costly, but also worth it.

A few days before the market I had my art-friend McKenzie Jones come over to help me calm my brain and narrow down the work that I would offer. She saved my life! I have a lot of stuff and so I needed that 2nd brain to just bounce off ideas! She helped me walk through the shopper’s experience and so I was able to eliminate the clutter and pick only the work that was strongest for my brand. She also suggested that I print off my logo and an artist statement. Uh genius, why didn’t I think of that?

MW Artist Statement

I was up until about 3am the night before the show signing, framing, packaging and labeling all of my work. What can I say, I work best under pressure! 😉 Here’s how it turned out. Next time I’ll be making a few adjustments. My logo needs to be a bit bigger… it looks a little sad and small. haha!

MW - Small Shop Roundup

MW - Small Shop Roundup

I shared a tent with the lovely Caitlyn of Shop Most Adoringly! She’s a pro at art markets and has been doing them for years. I’ve been her “market-apprentice” picking her brain about how to do one, which ones to apply to and all that jazz.

The day went GREAT! I had quite a few followers come to specifically purchase my work. It made me feel incredible to know that people came for my art and really do care about what I do and are moved by my work enough that they want it in the homes. I met a whole bunch of great people, and fellow vendors who were all so kind and all incredibly talented!

It ended right at 6, exactly when the winds started blowing and the rains came pouring so I stayed under the tent with my artwork and display as I awaited my husband Philip to pick me up. We got drenched putting all my stuff in the car yet nothing got damaged. What a day to remember! I need to say, what a blessing Phil is to be so supportive of me and my projects and dreams. I love him so much and am grateful for the father and husband he is!
11407037_10153055495818882_6673073678338282836_nI’m really enjoying the thrill and challenge of putting myself out there in these beginning stages of my career. It’s a lot of work but it’s work that is enriching and exactly what I want to be doing. Thank you for supporting me and my dream of being an artist!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *