Several of my “acquaintances inside the computer” have recently blogged about outdoor show setup. Maggie posted about tents and the dos and don’ts of outdoor shows, and Casey has a whole blog about it! The tips they give are priceless; if I ever do outdoor shows, all I ever need to know is in the world of art blogs. However, not many folks have mentioned indoor shows. Could be that normal artists stick to outdoor fairs and trade shows, whereas Anthrocon is… well… weird.
Crashoctopus by Meg Lyman
8×10″ gouache on paper
I have been to a few conventions already. By convention (or con), I mean a get-together for fantasy, sci-fi, or some other “fandom.” Cons usually have big art shows, but they also have dealer booths, seminars, contests, costumes, and music. They’re all very selectively themed… fandoms can get weird. So far, I’ve been to Con on the Cob, run by my good friend Andy Hopp, and DragonCon. Both are general fantasy/sci-fi conventions. Quite nerdy, but tons of fun.
Mauveater by Meg Lyman
9×12″ gouache on Claybord
This year, I’m venturing to a Anthrocon, a “furry” convention. The furry fandom is the weirdest I’ve come across so far. They like anthropomorphic animals – think Disney’s Robin Hood. If you want to know more, check out WikiFur. I never even knew about this stuff until recently, but there are online communities dedicated to furry artwork, and I’m getting a lot of traffic there. I’m beginning to think there might be a market for cute squids and nerdy Linux art!
Football Squid by Meg Lyman
8×10″ gouache on illo board
Anthrocon has a huge art show; a place to showcase your work and maybe win a few awards. But more importantly, it is a silent auction, and Like eBay, it is potentially very lucrative. There is also an area called “Artists’ Alley,” where artists sit and sell prints and take commissions and doodle in other people’s sketchbooks.
Laurel Lagomorph by Meg Lyman
5×7″ oil on Claybord
I requested two 2×4′ panels for the show. Anthrocon sent me blank bid sheets and stickers. I laid out my two panels on my floor with masking tape and jammed as many matted pieces in as I could, then wrote up bid sheets for the front and stickers for the back. My starting bids are fairly low; although some fine artists can sell 5x7s or 6x6s for $100, my bids will start at $35 for the 5x7s. It’s not just me; even the best artists in this genre can’t charge what they could if they painted still-life oranges instead of upright mammals.
The Halfback by Meg Lyman
9×12″ gouache on paper
Once I got my show art picked out, I matted up a bunch of other originals to sell in Artists’ Alley. I scanned files and had a few prints made. Usually I do this at a local place called Silver Dog Digital, but they are very high quality and correspondingly very expensive. For a convention where I’ll have over a hundred 8×10″ prints, I couldn’t afford their prices, so I went to Kinko’s and got mediocre prints for $1.24 each. I considered print-on-demand, but my friend at Rapid POD is very busy and I sort of waited until the last minute.
Cuddlefish by Meg Lyman
5×7″ colored pencil on paper
I took one of each print and threw it in a clear sleeve, and they went into a binder that will lay open on the table. I have a nice display box for the non-show originals so people can flip through them. I made up an inventory sheet and a table display sign (name, URL, prices). I had little cards made of my “adopt” cat and dog, and cut them into ~2×3″ cards to give away with purchases. They’ll also be on sale for $1, with proceeds going to the local shelter.
Here’s the setup. Now I just have to make sure it all fits in my suitcase.