In this blogpost i would like to talk a bit about my experience on my first expo, especially the opening, and i hope it encourages you to set up your own!
How it all started
I went to an exposition of friends, around a year before i decided to do mine. They were present at a local art collective and they invited friends and family. Food was present, music even and a general good vibe. I wanted to try something similar.
So i am a regular customer at my local American Book Center and i noticed that they organize various expositions upstairs. One day i just asked the store clerk if i could enter, and after showing my work he was excited and then the preparations were being made.
At first i decided to just use prints and frame them, invite a couple of friends/family and generally have a good time. The news came to my dads ears, and as a man who was a succesful artist back in the day, with expositions around the world of his photography, he implied i should take this more seriously. I should ditch the paper prints for this purpose, and he would help me get some proper prints.
The more we worked on this, the more serious the entire idea became! I decided to invite alot of people. Print flyers, ask friends, friends of friends, old friends, and future friends. Family and in-laws.
I went to the local print stores and noticed a few options that caught my attention:
(I do not own any of the 3 images shown as example below)
Option on wood: Artwork would be printed on wood. Either with or without white colors (so that the wood would replace everything that is white) I did not choose this option because my work contains too many value ranges on different places. It would be a mess. This option, however, would work on media with strong contrast and a limited valuerange.
Museum glass: This is the most aesthetic pleasing of all options. It is something, as the name says, that could hang in a museum. The colors come out nicely and the print has a nice coating of glass for an extra professional feel. I considered this option but it was a tad too expensive. I do not have an audience that generally collects more expensive artwork/originals, mostly prints, so i should find a nuance for now.
Forex print: This is the option i decided to take. Its a high quality form of cardboard which is very light. the colors come out extremely nicely even though the print is extremely matte. However, since the material was so light/fragile it couldnt be fastened with a hanging device. This proved to be a pain later on, since i had to fasten it myself!
90% of the effort was aimed towards the opening. The most people would be there at once, after that the expo would be present for a month where only a trickle of people would be there at the same time.
I invited everyone i have and had contact with, the latter aiming to reconnect and hopefully rekindle old friendships. In many cases it happened succesfully! I am working with old friends now to expand my business and i had great talks too with people i didn't see for a while! People who were important in my life connected with each other as well which was great to see.
To backup the costs of the event i had a booth selling prints, as well as showcasing work not hanging at the expo itself.
The most important part of this expo was not to sell prints necessarily, but mostly for the reasons mentioned above. its a great experience, and it adds alot to a professional atmosphere around your work in general.
I recommend every artist take a stab at this. Invite your family, friends, old and new, fellow artist and print alot of flyers! Spread the world and who knows who will come to check out your work. It's a great reason for you and enthousiasts to look at your work in a different light.
Hope this was interesting and even inspired you to take a similar initiative as i did! To this day i even hear at conventions that people saw my artwork IRL at this exact expo and i connect with them immediately. If you have any questions regarding setting up your own expo, make sure to message me!
All the best,