Art for Yerself, Or: What to Do With It After It's Printed

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Title: Art for Yerself, Or: What to Do With It After It's Printed
Creator: Jean C.
Date(s): October 1982
Medium: print
Fandom: Starsky & Hutch
Topic:
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Art for Yerself, Or: What to Do With It After It's Printed is a 1982 essay by Jean C..

It was printed in S and H, a Starsky & Hutch letterzine, issue #36.

The Essay

Sell it.

How? Barring a fabulous offer from some independently wealthy collector, you're gonna have to go to a con...hell, your artwork is gonna have to go to a con, and I can vouch for the fact that it's a heckuva lot more fun to go along with it than to chew your nails at home.

Cons come in all shapes and sizes, as do fans. There are mainstream cons and media cons, fantasy, feminist and special interest cons (Zebra Con springs to mind.) You have to gear your artwork to the kind of con you're sending it to. Example: If you show up at Zebra Con with an illo of a dragon, it'd damn well better have a wnite stripe down its red hide. Apart from complying with the rules about what is or is not acceptable in a particular artshow, you have to be able to reach your market. Battlestar Galactica portraits, no natter how gorgeous, are just not going to go sell at a mainstream S.F. con.

Okay, there are several handy rules to follow ithen planning a trip to a con in East podunk to sell your work.

1) Know your market. Find out before you pack up your work what sort of work to pack.

2} Don't flood the tarket. If you show up with a hundred illos and try to squeeze them through various loopholes, you'll irritate the artshow staff and probably drive down the prices on all your artwork.

3) Don't price yourself out of the market. Nobody is going to put a minimum of $50 on a pencil sketch no matter how hard you worked on it.
Remember, even if you worked for 90 hours on an illo, you can't expect to get
out of it what you think it's worth. Other people work hard to earn their money
 too.

4) Know the rules before you show up at the door. The staff is going to 
be hassled by everyone else—give 'em a break, huh?

5) Keep a record of your work. A small notebook is a nice way to keep
 your art records in order. For B&W illos, Xeroxes will do, but for color, the
best thing to do is to take slides of your work. Keep a record of what you take
 or send to which con, the minimum bids, what sold, your expenses (entry fees,
 mailing fee, hanging fee...they get you coming and going, don't they??) and any
 notes that you light have made such as: "the people here had no money", or 
"these turkeys wouldn't know art if it bit 'em in the ass'. You'll not only 
build up a portfolio, but you'll have a good idea of what sells at which cons, and how such you can expect to make on any given weekend. This is also very helpful when you send work to a con. If through some (Godforbid) mishap, you come up a piece short, you can pinpoint which piece it was that walked away, and how much the con or the Post Awful or UPS owes you for the agony of your loss.

h) Most important - be polite but firm. There's no need to start your weekend by screaming at the artshow staff. If you have a request, take it in writing on or attached to your entry forms, and again in person. These people are fans, they're going to want to help you. If you feel that someone has done you wrong, say so NICELY. It's more than likely that your problem is the result of some misunderstanding rather than some malicious intent on someone's part.

A lot of this is just common sense. It pays to prepare yourself for an art show.

Probably the cost important tip that I can give you concerning the presentation of your work has to do with packaging. A great picture in a sloppy mat will not sell as well as a fair picture that is presented beautifully. Spend a little money on professional matting if you can't do it yourself. It'll probably pay off in the long run. If you can convince your potential purchasers that your work is the best thing in this fandom since Leonardo gafiated, you'll probably comes home with a tidy little some of money and a good reputation in fandom.

Then it'll all start over again.

References