Affordable Art Fair Amsterdam, Autumn 2018. My first fair in Amsterdam and the Netherlands. I am not going to lie, at first, I found the visitors distant and cold. Most would not reply to a hello (pretending they haven't seen or heard me) and if they saw me approaching from the corner of their eye they'd smoothly run away 🏃♂️😂 After a couple of days I felt defeated, I usually make a good amount of sales on the opening night, where people are cheerful, excited to see the artworks and want to make sure to purchase the piece(s) that caught their attention before anyone else puts their hands on it. Unfortunately, that evening wasn't the case and the following couple of days weren't much better. I hadn't sold much, pressure and anxiety started to kick in. You start questioning yourself, your booth design, your body language and how you approach people. You question the fair organisation its location, the weather and you even question the quality of the visitors (by now you can probably tell I am quite the anxious individual!). Participating in art fairs is costly, probably more expensive than you can imagine if you don't have any experience in that field. Breaking even takes quite a few sales and the sooner you reach this goal during the fair the better. It wasn't only the financial aspect that dispirited me; during those first few days, I had very little conversation with visitors (some conversation, but far less than at other fairs). I understand that it can be quite daunting to have a salesperson approach you but, speaking for myself, I genuinely love talking about the works, my artists and art generally. My company is only small, meaning I work alone most of the time in an office. The fairs are my way to connect with people and share the passion I have for my artists. I have had many fair visitors telling me they can't afford the works when I approached them at fairs, but it doesn't stop me from opening a conversation. Often viewers look puzzled looking at my booth. Too dark for some, breathtaking for others but whether they like what they see or not, my booth and the artworks I exhibit always makes for a great conversation! Anyway, to come back to my story about feeling down and defeated, the last day of the fair came, Sunday, and all the people I saw lingering around the first 3 days looking intensively at the artworks came back with bright smiles, a lot of conversation and tough negotiation skills!
This fair was an emotional roller coaster and by the end of it, I was VERY tired but extremely happy about this last restless day of sales. I was so grateful for this outcome and for the life lesson the Dutch gave me.
If you would like to see where I will be exhibiting next please follow me on my events page here.
NA Ltd. Blog, Behind the scenes, post #4. Affordable Art Fair Amsterdam Autumn 2018