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How I Sold Nearly 10K of Art at My First Art Fair

This writing was created by Onnissia Harries and formatted for the BlkArthouse blog with the permission of the artist.


BEFORE WE BEGIN...

Let me start by saying that I did not go in with the expectation to sell anything at The Other Art Fair. Many people in my life thought I was absurd for setting “low expectations” for myself. I went to the art fair with the intention to be memorable and build my network through meaningful connections. I looked at it as a marketing expense that would eventually help propel my career forward in the long term. This was my mindset. By focusing on this, I took a lot of pressure off myself to break even or make a profit. It allowed me to chill out and relax.

Former BlkArtist Onnissia Harries (left) and BlkArthouse Founder Tatiana Rice (right).


1. HIRE A CONSULTANT

The first thing I did was hire a consultant because I was intent on reaching my goals. I booked a consultation with David at Dazed & Confucius. I told David that more than anything I wanted to be a memorable artist at this fair and make connections. Again, my focus was not on selling. David gave me tangible advice in alignment with my goals and it helped me to stand out at the fair.


2. RESEARCH AND ESTABLISH A PLAN

The Other Art Fair offers a TON of resources to their exhibitors on how to be successful. I spent hours scouring through all of them and went beyond to do additional research. I took notes and I made a plan. When planning, I work backward by visualizing the end result first. By visualizing the end result, I can anticipate problems and find solutions to them before they occur. By the end of it, I have a clear road map on how to move forward.

Pro-tip: When making plans, be patient with yourself. It took weeks of effort and research. Make a checklist with manageable goals that are easy to accomplish and do not procrastinate.

3. BUILD YOUR BOOTH WELL

Bring great art and do not hang everything at once!


I hung only 5 art pieces in a 20 ft booth. I kept it simple and applied the 57-inch rule. Why did I bring so little art? Fairgoers are visually inundated at art fairs. As artists, we are eager to show everything at once because we want to show and sell everything. It’s overwhelming when 100+ artists are doing this all at once.