I am sure that many artists alike can relate to this post as this has probably happened to quite a few of you, at one time or another.
What I am referring to is being contacted through e-mail or by phone by art show organizers, magazines or people running art contests. Now I realize that all of these people mentioned are trying to run a business just as we all are. They need to make money to sustain said business and this is where we the artists come in.
It can be mutually beneficial for the artist as well as the people pursuing the artists. The contests and magazines which are out there are on a similar plane in terms of whether or not the cost to enter these contests or have your images grace the pages of magazines are worth the possible exposure you gain from it. For the artists, if the show they are being asked to participate in is a well known event in the art world, this presents ample opportunity to showcase work, make connections and network. The flipside to it is these shows can be costly to participate in, therefore the trade off of cost vs. exposure had better be worth it for the artist. A lot of this exposure comes at a cost, which isn’t cheap.
The first thought that enters my head EVERY time I receive one of these e-mails is “are these people just looking for money to fill their booth space, or page layouts?” I then have to take a step back, do some investigating in terms of researching the company or magazine or person contacting me. I need to gather all the information possible, perhaps even reach out to other artists to find out if they have heard of or participated in the contest, show or magazine. Then and only then can I make an informed decision on how to proceed. Of course let’s not forget about the bank account which will also dictate whether the opportunity is feasible.
I only have a limited amount of experience with this type of thing but I do know this though, it pays off to do your research so you don’t end up in a situation where you have shelled out money for this type of venture and you end up with a bad taste in your mouth because it didn’t work out the way you had thought or planned.
As I stated in the beginning of my post, these shows, contests and magazines can be incredibly lucrative for an artist in terms of financial gain and more importantly, exposure. I cannot stress to you all enough, the importance of being diligent in doing your research before you hand over your hard earned money or sign anything!
Image courtesy of litreactor.com