The "Booth" Shot

The 2019 edition of Joeytown, also known as my booth shot

The 2019 edition of Joeytown, also known as my booth shot

Never underestimate the power of the “Booth” shot. It may be the most critical component of any art show application. It can make or break your chances of getting accepted into the very best art shows.

One of the most exciting aspects of being an independent artist and applying for the best shows around the country is not knowing what shows will hand you an invitation each year. Many of my customers don’t realize that there is a jury process to get into reputable art shows. These shows will require artists to submit an application describing their creative process, submitting an artist’s statement about the objective of their work, photos of their art and a photo of their booth as it will be displayed at the show. Aka, the “Booth” shot.

More often than not, at least for me when applying to the higher-end shows, the reply is a rejection. For example, I applied to the Utah Arts Festival four years in a row before finally being accepted on the fifth attempt. When I did the show in 2016, it turned out to be the best show of my career, so it was worth the wait. But the rejections are still hard to take no matter when you receive them. They never come with any explanations as shows are not required to give reasons for declining your application. This leaves little direction for improvement.

For me, I believe the whimsical nature of my work softens my chances of getting accepted into many shows because it does not convey the high-end, contemporary vibe that many art shows promoters wish to emit. I also believe many jurors forget that it’s okay to have fun, affordable art mixed in with the serious, expensive art for the patrons strolling through the show. As we all know the art world is subjective, so I can only speculate on the reasons why I don’t get offered a spot at every show. I’m just grateful for the successful opportunities that I’ve had.

Last year I made some changes to my booth to create a greater impression on my customers that I hope will also extend to the show juries. First, I made the booth taller so that I can display more artwork. Second, I implemented a set of shelves to display my books more prominently, because this is the only way I can let juries know that I also write & illustrate books in addition to my art. Lastly, I had to create more storage space within the booth since I have so many images that I try to keep in stock at shows. I’ll let you know how my strategy works in 2019.