A&P Film Noir Opening - the aftermath v.good/bad/ugly

Discussion in 'Lifestyle' started by jared_IRL, Feb 10, 2009.

  1. jared_IRL

    jared_IRL OT Supporter

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    Ok. So here's the full report of my first ever photo exhibit opening... Sorry, no pics, save the one at the bottom, but don't bother looking, it's part of a whole different discussion.

    Day started off with me ruining one of the Epson Ultrasmooth paper prints while matting it - guess thats what I deserve for working before my coffee...

    So I prepped everything I had ready, and starting to organize:

    1 x 50"x40" gallery wrapped canvas print
    4 x 24"x36" gallery wrapped canvas prints
    2 x 24"x36" framed/matted fine art prints - 1 ready, one broken.
    4 x 16"x20" framed/matted fine art prints
    4 x 16"x20" gallery wrapped canvas prints
    3 x 11"x14" framed/matted fine art prints
    2 x 11"x14" gallery wrapped canvas prints
    50x greeting cards
    name/price tags
    easels
    business cards


    Holy crap, thats a lot of stuff...

    Drop everything off, go reprint the one I F'ed up, mat it in the basement of the store where the show is, go have some beers.

    Go back, start setting up at 330. Show starts at 5. People from work start showing up at 4, as I was finishing setting up.

    Brought the wine out, the staff at the store changed into their 40's inspired clothes, turned on the 30's/40's music they made up for the opening, and started the party...

    Had ONE small lull throughout the entire night. Place was PACKED the entire time!!! Standing room only! It was crazy. Had a couple people from the Strobist Flickr group show up, bunch of people from HS that found me on facebook, and a decent amount of people who either found my fliers or just wandered in...

    Total of 85 people signed the guestbook - No clue how many actually wandered through...

    Sold 3 prints during the show!!!!!!!!! One small 11x14 matted/framed paper print, one 24x36 matted framed print, and one 24x36 canvas print!

    Must have drank most of the wine myself.

    Then about 20 of us moved the party to Nodding Head afterwards, and proceeded to get smashed.


    Good times. Exposure like I can't believe. left that night with the best feeling i've had about photography since I started shooting. Top of the world.

    Also, the store themselves did NO advertising for this show. It was all my pull and invitations. The manager asked if I would want to re-open the show in mid spring, this time with the store's PR company pushing the hell out of the show in using their resources.... :x:

    Now, to the bad/ugly.

    When this was all in progress, I met with the store manager, and we measured out the space I was going to be able to use. We measured the front window, measured the tables and spaces I would have for display, and had a short discussion that went something like: "after the opening, we're going to have to move some of the stuff, so we can conduct business" - fair enough. To my knowledge, this discussion was limited to space inside the store, and as long as I kept to my measured dimensions, the window space was mine.

    So yesterday I went back, and saw the changes they made, which almost made me cry.

    Then last night, I saw the facebook page of the model for one of the shots, and this was her profile pic:

    [​IMG]

    They removed the 50x40 print, and instead tucked this print halfway behind a fucking wall, on the ground, and in a goddam corner. I almost threw up all over my desk.

    I don't know how to react. This is just shitty.

    3 things to consider:

    1. businessman inside of me says any exposure is better than none, and the inside stuff is still fairly nice looking.

    2. artist inside says go get your shit and pull it, or at least yell at someone.

    3. The people are genuinly nice. Not artists though. Prolly don't know better (or at least thats what i'm telling myself - this can't be intentional...)


    Help me formulate a reaction. I'm pretty upset over this. Really bad taste in my mouth.
     
  2. Girth

    Girth ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ OT Supporter

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    Voice your opinion first to the owner/manager. Let him know how you feel and see what compramise he comes up with. If not favorable, get upset and take it a notch higher. Exposure is great, but not when the place is not holding up their end of the bargain. First impressions of an artist are huge I think, just like anything else!
     
  3. HighTachPres

    HighTachPres New Member

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    hmmmmmmmm, show them this thread lol.
    no seriously.... but not seriously :p

    congrats on the successful show! That's 85 people in one day that the store normally wouldn't have! I assume you have room to voice your opinion to the manager. BUT keep in mind it's THEIR store, so THEY can make money (duh). Just put yourself in their shoes, would you want some artist getting the main attention at your art store? Try to make a nice compromise, maybe give them a percentage of your profits?
     
  4. HighTachPres

    HighTachPres New Member

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    and btw that model is HOT HOT HOT!
     
  5. Asherman

    Asherman New Member

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    Congratulations on a strong opening. Your work deserves the recognition, and there's nothing like selling a few pieces to get your heart going.

    Showing your stuff in a venue where art/photography isn't their primary business is sub-optimal. The folks who frequent the place(s) go there for other reasons than to look at, and perhaps buy a bit of wall candy. True, you will get a bit of exposure, but that's about all most artists ever get with this sort of exhibition. What deal do you have with the shop owner? Often the artist can get 100% of the sales price by arguing that their art saves the store/restaurant the cost of decoration. Don't count on it though. Usually in my experience, they'll want a commission on consignment sales, and won't provide any insurance. That can reach out to bite you later, since damage and even theft is not terribly infrequent.

    Several noted local artists had their work hung in a local busy restaurants for over a year without a sale, and the prices were ridiculously low. One whose work at competitive exhibition sells easily for between 1 and 2K, never sold one painting there priced at under $500. Insane, but illustrative of using consignment to non-art establishments. As you might guess, I'd advise against a reprise of your exhibition later in the year.

    What are the alternatives? Probably the best would be to convince a local gallery, or your local art museum to feature your work in a short running exhibition. The work will be seen by people who are (1) interested in art, and (2) probably are actually considering a purchase. Having your work in this sort of venue is carries a bit more prestige, and will later look nice on your vita. The gallery attendants are better prepared to discuss your work and more apt to pitch your work to potential customers. The downside is that they'll usually want up to 50% of the sales price as commission, and they'll try to take their end off the net after taxes and overhead. These venues are more likely to do PR for the exhibit, and almost always will provide at least minimal insurance against loss. At first you may be able to place your work without a written contract, but don't be surprised if disagreements as to what the deal was supposed to be later. If you have one successful show in a regular gallery, the next one will be easier to crack.

    Exhibitions, often competitive, are another way to go. Often there is a small non-refundable entry fee just to submit your work with no guarantee it'll be accepted. Winning an award is nice, but the odds are actually against you depending upon how many entries there are and who the judges are. The advantage is that the PR is taken care of, and larger crowds usually turn out for these affairs. All you have to do is show up and spend an evening or two chatting up the customers. Dreary stuff about on the level of watching reruns of Lavern and Shirley, or the Dukes of Hazard. Sales tend to be rather good, but since you're only one of a number of exhibitors the personal recognition factor is lower. I'll tend to sell two or three paintings at exhibitions each year, and generally get to keep up to 2/3rds of the sales price until tax time. Using either a gallery or exhibitions to sell your work will probably mean hiring an accountant because the IRS preys on artists almost as fervently as they go after mobsters.

    Art is a tough business, and don't ever let yourself forget that it is a business. You have to keep your overhead low, and keep meticulous records. The direction your work takes will often be determined by others. You are at the mercy of gallery owners, curators, and judges at one end, and what the public wants at the other. Its easy to get trapped by the business-end, because you have bills to pay, food to buy and baby needs new shoes.
     
  6. NOR*CAL

    NOR*CAL OT Supporter

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    ouch.


    speechless.
     
  7. johan

    johan Active Member

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    - the exposure is nice. But show's over now.

    - They're not "intentionally" trying to screw you, its not about you at all. their aims are not your aims, meaning they do what's best for them (of course) not necessarily you.

    - get that print OUT of the fuckin window. Makes you look like a forgotten hair salon ad. You must control the presentation of your art. ALWAYS. Better have nothing out front than something that dilutes the value of your brand.

    - No wonder those restaurant hangers get no sales. Who's gonna drop $1K+ on a restaurant hanger? Those guys are deluded.
     
  8. darkjedi

    darkjedi Muay Thai expert

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    this pretty much sums it up
     
  9. jared_IRL

    jared_IRL OT Supporter

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    So I sent the manager who i've been dealing with an email that I thought was really nice, honest and polite, explaining my concerns and why i was a little upset with the display arrangement....

    They took the pics out of the windows, but she never emailed me back. Not a word.

    what the fuck. Why do I feel like a dick all of a sudden?
     
  10. FlashhslaF

    FlashhslaF New Member

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    because you let your ego get the best of you, when you should've taken your winnings and move forward.
     
  11. jared_IRL

    jared_IRL OT Supporter

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    asking for my pic to not be displayed on the floor and halfway behind a wall is an ego thing? (serious question)
     
  12. pawis

    pawis werd em up

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    its a perception thing, the manager probably thought you were being a dick. im sure the convo would have been a lot better if you had talked on the phone or in person. thats why i get frustrated at emails/texting sometimes because people take shit the wrong way.
     
  13. FlashhslaF

    FlashhslaF New Member

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    but why do you feel like a dick ?

    If it was valid request, why is your mind making your feel guilty about doing something that was done to save your image?
     
  14. johan

    johan Active Member

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    depends on your wording, but based on what and how you've spoken here, I'd be surprised if you managed to keep all your "disappointment" and slight outrage so artfully disguised that she took no notice or offense.

    And given her response...I'd guess that confirms it.


    Best course now...go there and pretend like nothing was ever wrong, like you didn't subtlely criticise them and their display choice, like you weren't giving them a subtle "how dare you!?" with your email.

    Bring them a nice thank you gift for hosting your show, and be gracious and charming about it. I'd say a bottle of expensive wine ought to do it.


    You'll come off like a star -- someone people WANT to do business with.

    In fact these soft skills are what pushes a business along, easily more important than the graphic arts/photography part of it. Maybe superstars like Leibovitz can get away with being a total cunt, but most of us are not in that category.
     

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