The DIY fair is another approach that can work out well. Essentially a DIY fair is when there is a big art fair near you like Basel Miami Beach, and you rent a space and host your own show. Graffiti artists, among others, have done this very successfully. If you do something interesting and promote your space well and have good art on display, you will be easily noticed, because you will be outside of the main fair area and will be viewed as an independent artist, and thus will be more likely to get better press and reviews.
How TMNK Did It
The artist TMNK makes his living selling his art on the streets of New York, and for a few years, he sold his art on eBay as well. He talks to students in high schools and likes to say, “I am nobody, and if I can do it, then anyone can.” What is different about him is his relentless pursuit, as he says, for what he wants. And one of the things he wanted was to go to Basel in Miami Beach and find a way to show his work. He told me he was thinking of renting a carwash for the day. As he calculated, a carwash couldn’t make more than $1,500 a day, and he was willing to pay that much so he could use the space to exhibit his work. But he never did that because, according to him, once he was in Miami he went around the city and found a better place.
Getting a Space
Eventually he met a developer who rented him a space in the heart of the fair district, right across from a permanent collection of a wealthy family that received an exceptionally high amount of traffic on its own. TMNK was not the first person to have success by renting a space around the fairgrounds, and in fact this method has since become more popular among artists and may be a viable option for you as well. Once you have your own space, you can host parties, openings, and band performances, and you will have a lot more room to experiment with new ideas. In the end, renting a space could (though not necessarily) be cheaper because you will be in control of all the decisions that must be made, but you must do what TMNK did before renting his space— go to the fairgrounds and start checking the neighborhoods for empty storefronts or warehouses. Who knows what you will find? Depending on your art, you may be able to use an outdoor location as well. After finding a suitable location, your next task is to find the realtor who is in control of it.
To learn more about Brainard Carey and his services for artists, or to take a class from him, click here. To join one of his free weekly webinars, click here. To download the workbook mentioned in this series, click here.