Life As An Itinerant Artist

Stories and anecdotes from fifteen years on the art show circuit. 

If you’re just starting out, here’s a bit of reading…

under the oak at under the oaks

First off, you should read the resources on the Art Show Photo web site, at

— lots of good information there, links to suppliers and other items of usefulness. Best of all, the info is free. The archives of this group also contain a wealth of information on printing, displaying and selling your art, whether or not you are a photographer.

Another good resource is Maria Arango’s book, the ” Art Festival Guide: The Artist’s Guide to Selling in Art Festivals”, available through Amazon, and the artist, at Amazon.

This book is well-written, in a breezy style, and she provides a great overview of how to start with art shows, what to do when you’re there, and how to deal with the frustrations and joys of being an independent artist.

The NAIA also has a book on the subject, “The Art Show Artists’ Survival Guide”, available through the National Association of Independent Artists, at

There are a couple of artists from the group who also have a blog on doing shows — these provide a personal point of view, and are interesting to read as well. Nowadays, most artists are on Facebook, Instagram, Etsy and Pinterest.

There are also a couple of books on selling art that you might find useful, once you’ve conquered the mechanics of setting up, creating inventory and surviving the rigors of the road:

Jack White, a painter, has written several books on selling that are quite informative. These include ” Magic of Selling Art”, “Master of Self Promotion” and “Mystery of Making it”. Direct download only, available at:

Bruce Baker also had a series of three CD’s that you can listen to in your car on the way to shows. His “Dynamic Sales and Customer Service Techniques” is a classic. Last time I looked, however, they were no longer available. You may be able to find them online at eBay.

The best single piece of advice I can give you is “Don’t give up if you believe in your work.” It is incredibly hard work, takes 110% commitment, and a lot of time and money to become profitable. Don’t hesitate to ask specific questions of this forum — there are many artists here who are more than willing to share their experiences with you!

Best of luck!

August 10, 2007

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