Many independent artists hope to sell out their booths at Artexpo, but savvy exhibitors like Karen Kohtz know that selling artwork is only half the value of exhibiting.
“A fellow artist in the solo area sold 15 pieces off the floor, but didn’t make any gallery connections. I only sold 2 pieces the entire weekend, but I feel extremely lucky, because I consigned 12 works to a new gallery in Boston; I made a great connection with a gallery in Santa Fe, New Mexico; and the day after the show I received a call from an architectural firm in Manhattan. Over the four-day event of Artexpo, if you play your cards right, you can launch connections that will probably fuel you for a good year.”
A native of the Pacific Northwest, Karen’s work is primarily abstract, with a hint of realism. Her work reflects the breathtaking terrain and vivid colors of Seattle, Washington and Sedona, where she has had studios over the years (she now lives in Virginia).
While Karen has been represented by galleries for many years, she’d never gone out on a limb and represented herself—until she exhibited in [SOLO] at Artexpo New York 2010.
“I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but after the first day I realized that Artexpo is not necessarily about direct sales. It’s about making contacts and connections. I like to think of Artexpo as an opportunity to be a live resumé. There’s your work, there you are in person: you don’t have to go to galleries—they come to you! It’s an amazing sense of exposure.”
Part of Karen’s exposure from Artexpo came from simply being listed on the show website.
“The architectural firm that contacted me after the show never actually attended Artexpo. They had gone to the Artexpo website, went through the Exhibitor List, clicked through to all the artists’ websites and found my work that way. Just being connected with Artexpo and the Artexpo website opens so many different avenues for exposure. There are millions of artists’ websites out there—how else are they going to find you?”
Karen was particularly pleased to have made that connection because one of her motivations for exhibiting at Artexpo was to attract the attention of designers working with large corporate spaces, lobbies, restaurants and hotels.
“I was able to make that connection. I believe that, going into the show, if you set your sights clearly on what you want and you’re willing to act on that, success is so much closer than you think. Motion creates emotion and action promotes attraction.”
To independent artists who are considering exhibiting in [SOLO] at Artexpo, Karen offers these words of advice:
“”It’s a big step but just go for it! That decision alone immediately will set you apart from the majority of artists who do not have the courage to step up and take a chance. After all, you are betting on yourself! What better investment of your time, resources and energy than to act on the belief in your own creative voice?
“You will have emotional ups and downs over the course of the four-day event, (that’s normal) but avoid spiraling into the pit ‘that you’re just not good enough!’ No one is exactly like you, and your creative expression is unique. Go ahead, show the world!”