SOLO Success Story: River Huston

River Huston at Artexpo New York 2010

River Huston has been painting for 35 years. Although she’s an award-winning poet, journalist, performer and activist, she was initially a little timid about exhibiting her work at Artexpo New York 2010.

“I first saw information about Artexpo while surfing the web. I was so nervous about doing this. I really did not know what to expect.”

After selling 21 paintings on the first day of the show, River says she’s glad she took the plunge.

“It was amazing. It was a crash course on selling my artwork. I met several gallery owners who were very interested in showing my work. Exhibiting also gave me the opportunity to talk with interior decorators about the kinds of things their customers look for, in terms of color and size. If I am able to tweak my work to make it more sellable, I’m all for it.”

River also says her professional network has grown as a result of exhibiting at Artexpo.

“Even if I had not sold anything, it was an opportunity to see a multitude of artwork and the people who buy it all in one place. Not only did I meet the people who buy the art, I met so many other artists. It was great to be around colleagues who do the same thing as myself. Painting is such a solitary job—it’s nice to be able to share experiences and thoughts with other artists and to see what other people are doing.”

Now that the show is over, River says she feels readier than ever to tackle the self-promotion and marketing that’s crucial to succeeding as a professional artist:

“Artexpo has affirmed my career as a painter and energized me to pursue specific avenues in regard to selling my work. I love to paint, and if I’m to continue to do that as much as possible, I also need to look at the business-side of being an artist. This event really taught me how to make that part of my career flourish.”

"A Change is Going to Come" by River Huston

"A Change is Going to Come" by River Huston

"Life is Golden" by River Huston

"Life is Golden" by River Huston

To that end, River says she wishes she had made better use of Artexpo’s marketing services for exhibiting artists.

“I wish I had paid more attention to the emails Artexpo sent. They have such valuable information on what you will need and opportunities available beforehand, such as having your artwork on their website and [for Artexpo New York 2010] getting free giclée prints in advance. Selling those 21 paintings was really just icing on the cake.”

River offers these words of advice to independent artists who are considering exhibiting at Artexpo:

“It is worth the investment. Think of it as taking crash course in art marketing and sales. Make the most of your time there by getting contacts, talking to other artists and people interested in buying and exhibiting. Even if you don’t sell, it gives you the opportunity to better market yourself and find a direction to take your work so it does sell.”

“For me it was about taking risks and putting yourself out there. Nothing changes if nothing changes! So doing something out of my comfort zone was important to stretch the possibilities available for me as an artist. I am so glad I had this experience and would definitely do it again!”

For information on exhibiting in [SOLO] at Artexpo Chicago (Oct. 1-3) or Artexpo New York 2011 (March 24-27), email Debbie Kuhn, Artexpo Sales Manager [SOLO] at debbie@artmarkettools.com

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