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My First Art Show!


I'm retired and living in Northamptonshire, so plenty of time for photography.
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My First Art Show!

12 Oct 2021 5:33PM   Views : 527 Unique : 286

I’ve just participated in my first Art Show – The South Northants Art Trail Art Trail . This year there were 20 locations, with 51 participating artists (including a few photographers). I’m not sure what the total footfall was, but our location in Blisworth, with 9 of us exhibiting, had around 800 visitors. This wasn’t about making money – it was the opportunity to put together a display and to talk to visitors about my work. I hoped that having artists (as well as photographers) look at the images might give a different perspective.

This Art Trail was a great place to start. The costs were low and the organisation and publicity provided by Mike and Jenny at Vitreus Art in Towcester was brilliant. It was hard work preparing all the images – printing, framing, labelling… as well as making greeting cards using selected images. The event itself was over 10 days and needed nearly full time attention as well as setting up and breaking down. Ready for a good long nap now!

The bottom line was that this was absolutely great. I’d thoroughly recommend having a go at something like this if the opportunity arises. I made friends, bonded with all the other exhibitors, had very interesting and exciting feedback from visitors and had the pleasure of selling some images to people that liked them and wanted them in their homes!

I thought it might be interesting to share a few observations and thoughts on this. For those of you who have looked at my portfolio you will have seen some light painting images made with a photographically recording harmonograph. You can see more images on my gallery. I featured these images on the stand, as they are very unusual and eye catching and don’t really look like photographs. Below is an overview of the stand. I had maybe more than my fair share of space as I promised to bring in and demonstrate the harmonograph. It was quickly termed ‘The Mesmeriser’ by the others!

Having the demonstration on the stand worked extremely well. A typical reaction when I told people ‘these are all photographs’ was ‘What of?’ so I could show them, and most understood instantly what I was doing after seeing the demo; they then explored the images with renewed interest and understanding! Here is a photo of me explaining things…they all seem to be listening.

I tried to keep the prices as low as possible, to make the images more accessible. I’m fortunate to be able to print the images myself as well as to make the frames. These weren’t ‘Gallery’ prices and there was no way I could make a living out of this, but I certainly covered my material useage and made a significant dent in the costs of my next lens!

It was really interesting to watch people deciding on purchase. I may have had a few too many images on display, so making choice harder. I found it difficult to decide what to use and what to leave out. Some people went straight for the image that caught their eye. Some went for the colour images, some the nearer mono ones. Having a few landscape, floral and macro shots gave diversity. The triptych ‘Sing Dance Fly’ was very popular, especially when I treated them to Fabio’s sonification Sonification and told them the story! The ‘interactive’ print ‘Follow’ 'Follow' was also very popular, and a real draw with both children and adults – I now have to make a couple more. I tried to keep the frames neutral – they were all waxed or oiled Walnut. Inevitably some would have liked much lighter frames, others very dark. Inevitably a few sales were lost as a result. Maybe I should have had a few alternative frames to show – not to swap out in real time, but to be delivered after the event.

Another great investment (and I have to thank one of the other exhibitors for this) is a tin of sweets on the stand. Went down a treat. Having cards was good too. Another exhibitor suggested I put a few words in with each, and not to obscure this with the envelope when putting it into the sleeve. First thing most people do when selecting a card is to turn it over and read the back!

Good, readable, titles with a few words on each image worked well, giving an ‘in’ to talk about the image and why I had chosen it… but the labels have to be quite large to be readable.

I used a low cost card reader as an alternative to cash for payments – very simple to use, secure and reliable. Mine was from SumUp; I’m sure there are others available.

This was great fun and rewarding overall, and I’d really recommend you have a go if you get the opportunity. As we all say – What is the point of a Photograph if you don’t share it?!

Thanks for taking the time to look at this; I’d be very interested in your thoughts and comments.


dark_lord Plus
18 3.0k 833 England
13 Oct 2021 11:29AM
Very interesting Andrew, thanks for sharing your experienes.
chase Plus
17 2.5k 665 England
13 Oct 2021 7:55PM
Very well done, sounds like enjoyable but hard work.
James124 Plus
7 61 53 Portugal
13 Oct 2021 10:14PM
Well done, Andrew. All your hared work was obviously worth it. And I do agree with your penultimate sentence!
Carlos9 1 39 1 United Kingdom
13 Oct 2021 11:09PM
It was a great display you had Andy,I love your harmonograph images so was nice to see it in action along with your fantastic prints.
gpimages Plus
12 79 3 England
14 Oct 2021 9:03AM
Andy - very well done!

Thanks for doing a blog on this and sharing your experience. I can imagine all the prep. and exhibiting being so rewarding with the added bonus of selling some of your work.

Nice to see the artist at work in the shots! I guess it helped that you were able to print and frame your own images.

Some useful tips as well.

Good effort! - Unfortunately I still don't get your harmonograph thing but that's just me!

All the best
Graham Wink
SlowSong Plus
14 10.5k 30 England
14 Oct 2021 10:41AM
What a lot of effort you put in, and well worth it too. A very interesting and worthwhile exhibition.
14 Oct 2021 12:36PM
Thanks for all the comments! It was indeed great fun! There was almost an 'Archer's Plot' moment when the Blisworth WI, Mothers Club and Art Group all asked if I could give them talks... and all realised they were in competition...

Printing and framing myself was a real enabler on costs - and quality. The images were printed either on Pinnacle Fine Art Cotton Rag 310 or PermaJet Titanium Lustre (Colour Images), both of which are beautiful papers for the right image. The main strip lights were made from LED strips (£5/ metre) left over from a print viewing box, and gave much better light than the clip on spots.

if anyone is keen to see the harmonograph machine in action and are passing near Northampton feel free to message me

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