Maximisng your art trail experience
Each year Square Edge offer a series of artists workshops – where possible these are free. These workshops cover aspects of professional arts practice that can assist you to present yourself and your work as effectively as possible. Please keep an eye on your emails, our website, and social media. Workshops numbers are limited, and we take people on a first in first served basis. If you have attended workshops on any of the topics offered in previous years, then please let other artists have an opportunity also. In previous years our workshops have topics including marketing and social media, website design, writing about your work, and taking great photos of your work.
Square Edge undertakes the following public promotional material for trail artists:
- Individual online artists’ profiles. Your online art trail profile may include images that you supply to us of you and your work, images that our photographer takes, your promotional video, a written blurb and contact information. Please ensure any images you supply are high resolution. If you do not provide us with written information on your art trail application this cannot be added to your profile. If you need support please attend a workshop or talk to us – we are happy to help.
- The Art Trail Guide. A shorter written profile, image/s, studio location, and contact information will be published both online and in print. This profile will also use the information that you supply on your application form.
- The Trail Mix exhibition. This exhibition showcases the work of each of our artists involved in the art trail. This is your chance to really capture the interest of the public. Many people start their art trail here at Square Edge. They will collect a trail guide and wander through the exhibition to decide which artists they will visit. This is an opportunity to show your strongest work. Works can be for sale.
- Online Artists magazine and artists promotional videos. When our budget allows the Square Edge team will also offer new trail artists the opportunity to have a promotional video and professional photography undertaken, and to be included into our online artists magazine. Your video will be part of your personal artists profile and will also play in the FX room over the course of the Trail Mix exhibition. You are not required to participate in this opportunity. You are required to give permission for the production and use of these materials by our organisation. Please be aware that these materials take a big chunk out of our art trail budget. If you think you may change your mind about being involved in this way, we ask that you refrain from participating.
About the video:
Each completed video is only around a minute long. Your video will focus on your work, process, and studio or space. It may include short sections of footage and voice overs of you talking. This video remains the property of Square Edge and will be used to promote you and your work over the art trail period each year that you participate.
About the photographs:
The photographs taken can be used for your art trail online profile, in the art trail guidebook, and in the online artists magazine. These photographs also remain the property of Square Edge and will be used to promote you and your work.
Preparing for your video and photography is important. This is your opportunity to share who you are, and the concepts and processes that you work with. Please take time to jot down some key points that you wish to cover throughout this process. You may like to try recording your voice to hear what you sound like. Practice talking about the things you would like to share.
Think about the following:
- How would you like to be represented?
- What are your key artworks?
- Which works reflect your signature style?
- What else is interesting about you or your work (do you have chickens, live in the forest, paint model trains)? Share your unique approach on life!
- If possible make work while the photographer is present – get some action shots!
- Are there any works in your studio that are not yours or that should not be photographed? Please let the photographer know.
Marketing your work effectively
Square Edge have a marketing and communication plan for each art trail; however, each artist also has a great opportunity to add their own marketing to this build up. In previous years those who have invested into their own marketing have seen increased visitor numbers.
Self-marketing does not have to be costly, and it can be undertaken using a regional approach. Talk to other artists in your area and come up with a plan together – that way you get maximum impact and can share the workload.
Displaying your works in your studio or hub space
- Displaying works in a harmonious way will encourage your visitors to engage.
- Think of your space (either in your own studio or in one of the hubs) as a mini exhibition:
- Arrange works on the wall, on tables, or on easels
- Group by colour, frame style, theme, or the style of the artwork
- Think about height – use boxes or easels to add to your display
- For safety please ensure that items can’t be knocked off tables or stands
- Provide clear labels or a price list with numbered items
Finishing your work professionally
- frame works on paper or present them with a cardboard back plate to prevent bending if they will remain unframed
- add title, year, and artist name or signature to the backs of all works, or on labels/swing tags
- install hanging hardware if needed
- finish canvas edges, sand back rough surfaces, varnish or otherwise protect the artwork
Managing your art trail stall
Art trail weekend is busy, exciting, and often really stimulating and rewarding to participate in. It can also be tiring and a bit overwhelming – especially if you are used to working alone in your studio. You are required to transport, set up, sell, and pack down all work yourself. Please ensure you have the support you need to manage these processes and your art trail stall.
The following are stall management suggestions made by previous participants:
In the hubs
- Request help from friends or family to pack up, transport, set up, and pack down your work. Other stall holders will be busy doing their own thing and probably won’t be able to help you. This is a big job which needs to be completed within a limited timeframe. Generally artists only have access to the hub spaces on the Friday night and Saturday morning before the trail opens.
- Get to know the stall holders around you. They may be happy to watch your stall for half an hour while you go for a wander or eat your lunch
- If you need to take a longer break, have other commitments, or want to tour around some of the other studio spaces think about asking a family member or friend to supervise your stall. Provide information so that they can still chat knowledgably to visitors about you and your work.
In your own studio
- Start setting up the week before – allow plenty of time to refine your studio and work layout, to price and clean up.
- It always helps to have another person there with you. If you are busy talking your support person can assist other visitors with sales and information.
- As above – if you need to leave for an extended period of time please arrange cover
If a visitor makes the time to come and see you and your work then they are interested in what you do. Please provide a warm welcome before letting them peruse your work. Many art trail visitors love the opportunity to learn about you and what you do.
A few things to consider
- Can visitors find your studio easily from the road? If you have a long drive you may need more than one sign, or arrows directing people.
- Where should visitors park? You may need to sign this area.
- How will you manage large groups? How many people can you fit at one time in your studio? You may like to:
- Provide written information about you, your concepts, and your process for making work so that people can connect with you and how you work even if you are busy with other visitors. These could be wall posters or laminated A4 pages that visitors can read.
- Provide a business card or flyer that can be taken away. Not everyone buys work on the day, but visitors may get in touch down the track.
- Think about the way that visitors will move through your space. Do you need to move furniture, cords, easels etc to ensure there us adequate space and any trip hazards are avoided?
- Is your space wheelchair accessible? If you have identified that your studio is wheelchair accessible please think about:
- Providing designated parking
- How people will get in and out of your building, across driveways, through gates etc
- the additional space required to maneuver around your studio
Hiring an eftpos machine is not cost effective for many artists; however one option may be to hire a shared machine between a group sharing a studio, or who are sharing a room in one of the hubs.
Print your bank account number out – most visitors will have their phone with them, and internet banking can be completed at the time of sale. A payment receipt can also be messaged to you directly.
You will need a float of coins and notes to ensure change can be given. Think about pricing things in rounded numbers to make giving change quicker (ie: make the item $60 rather than $62.50). Where will you keep your cash safe? Will you bring a lockbox or wear a bag that you will keep this in?
Pricing and labelling your work
Ensure your works have clear prices on them. If works are not priced people might think that they are out of their reach and may not want to ask for a price. Pricing is always tricky. Consider the cost of your materials, the hours invested, and the expertise you bring to your work. Look online at similar works and artists to get some ideas on what pricing might work. It is always good to have a wide range of items at different prices. You may only sell one higher priced item, but several lower priced items. Give your visitors some options and yourself the best chance to make sales.
Packaging sold items
Many of your visitors will be travelling – some from out of town. If your works are fragile or easily damaged you will need to provide robust packaging materials (bubble wrap, tissue, or boxing). In addition to making works safe packaging demonstrates the value you place on your work. Wrapping in a piece of tissue does not cost a lot but makes the item feel precious.