2019 flew by as there were lots of big events throughout the year. Before January ends, I’d like to share with you some of my proudest accomplishments and where I’d like to take Potato Art Studios in 2020.
1. Art Fairs
The biggest and scariest accomplishment of 2019 for me was participating in art fairs! Throughout 2018 several family members and friends kept encouraging me to try local fairs. 2019 became the year that I finally went for it! I participated in 5 fairs in 2019, 4 of which were multiple day events. The first two were extremely challenging, but they became easier towards after I gained experience. If you’d like to read more about my art fair journey, I have several blog posts about preparing for your first art fair below:
2. Art fair prep
I think the preparation for the events themselves should be an item of its own worth celebrating. I became the master of multitasking in the months and weeks leading up to the art fairs. I had lists for lists that were at times 4 pages long. My label maker turned into my best friend as I perfected my method of organizing boxes and packing artwork. Even the small things (such as figuring out the best snacks to pack for the 12-hour days) became an important part of the process.
Although I don’t consider myself an extremely organized person, I had to flip the switch and temporarily become Maire Kondo running on 5 cups of coffee. My wonderful and supportive partner helped me practice setting up tents and hanging artwork. We found ways to streamline the setup and teardown of the full 10×10 foot booth from 7 hours to just over 3 hours. If you’re interested in more tips on art fair planning, I’ll have more posts on my website planned for 2020.
3. Live streams
My third accomplishment also relates to art fairs, in a way that may not seem obvious at first. I began livestreaming in the summer as a way to get comfortable talking about my own art while simultaneously drawing in front of an audience. In preparation for the fall art fairs, I wanted to have an idea of the common questions that I would receive from the public. The simple practice of explaining my steps as I was drawing gave myself a bit of a confidence boost because I was verbalizing the technical skills as I was executing them.
I will sometimes receive messages from artists who say that they want to start of livestream of their own. I always say that you don’t know how it’ll turn out until you try it out for yourself! I’ve had zero people tune into my livestreams, and I’ve also had dozens of people attend. Learning how to talk to strangers has been one of the most understated skill in my art journey. I’ve participated in over 20 livestreams in 2019 and I’m planning on regularly hosting weekly livestreams on my Instagram.
If you’d like to tune into a future livestream, you’ll need to have the Instagram app installed on mobile:
Or if you’d like a few more tips on starting your first livestream, I have a blog post here:
Prints were a late accomplishment of 2019 because I severely underestimated how long it would take to make a product that I was proud to sell in my Etsy store. Thank goodness for the internet because I found photographers and artists who documented their print process (and it could have been much, much longer to do on my own). Learning how to edit RAW files, create templates, choose paper, and acquire packaging were steps that seemed simple, but had weeks of lead time in between stages. The total time for the entire process was nearly 3 months.
I currently have 9 prints available in multiple sizes in my Etsy store. Use coupon code “PRINTS” without quotation marks during checkout for free standard shipping for U.S. customers on orders of $30+ (offer expires Feb. 29, 2020). Keep an eye out for more prints in 2020!
Link to my Etsy store:
I had an ambitious goal to create one video a week in 2019. I fell short of that goal, but I still managed to film and upload over 20 videos. I found that the main factor preventing me from creating more content was not running out of ideas, but the editing and audio recording. In 2020 I’d like to find ways to streamline my editing process.
Link to my YouTube channel:
6. Juried Shows
One of my amazing artist friends Suzanne Mosely introduced me to The Dutch Gallery last year. I entered both their spring and fall shows in 2019. All 4 pastel drawings that I entered were juried into the competitions! In the fall show, my hummingbird drawing took third place among the 60+ impressive entries in the “Keepin’ it real” theme.
“A Quick Meeting at the Water Cooler” sold on the same day the show opened. Since the last show, I’ve created a handful of small pastel drawings and I look forward to working with the gallery in 2020.
Plans for 2020 (and beyond)
I have a sizeable list of improvements that I’d like to make for my booth in 2020. Of the 5 fairs in 2019, I know that I’d like to apply to 3 of them again in 2020. I want to make it a goal to do at least 3 fairs, but have them spread out over a longer period of time so there wasn’t a huge rush for back-to-back weekends.
Pastel Society of the West Coast is a group I’ve followed since the beginning of my pastel journey. I’d like to formally apply to be part of their group. They have a great online gallery and partner with galleries and event spaces to host shows in California.
I previously mentioned that I entered two juried exhibits with the Dutch Gallery. I’ve bookmarked a few contests in the spring that I would like to enter, but for the record, I’m going to make it a goal to enter 2 different competitions in 2020. Regardless of if my entries are accepted, I think entering themed competitions will force me to try new subjects and create art on a larger scale.
This post has become much longer than I anticipated, but thank you for reading if you’ve come this far! Lots of exciting items are on my plate. I’ll be doing a mid-point check in during the summer so I can keep myself accountable for my own list of new year’s goals.