I’ve always given excuses for not displaying my art; “It is not good enough”, “I don’t have enough paintings to make up a collection”, “I don’t know how to approach art galleries”, etc.
Well, a few of those reasons are genuine but I had to get out there. I needed to experience it. So, I decided to participate in Chitra Santhe. It is an art fair held once every year in Bangalore at the Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath. It is for the common artist, especially those who cannot afford to have a solo exhibition and as it is a fair, it is open to all audience. Thousands of people come to this event in the hope of buying art at a price they wouldn’t hope for in a gallery.
I went in the end of October to get an application form and I was delighted when I was told I was lucky as it was the last one available. I submitted the form the next day. They cannot accommodate everyone and hence you have to wait until the end of December to find out if you made it to the shortlist. Sure enough, just four days prior to the event I got it. I went with my dad for site inspection. It was a very tiny little space because they accommodated more number of participants that year.
I went home and bought some brown paper. Dad and Mom helped me make brown paper covers big enough to pack my paintings in (in case I managed to sell any). I packed them all nicely to be able to take the paintings safely to the venue.
My very resourceful mom kept a watch out for delivery vans and convinced one of them to let us hire the vehicle for transport. He backed out later because he was not comfortable with the timing. We had to reach the venue before 7:30am as the road would be blocked for vehicles after that time. Anyway, Dad managed to hire a vehicle to transport the paintings. My uncle, my cousin and I managed to move the paintings to the location and set up by 8:30am.
Tips: Carry smaller size paintings so you can just take them by car and also don’t take more than 10 paintings. Carry a sun Umbrella or wear lots of sunscreen. Handout visiting cards even if others around you think you’re being stupid.
Don’t lose hope even if you don’t sell anything. It is a good experience. You’ll know what to expect for the next time and you’ll get lots of feedback. You’ll also get to meet experienced artists and know more about the art world.
My parents came by my stall in the evening and I got my first customer then. The woman bargained a lot and my dad convinced me to sell a painting to her at a reasonable price. I sold one more painting after that. Selling two paintings was not so bad after all. And I managed to sell one more painting online when I put up an invitation to Chitra Santhe on social media.
So start with a fair like Chitra Santhe, Kala Ghoda arts festival, Sunday soul Santhe or any art fairs in your city and you’ll have a great time and gain confidence to exhibit more of your paintings.
P. S: The packing and unpacking at the site is quite a task.
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