Now that I have had a couple of weeks to reflect, I wanted to share a bit about my experience at ARTOMATIC 2012. The best thing for me, by far, was getting to know so many cool people in the DC art community.
I had some amazingly accomplished artists on my floor including Gregory Ferrand. Each conversation that I had with exhibitors was inspiring; the passion that people feel for their work and the event was clear. The camaraderie we enjoyed while volunteering (and I had two of the early, manual labor shifts) made the experience well worth the effort.
Going into my first ARTOMATIC, I wasn’t sure how much cost and time everything would take. Personally, I went through about $150 in business cards and other printing costs (I purchased high quality cards from moo.com. I did not research cheaper options since I like these cards and with my whirlwind schedule at the time, I went with what I knew). I also spent $120 on a rental van to transport large artwork to and from, and around $140 on supplies such as paint and a small table for my space. In addition to the three volunteer shifts, I spent two 6 to 8-hour days setting up my space, and more time with site selection, writing my bio, setting up my profile online, and getting the word out to friends and family. The cost to participate in ARTOMATIC is $100.
I decided to paint my space white. Exhibitors who painted their space in color definitely stood out, but my large-scale, colorful work looked best on a bright simple background. I purchased vinyl stick on letters to print my name on the wall at the suggestion of a fellow exhibitor. This was a great way to go because you just stick it on and you’re done. Artists who did not put in the effort to spruce up their exhibit did not project the same professional image. Since it was an old building the spaces were in need of love, and it was well worth the effort to paint. I purchased some refreshments for opening night, and I have to say that that was a lot of fun. It gave me an excuse to walk up to people who were viewing my work and offer them something to eat or drink to get conversations started.
My regret is that I did not spend more time at my exhibit, particularly on Meet the Artist night. May was hectic for me, but in the future if at all possible I will attend this night and other events. The most value I received from the exhibit was the opportunity to chat up visitors and get feedback from other artists and members of the public. It was amazing to be a part of such a huge, collaborative event that brings so many people together for the singular purpose of enjoying local art.