I have been invited and will be participating in RAW Ottawa this year! I attended a RAW artists event two years ago to support a wonderfully talented artist and close friend of mine, Maureen, and really enjoyed the atmosphere of the event. I attended again the following year but this time as a hair model for Amanda Kat, my amazing hair stylist. Both times I appreciated the atmosphere and overall energy of the event. This year I am an exhibiting artist. The difference now is that I have a responsibility to promote the show as much as possible, and to sell 20 tickets to earn my way there.
For everyone who buys a ticket through me, they will receive a free gift! I’ll be including some surprises, mini prints & stickers, and a discount code for my online shop.
RAW boasts a history of large, extravagant, flashy performers and exhibitions. In order to do this, all exhibitors are required to sell a minimum of 20 tickets. This has received mixed messages in the past. For one, being “invited” to exhibit somewhere usually implies that you are a guest. What seems to go unnoticed is the fact that to throw giant events such as these, a lot of money has to go into it. For funding to be provided, people have to actually attend. If you are an artist showing your work at a show, you are expected to bring people to the show.
When I share with some people that I am participating in a RAW event, I have gotten mixed feedback because of this. People say it’s “scammy.” I’ve heard the same thing on more than one front. And to be honest, if they were a little more clear about their intentions from the get-go then I think they would have less of a bad reputation for this. In the past I assume invited exhibitors were given tickets to sell, and then not explicitly told that they have to pay for the difference in unsold tickets. Artists who were selling what they could for the event were then charged the difference afterwards. It’s important to be super up front about this which is why I’m saying it outright.
Events cost money. Having promoted shows myself, the promoters often use thousands or tens of thousands of their own personal funds in order to see a show succeed. Now I cannot speak for this event in particular, but I know that it is large enough that it would actually need a significant amount of money for all of the AV equipment, as well as food and drink, caterers, lighting aritsts, and paying for the venue itself.
I could probably go on a rant about having promoted shows for artists who just dumped their work on me, expecting me to hang, promote, and pay for the show out of my own pocket. Sometimes they didn’t even attend the show I was running for them, and would expect to be notified if their pieces had sold, or even for me to deliver the unsold pieces instead of respecting the art pick-up time afterwards. Artists need to support each other but most of all, themselves. There isn’t exactly a system set up for artists to simply create and have the public automatically “know” about their work. I’ve had some artists ask me how I sell my work online, thinking that the moment they create a website some kind of magical clients from around the globe will be throwing money at them. Well, electronically throwing money at them, anyway. Selling your work takes time, patience and persistence. I personally avoid talking about my own work; I believe the work should speak for itself. But it doesn’t. Work doesn’t sell itself. People buy art, and people need to be reminded.
So here’s your reminder, you guys! Come to this show, or not. It’s on Friday, April 6th. There will be a bunch of artists, performers, and musicians there. If you do come, use my link to buy the tickets i f you so please. I would greatly appreciate it!