I'd never heard of this show until I ran across the ad on Craigslist.org. "Pancakes and Booze" is a series of art shows in major cities in the U.S. show-casing emerging local artists. The shows are hosted in night-clubs and pancakes are served up all night long. Of course, the bar is open as well.
It's an interesting concept. These folks coordinate the event with a local venue. Patrons are charged $5 at the door. The artists, who are providing the primary entertainment for the evening, pay $15 for each piece the display, with a minimum of three pieces. The bands and other entertainers (such as nude models getting body-paint) probably get some kind of split, but I didn't inquire into what it was. In any case, these folks have a great racket.
My cynicism aside, the fee was a small price to pay to display my work to the few hundred people that came to the show and to network with other local artists. The bands and DJs were great, and the pancakes edible, though the pickings got a little thin as the night wore on. No body-painting occurred for reasons unknown. Still, it was a great show.
I always enjoy listening to the comments my works elicits. They ranged from high-praise to the usual fear-o-the-vag. One guy found out who I was and sought me out to tell me how much he really digged the work, which was cool. A young woman wanted her picture taken with the art and the artist, which was again, cool. Of the 80 fliers I printed, I went home with only 20, and although I didn't sell anything that night, I set a few appointments for tattoos and saw a spike in the sales of my coloring book.
I learned a few lessons from this show.
1) Go big. My usual piece is about 11X14", too small to be really engaging to the viewer and the buyer. Also, the size requires that I have more pieces in the show in order to garner my own space, which leads to...
2) Don't over-invest. While I made my money back on residual sales, I made nothing on the art at the show itself, and I was in for 6 pieces at $15 each. I would have been better off with three large pieces, meeting the minimum requirement for the show. Finally...
3) Cater just a bit more to the crowd. I'm not suggesting that I should sell-out, but rather I might attract more flies with a different kind of sugar. Erotica is only a part of the kind of work I do, and offering something more palatable to the masses representing a greater range to my work may have served me better.
With this being the 3rd show here in Austin, I have no doubt I will get another shot next year.