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While driving to East Jordan, MI, for the Portside Art Fair this past weekend, I got to thinking about what makes this kind of life all worth while. It's really hard work physically and mentally setting up and tearing down at each show...and sometimes in the rain! No show is guaranteed, so sometimes we don't make nearly the amount of money we were hoping to (or needed to) while other times we feel like we've hit the jackpot. It's a wild roller coaster ride to say the least. So, why do artists do it? What makes this lifestyle worth going through all of that? The answer was easy. Aside from being my own boss, setting my own hours and seeing parts of the U.S. I would probably never see otherwise, this life style gives me opportunities to insert a piece of myself (my art) into someone else's life.  My designs become part of someone's happiness...someone's memories. I've met so many wonderful people during the shows I've participated in and heard many wonderful stories as to why they're drawn to my designs. I've celebrated with my customers and I've cried with my customers. Sometimes their stories creates a connection between me and them that we'll both never forget. It so comforting to know that each piece they purchase has deep meaning to them and I'm always thankful I'm able to be a part of that meaning and in a small way, a part of their lives. THAT is why I do what I do. THAT is what makes this lifestyle worth the roller coaster ride. All the other "stuff" is just icing on the cake. :)


JULY 21, 2017

Never before have I felt this kind of passion. My jewelry business has taken hold of my inner being. It has consumed every bit of passion I can possibly muster. I’m obsessed with the thought of my next show...the next sale...the next potential customer. Each art show is a new adventure...a new lesson...a new opportunity. In between shows I have to commit to my office job...for now, anyway. I’ll be able to focus 100% of my time to my business in a few short weeks – can’t wait! Until that time, however, I live in a state of flux. My body is here (in the office) but my whole mind is home in the the car ride on the way to a show...interacting with customers while at a show. My mind is racing but my body is forced to sit still until that magic time when I get to leave this chair. I get very antsy sitting here all day...longing to be elsewhere working on making my business grow. I can’t concentrate on the tasks at hand. I have no desire to exert myself within these walls that surround me. I can’t wait to break free from all this into a world where I can explore daily, release my creativity daily and follow my heart...daily. TaraVista Designs is where my passion lies. It’s where my soul is fed. It’s where my heart lives freely.

July 21, 2018...the day when wonderful new beginnings begin.






As the art show season starts to kick off for the year, I want to share some information about an artist’s world that many of you may not realize. My hope is that the information I provide below will help you understand and appreciate all the artists you visit this year. So, here it goes…


We’ve all been there. We visit an art show and walk into a booth that has a beautiful painting that you just got to have. You look at the price, roll your eyes and quickly walk away because you either think it’s overpriced or it’s more than you can afford. That’s why one of the most challenging things for artists is to educate the public on exactly what’s involved so that art in general can be more understood and appreciated.


  • Training Hours & Cost: Most artists spend thousands of hours and dollars to become an expert at their craft: formal and informal training, working hours as they make a new design, loss of materials for mistakes made along the way and all the tools they need to create their designs. For most, it’s not a hobby; rather, it’s their life…their passion. A combination of all that paves the way for them to become the fine artist that they are today. That’s why their customers receive one of kind pieces that can’t be purchased anywhere else!


  • Jury Fees: For every show that an artist applies to, they are required to pay between $30 - $45 non-refundable jury fees so they can go through the jury process. It’s “normal” for an artist to pay over $1000 a year in jury fees alone! There are usually around 5 jurors for each show that reviews and “grades” the artist’s work in order to make a determination whether that artist will be invited into the show. Each show invites a limited number of artists for each category (jewelry, pottery, photography, painting, 3D, glass, etc.). As you can imagine, with hundreds of artists applying to the shows, competition is fierce, especially with jewelry designers…the most competitive category in the art world. So, it’s a great accomplishment to those who pass the jury process and gets an invitation to participate in any given show!


  • Booth Fee: This blows most peoples minds: Artists have to PAY anywhere between $250 - $2700 for a 10x10 spot at the show they are invited to…more if you want a “premium” spot like a corner booth! It’s “normal” for a part-time artist to pay around $3000 a year in booth fees alone and over $7000 a year for full-time artists!


  • Travel Cost: Local shows don’t require much travel cost except for food and a little bit of gas, but when you travel out of town, the artist has to account for food, gas, hotel and sometimes parking fees. For a full-time artist who travels out of town quite a bit, those fees can easily add up to over $6000 a year! But, in order to do enough shows so that they can make a living, traveling is usually necessary.


  • Time Allocated During Shows: Not only is an artist at a show the entire “show time,” it takes most artist around 2 hours to set up…some more and some less, depending on their booth design. It take a little less time to tear down and head back home, thank goodness. They’re also expected to endure whatever the weather throws at them during the event. So, if it’s pouring down rain, they have to set their booth up in the rain. That’s why investing in a $1500 waterproof canopy is critical. During THOSE shows, attendance is low, unfortunately. And, when it’s exceptionally windy outside, they each hope their neighbors took the time to correctly secure their canopy so that it doesn’t blow into their space which can ultimately do a lot of damage to their product and booth displays/canopy. This has become such an issue in the past that some shows REQUIRE the artist to carry insurance before attending a show.


  • Each show is a crap shoot: When attending a show, the most an artist can hope for is that they make a profit for all their hard work and time. We never know when going to a show how profitable it will be. So, when we make a reasonable profit, we rejoice! If not, we go home feeling defeated and hoping for a better show the next time.


Now that you now understand the complexity, time and cost involved in being an artist, my hope is that the next time you visit an art show, you’ll have a better appreciation and understanding of the art world and the value they bring to our communities. Artists aren’t at shows merely for the heck of it. They are there to share their art with others. For those who desire to have a unique piece of art that can’t be found anywhere else, art shows are the places to go. The most gratifying moment for an artist is when one of their designs finds an owner who will cherish and appreciate all the hard work, time and money that went in to creating that piece of art. 

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