The show circuit

Ahh the life of a working artist.

Beret worn at a jaunty angle, an oil soaked paint brush behind my ear, holding an upturned brush in the left hand of my outstretched arm gauging the proportions of my beautiful subject, half empty glass of red wine on the table, you get the picture...

artist at work in studio

Well as much as I hate to shatter your illusions, it's nothing like that at all, but it's not all bad.

As an automotive artist, and a confirmed petrol head, I pretty much just get to think about and talk about my two favourite subjects, cars and painting.

However, this has its own set of difficulties, in that a lot of people have thought that I have my own spray shop, and that I can remove the stone chips from the bonnet of the Vauxhall.

So, what is it actually like to be an automotive artist I hear you ask?

Well, to focus on one aspect this month, the booking of shows takes quite a bit of thought, and planning.

First of all, you have to find you target market, and target client, and go where they are, Goodwood and the NEC being two obvious venues.

This year I have already exhibited at the 80th Goodwood Members Meeting, in April, which involved more than just turning up with an easel and a few choice pieces.

One of the biggest issues is finding somewhere to stay for the few days that the show is on.

Goodwood is a few hours south of me so its a stay over.

The minute the show date is announced, all of the good and close B&Bs, hotels etc, are snapped up by hardened show goers, so you have to cast the net a little wider.

The last thing you want to do after a long day of smiling and talking to prospective clients and hopefully selling art, is drive too far, as its exhausting working your booth, so the closer the better, and hopefully with a decent pub in walking distance, where you can eat.

Then you have to plan what you will be taking, and if it will fill your space adequately.

Will the show be internal or external, internal is always better, as you are not weather dependant, and its quicker to construct and break down.

External booth at the Chatsworth Performance and Classic Car Show

external art booth in a field


vs, internal booth at the Bicester Flywheel event.


internal art booth at Bicester flywheel event

On the day you have to go through your checklists and make sure that you have absolutely everything you need, and then pack it all into the back of the car with the artwork on top, making sure its all stable, and if you leave anything behind, then you better hope that it isn't important.

estate car full of artwork

Then comes the drive to the venue, anything from an hour to 4 hours, getting on site, unloading the car, constructing your booth around everyone else, and and and.

setting up art booth onsite at the NEC Classic and performance show

When it's all done I like to think it always looks great, and then you just wait for the happy punters to come around.

And not once did I mention picking up a paint brush.