PK 103: Should You Be Exhibiting at Art Conventions?

PK 103: Should You Be Exhibiting at Art Conventions? 2 pk 103 exhibiting at art conventions pencil kings podcast pk
Should YOU be exhibiting at art conventions? In this podcast, artist Kevin Chin shares his experiences and advice for your first public show

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“You never know when the right time is, so just do it!

~ Kevin Chin

Should you be exhibiting at art conventions?

If you’ve got a strong body of work which has been well received so far, the next logical step might be to get a stall at your local art convention…

But what is this experience really like first time around?

And what happens if you don’t sell as much as you’d hoped to?

In this podcast, we speak to Kevin Chin, an artist who has recently shown his work at conventions across the USA.

So read on if you want the inside story on what it’s really like to show your art to other people for the first time…

Kevin Chin on Exhibiting at Art Conventions

Kevin Chin grew up in Michigan, but is now based in Austin, Texas, where he’s a senior concept artist at KingsIsle Entertainment.

The video game industry was booming when he finished school in 2004, so he made the decision to move west with a group of friends and look for work as an artist.

But when he’s not working on mobile apps and video games, he’s reaching out to a whole new audience by exhibiting at art conventions.

So what persuaded him to take the plunge and get his work out there?

He says: “There’s no overtime or crunching where I work right now, so I have a lot of free time in the evenings and at weekends.

“I could be doing social things during this time, but there’s always this dream of  maybe working on a story of mine or on a children’s book I want to make.

“You never know when the right time is, so just do it!”

What is Exhibiting at Art Conventions Really Like?

If you’re thinking about exhibiting at art conventions, one of the first things to consider is how much budget you can allocate to doing it.

Kevin says: “There’s no need to go crazy and have a ton of stock to take with you, because people going to conventions don’t always buy a lot of stuff.

“I started going to conventions because I wanted to see how people responded to my art.

“I literally just jumped and said ‘Let’s see what happens’. So it was more an experiment for me to get my work out there.

“For my first few conventions, I didn’t really sell that much. But it’s a mountain that I kept on climbing.

“It was almost like I was doing it for some form of acknowledgement and to see who was connecting with my art.”

“In terms of conventions and shows, I still don’t think I’ve mastered it. For example, some other artists have huge set-ups, but my set-up when I first started was just a poster glued on foam-core!”

“Do some research, see how other people are presenting themselves, and you’ll learn on the way.”

“Most conventions are about fan-art, so it’s important to remember that you can’t please everyone!”

Here are some of the questions we asked Kevin Chin about exhibiting at art conventions in this week’s podcast:

  1. How do you know if you’re ready to show your work?
  2. Do you need to get tons of prints done to sell?
  3. What should your stall look like?
  4. What sort of work sells at conventions?
  5. Should you exhibit even if you’re still at art school?

You’ll find the answers to these and many more questions about exhibiting at art conventions in this week’s podcast.


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