Once committed to exhibiting at Surtex, I decided to follow Tara Reed's suggestion and develop my portfolio with a minimum of 12 collections, and approximately 100 images. I set up a list of items necessary to do the show, i.e. business cards, banners, handouts, portfolio, etc. and a time frame for the 6 1/2 months leading up to the show. My items list has changed very little over the last few months, but my calendar has undergone some major changes.
There are many incidental things that crop up as one moves toward a trade show that require a fair amount of time, like producing ads for various publications, obtaining insurance, filing copyright, writing press releases. I'm not new to trade shows, but I am new to exhibiting at Surtex, so many of these things had to be generated for the first time.
I printed out full page month-by-month calendars and worked backwards from the show date, developing a time frame for printing, shipping, and actual creation of artwork. Some weeks I got ahead of schedule, and some weeks I swapped projects for unexpected things that came up.
My general plan of focusing on creating the art first, then taking care of the administrative items, seems to have worked well so far. I was able to create the minimum amount of art I needed for the show, with the hopes of creating more after I got all of the necessary administrative items taken care of. I can create art up until the last minute, but I can't leave the printing till the last minute, just in case something has to be redone.
One thing that made a big difference for me as I began this process was a discussion that Tara Reed and Paul Brent offer on branding. Paul has a lot of great information on focusing one's art for a strong brand. I viewed each piece of art and marketing material through the lens I got from that course, and I feel it has helped me understand my art and my process so much better.
So, here we are a month out from Surtex. All of my ad copy is in, insurance forms supplied, booth counter and electricity ordered, banners are at the printer, business cards and handouts have arrived, copyright filed, portfolio printing is underway, hotel and airfare taken care of. My next item of business is working on my press kit and reaching out to my target audience. To that end, I took an excellent webinar from Jeanette Smith on PR for Licensors (http://allartlicensing.com/), which I will be working through. Stay tuned. The plates are still spinning….