Yes, those were the words I kept hearing over and over during the years I have been doing shows, but how nice it would be if there was a book or article to point you in the right direction. It could be like a "Dummies Guide to the Show Circuit", for artist "wannabes". I've been trying to do just that with this blog, so that others won't have to go through the same trials and tribulations that I have over time. If you look at my booth at the next show, you will see a huge difference in one thing in particular and that is the framing and presentation of my work. So often times the jurors refer to "the body of work" as to why they chose a specific artist for an award. This connectivity of individual artworks as a whole in your booth can be achieved by doing one or several things to unite each separate piece as part of a group. I have chosen to do only minimal black wood frames for virtually every piece or if the rabbit depth is deep enough, do painted edges. If doing painted edges, make sure that all the pieces have the same rabbit depth (that's how thick your canvas is). Minimizing the variation of sizes is also helpful and that helps with the packing up time too!
This is a pic of my booth at the most recent Seawall Art Show in Portsmouth. It still has a ways to go in terms of limiting what I want the jurors to see. The clutter on the table for example is way too distractive and when doing a booth shot, I leave that out. Also, the print bins on the table add a vertical element that is distracting, however, I need the table to store things for when I make a sale and want to package it up in inclement weather! The fitted tablecloth is essential so that it does not blow apart in the wind too. Notice that almost every piece is lined up with formal balance on the top of the booth to give a clean flow and line of sight. Whenever possible, I move my demonstration area to the left of the booth and outside the booth if allowed by the promoters.
Here is a view of my outside wall with all those pretty wood frames from Italy! I chose them because they match the pieces well, however, as a body of work, you can see how disconnected they are!
I hope this little tid bit of information is useful to some of my fellow artists. It's always a work in progress so I will keep you posted on the next learning curve.