Alaskan Artist - Elise Tomlinson
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06/06/2005: "How do you take your coffee?"


My sister in South Dakota called today to see if she and her family could visit June 18th. She was here last summer and really loved it. I'm excited but this means I really have to kick up my painting schedule in order to get ready for the July 1 opening. I've also had to cancel a big party I was to host on the 18th.

I went down on Saturday to see where Iíll be showing and itís pretty small, I may not have room for all of my paintings which means fewer to have to finish. The walls are YELLOW! I took a photo of the walls and then virtually hung my pieces on them in PhotoShop but the colors don't seem to clash.

Heritage is a cute coffee shop, I swore Iíd never show in a coffee house because of crap lighting and a host of other reasons (like my work being too ďnudeĒ) but this particular series doesnít have any nudity and Heritage is in good location and is set up to show artwork with permanent hanging fixtures and track lighting etc. so I feel better about it.

This will be my first coffee house show so Iím not sure what to expect. I think they still take at least a 25% commission and not sure how opening night will work since they sell food and drinkÖhmmm, does anyone else have experience with showing in a coffee house? Iíd like to know what your experience was like.


Replies: 9 Comments

on Monday, June 6th, dave in Nebraska said

I've had no experiance showing in a coffee shop but I've seen a few shows in them.
My first thought is, do they allow smoking in the room where your artwork will hang?
Good luck with the show. I think you are doing the right thing by showing your artwork at this time.

on Monday, June 6th, dave from Nebraska said

Oh, I take my coffee extra nude.

on Monday, June 6th, Elise said

LOL!

I'd like to say I take my coffee "hot and black" but actually, I like it with cream and sugar. I take achieving the perfect color of coffee very seriously; it's more important to me than how it tastes.

As for the coffee house, they don't allow smoking. That would be a deal-breaker.

on Tuesday, June 7th, Howard said

Every place is different. It's a lot less informal than a gallery, meaning any openning you have is up to you.
Coffee shops and such are more places to have your work hanging where there is a lot of foot traffic, lost of people who never go to galleries ect ect.

on Tuesday, June 7th, Elise said

Hi Howard, did you mean that it's less formal than a gallery? I never thought of the aspect of showing people your work who normally wouldn't go to an opening, but I like that idea. I actually am starting to feel pretty happy about the whole thing. Trying not to let the "fear of not selling anything an bruising my ego" settle in.
:laugh:

on Tuesday, June 7th, Howard said

Yeah one thing about coffee shops is that people are there to buy coffee not art I'd imagine that there's a lot of tourist around right now with the cruise ships and such. You could get people from far away looking at your work which never hurts. I'd put a few bussiness cards at the front counter and maybe post an artist statement. You might not sell much but you may pick up some new fans, people who might take the time to look you up in the future. You never know where something might lead.

on Tuesday, June 7th, Elise said

Hey, business cards is a great idea...thanks Howard (and yes, I'm trying to lower my expectations in terms of sales...)

on Wednesday, June 8th, greg said

Coffee shop displays, from what I hear - not from personal experience yet, but that's the best 1st step for me (I think) - and Howard is very right, you want to make sure the counter people have contact info to give to any who ask about you! Even see if they'd allow you to tape a biz card , maybe with pricing written on it, under each piece.

Smoking, grease splatter and steam, are all things to look out for in eating establishments.

One excitement of a show in a well located cafe, is the "you never know who's going to see it" factor. I'm sure Neil Young must dock there twice a year ... hmm wonder if he's a tea-man tho...? ;)

Y'know Elise ... unless you move forward with your own in-house studio gallery (combined w/ massive PR), I wouldn't be to resistant to coffee shoppes ... or galleries. Just something to consider :)

Oh, and like you ... I call it "Sweet and Tan!"

on Wednesday, June 8th, Elise said

This is a coffee shop, not a cafe, so they sell things like pastries but no grease impregnated air to worry about. I could make little pockets to go under the name plates and have some business cards with that particular image on it, in each envelope. I did that for a past show where each business card had a different image from the show on it and people loved being able to choose. That wasn't my idea, I think it was Kira's...but it really worked. All the cards got taken.