I have some very exciting news to share regarding exhibiting my art in my hometown of Leigh on Sea, Essex.
My work can now be seen adorning the walls of the beautiful Squeeze Cafe on Leigh Broadway. It's a fabulous place full of original features- solid wooden floors and white smooth walls, perfect for art!
For me, it's the perfect place to hang my work, just a ten minute walk from my home and it means if people want to see my work in person before buying, they can do so easily. There are also two rooms upstairs which are light and airy, providing endless options with hanging work of different sizes. It's also very cool and a real crowd puller offering not just breakfast and lunch options, but also evening events and a private hire function room.
Selling art in a cafe or restaurant is not something I'd really considered before, but when the opportunity came up, following The Leigh Art Trail, I leapt at it! One of my favourite contemporary artists, Laura Horn, has spoken in her podcast before about selling work in a coffee shop, it's something that has worked for her for many years.
The set up that I have with The Squeeze Cafe is that if anyone enquires about my work, they pass on my card and people can text me direct. This week, the system was put to the test when I received a text enquiring about one of my paintings. I was able to meet the potential buyer there and talk her through the painting and the ideas behind it. It turned out we are both nature lovers and we could have talked for hours! She later bought the painting and it was a really positive experience all round. It may sound strange, but I do love to meet the buyers of my work and see the paintings going off to a good home.
So how does this differ from a commercial gallery? Well, firstly there's the point of commission- I am paying a small fee to Squeeze every time I sell a painting that comes from an enquiry at the cafe. A commercial gallery charges up to 50% commission- but with that, they provide marketing, have regular buyers on tap and will also package and deliver sold work. Obviously artists would need to add this or consider it at least, within their pricing structure. There are pros and cons to both arrangements, in an ideal world, a combination of both would suit me!
I am always open to new ways to sell my work and reach a wider audience. There is something that feels great about exhibiting my work locally in a relaxed atmosphere, where I can meet people at short notice. Squeeze also have a fantastic menu of smoothies and coffees, with delicious breakfast and lunch menus. The staff are also really lovely, I'm always made to feel welcome which is so important and I'm truly grateful to them. I'm attaching a link so you can see the menu and upcoming events at Squeeze.
I look forward to updating my blog on how I am continuing to explore new ways of selling my art. If you have any ideas or any comments, I'd love to hear. Contact me via my website homepage at www.clairehankeyartist.com