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Eurofurence 25 "Fractures in Time" - Estrel Hotel Berlin, August 14-18, 2019Follow eurofurence on Twitter

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Author Topic: Artist Alley behavior  (Read 424 times)

Lazer_Hyena

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Artist Alley behavior
« on: 29.08.2018, 14:10:04 »

First of all, I had an amazing time at my first Eurofurence. I was mainly there selling in the artist alley and did very well. I did have some issues though, which I would like to address here.

My biggest issue was that it was made clear to me that tables were first come, first served, yet I saw for several days people leaving their set up on a table over night to reserve their space, namely the group selling stickers (Don't Awoo, I am rat, ect). I think this behavior is very rude and unfair to other sellers who get up early in order to make sure they get a spot. Con security also didn't seem to do anything about this, as the displays were not moved away or the owners disciplined to my knowledge as it continued all weekend.

Secondly, this is directed at those browsing the alley. It's great that you have friends selling and want to say hello, or it is good that you wish to buy something from a seller, but standing in front of someone else's table to interact with the artist next to them is not only rude, but also detrimental to that artist's business. When people see a group crowded in front of a table they often do no approach as they think the artist is already preoccupied. It also means that potential buyers cannot see the merchandise on the table you are standing in front of. If you want to visit an artist friend in the alley then please step behind their table or limit your space to the area in front of their table, not the people next to them.  I had this happen quite a few times over the weekend and it was very frustrating!

Third and final: the zig-zag table set up was a little detrimental to some sellers I think. If you got one of the inside tables then you were limited to a tiny display space and generally the customers at the tables next to you blocked up your table and the view of it, at least this is what I found when selling this way. Is it possible to configure the alley in a different way next year? I loved it's centralized location, but just found the table formatting a bit off. I also wasn't sure if the end tables were part of the next table or their own tables to be used by the next table. I saw many sellers using those tables as part of their own display space, while other people gave the tables to artists to use, so that was confusing.


All in all, it was a great convention and I had a lot of fun and met a lot of people who were awesome. Just thought I'd give a little feedback about my experiences.
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Dhary Montecore

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Re: Artist Alley behavior
« Reply #1 on: 29.08.2018, 14:27:17 »

Thank you very much for the feedback!

I am sorry to hear about these issues and make sure that they will be rectified for next year.

Sorry for the inconvenience!
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SiranaJHelena

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Re: Artist Alley behavior
« Reply #2 on: 29.08.2018, 15:41:51 »

Thank you! I was a bit grumpy about the Artist Alley as well, but I wasn't sure if I should bring it up, because this is in my opinion something the staff has little influence in.
I planned to sit in the Artist Alley for some hours at one or two days as well and offer sketch commissions or small badges. (It would've been my first time and due to the lack of storage possibilities and time I decided against preparing tons of mugs, buttons, postcards beforehand.) That's basically what many people did as far as I remember in the first year, maybe selling additional stuff or leftovers they prepared for the Dealer's Den.
Now I know of course, "first come first serve" works in favour for the early birds and the people who have a room at the hotel or a place within 10 minutes nearby. So I didn't expect to get a table easily as someone who needs approximately 45-60 minutes to the hotel or back unless I wanted to limit my sleep time to 4 hours every day. Without tons of merchandise I wouldn't have to carry around so much heavy stuff anyway, so if I don't get a table at 11 am, I might get one at 2 pm or 4 pm.

However, when I arrived at the con and saw the Alley, I was a bit overwhelmed. All tables were taken. Always. I don't know if there were always the same people, I didn't make notes, but if there was a change, I didn't notice it. (I maybe could have got a table there at the evening when everyone is busy with the stage shows, their own evening program, dances or whatever. But I wasn't only there to make money but also to meet friends, have dinner together, enjoy a show and so on. And I thought I might have more luck the next day... Silly me. ;) )
Aside from the time it was also hard to see where a place was supposed to be taken or not. Some artists used one table (or even one and a half) for spreading all prints available. Other tables were shared by two or three artists but had these large scaffold-things where they hang additional stuff. They are nice for the presentation but are taking a lot of space and attention from the artists next to them, especially when they are at the corners near the windows. How is someone with a pencil case and some pieces of paper or a few prints supposed to get noticed?

Don't get me wrong, the Artist Alley is a wonderful idea in general and considering how stuffed the Den already is, it is a great opportunity for artists without a table in there or who don't want to/can't sit at a table for so many hours! And I am honestly not sure what could be done about it. Setting up a huge list of rules aside from the ones existing would probably lead to a lot of negative feedback the staff doesn't deserve at all. Or towards the security if they have to start debating with the artists at the alley about sticking to the rules and actually make room for others. We could install parking meters and when an artist's time is up Officer Hopps could kick them out of their space or write them a ticket, but I don't think she's available for that. ;)

Changing the setup of the tables could help but I guess you've already done some Tetris there. Putting the stuff people leave there to reserve the table to Con Ops or something like a Lost & Found might be an option, though a lot of work.

So I guess the best rule to establish amongst us artists would be "Don't be a dick. We're all in this together."
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Lazer_Hyena

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Re: Artist Alley behavior
« Reply #3 on: 29.08.2018, 17:24:34 »

I made sure to see if table displays were acceptable before bringing one, but I did days without the display and days with it and did well either way, so
I will say that you can get noticed among the displays even without one.
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karpour

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Re: Artist Alley behavior
« Reply #4 on: 29.08.2018, 18:08:23 »

There sadly will always be issues with the Artist Alley at this size. There are probably 5x as many people who would like to sell there as there are places.
I would love to hear ideas on how to make it fair. Since any kind of moderation would essentially mean that it's basically another Dealer's den, where you sign up and are guaranteed a space. When there are more people then spaces, there will always be some unhappy people sadly.

There's not too much more space in the hotel to add more Artist Alley space, but my recommendation would still be to try to find a way to create more space for sellers.
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EchoesAbove

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Re: Artist Alley behavior
« Reply #5 on: 29.08.2018, 18:42:47 »

I remember on the first day of Artist Alley, I grabbed a table that had freed up in the afternoon, and two tables next to me there was a big rollup banner and a sign "be back later" on the table. Needless to say, I didn't see them til the next day. I also talked to AlphaKi the next day and mentioned it, but she also said there was nothing she could do except take notes on who had left their displays up.

On all days, I only got a table around noon/afternoon. I just stayed there with my luggage cart of stuff and sat on a table as soon as someone left.
I didn't have any displays set up either, but came with many examples and a card printer. I was one of those people who definitely needed an entire table, about a quarter more would have been better, but it worked.

Due to this constant shortage (which is nothing new, I've been there for three years now) many artists have started setting up their displays in the Artist Lounge, which in turn has discouraged those seeking a bit of peace from coming.

Two(?) Eurofurences ago I remember the Artist Lounge being set in the very far back of the Convention Center. I also remember we killed the fuses in that room. This year, the entire area seemed to be closed off at EF.
Since I've seen daylight be a huge factor to choosing where to place artists, would it be possible to just place the Artist Alley there? In return, I would place the Charity in the Rotunda. I saw artists drawing exclusively for charity this year, so they would most likely fill out the other half of the Rotunda too.
« Last Edit: 29.08.2018, 18:44:29 by EchoesAbove »
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SiranaJHelena

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Re: Artist Alley behavior
« Reply #6 on: 29.08.2018, 22:54:38 »

Due to this constant shortage (which is nothing new, I've been there for three years now) many artists have started setting up their displays in the Artist Lounge, which in turn has discouraged those seeking a bit of peace from coming.

Two(?) Eurofurences ago I remember the Artist Lounge being set in the very far back of the Convention Center. I also remember we killed the fuses in that room. This year, the entire area seemed to be closed off at EF.
Since I've seen daylight be a huge factor to choosing where to place artists, would it be possible to just place the Artist Alley there? In return, I would place the Charity in the Rotunda. I saw artists drawing exclusively for charity this year, so they would most likely fill out the other half of the Rotunda too.
I think I know what you mean. As far as I know this place was only available for us because it was unsure until the very last minute which areas in the Hotel we could use, due to the renovation of the lobby. So now where the lobby is back and can be used, I suppose it would cost extra to rent this additional space again.
Aside from that though I personally hated that place. It was very open, so only a little bit quiet because everything else was so far away but still people were coming and going because the Con Ops were next door. Which ment I had to walk like forever for sitting there maybe 30-60 minutes and then feel like sitting rather in another corridor than an actual room.
But you are right, the light was a bit better. This year in the Artist's Lounge several people had trouble working because the light casted a shadow on the paper because of the hand they were drawing with. There were other advantages though like a lot of space, good AC and you are near everything but yet still not right in the middle of attention. (And as soon as it is night you have strange light at many places. The light in the Rotunda seemed to be better but this is definitely not a place for the Artist's Lounge. ;) )

People setting up their stuff in the Artist's lounge is a bit strange but this is something that is out of control of anyone. Except other artists maybe who might ask for them to put it down. But just as karpour said, there will always be issues with the size in the rooms for artwork, may it be the Art Show, the Dealer's Den or the Artist's Alley. We are just too creative. xD
What rather bothered me were gamers setting up their Magic or role playing games or so in the Artist's Lounge because the Room for the Games was so damn tiny. This helps neither them (because nobody looks in an artist area for other games, when there is an area for games) nor the other artists, who might seek either peace or another place to offer their art and don't find a place to sit during "rush hour". But this is a whole other story.

However, the Artist's Lounge was really big this year and during the day when some artists were in the Dealer's Den or the Artist Alley, there was plenty of space. Even in the evening it was crowded but in my opinion ok. I never had trouble of finding a table.
Concerning selling stuff, the Artist's Lounge is still not the right place but even when Artists stop blocking "their" space in the Alley during the day or for several days or sitting there has a time limit or several shifts, there won't be enough space for everyone. The chances would be higher that more artists get selling space at some point, which would definitely be a good thing compared to this year and something to work on. But whatever solution the stuff might come up with, it won't satisfy everyone and I wouldn't want to forbid people to offer commissions in the lounge if they couldn't get space anywhere else.

Placing the artists drawing for charity close to the charity is a good idea but the charity should imho stay somewhere in the lobby because this is a place where many normal people go through, not only the guests from "Stars in Concert". And I could imagine that one or two Euros might be gathered there from them as well. (That's just a personal guess though, I don't run the charity program and don't have any experience or numbers.)


Wild guess regarding the alley: The room between lobby and rotunda has been more or less empty in the last year, aside from the very awesome locker service and beautiful decoration. Would it be possible to put two or three tables there as well, additionally to the tables in the rotunda? Or are there some safety rules or something that don't allow further use of that room?
« Last Edit: 29.08.2018, 23:00:04 by SiranaJHelena »
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Sheena-Tiger

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Re: Artist Alley behavior
« Reply #7 on: 29.08.2018, 23:38:38 »

Wild guess regarding the alley: The room between lobby and rotunda has been more or less empty in the last year, aside from the very awesome locker service and beautiful decoration. Would it be possible to put two or three tables there as well, additionally to the tables in the rotunda? Or are there some safety rules or something that don't allow further use of that room?
Adding to that I wondered about the space between the open stage and the stairs up towards the Rotunda, right in front of the seats.
Times when the stage is used aside, it is considerable peaceful... or as peaceful as the Rotunda and the room with the locker service... which I think is a less good idea due to some doors and the ramp on that side.

In the end... I think those are just ideas... that might have been overlooked so far or just not said why they are not used.
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