Twenty Questions to Answer About You and Your Art
Estimated reading time: About 3 minutes
If art spoke for itself, there would be no art critics, art websites and blogs, show catalogues or labels on museum walls.
Your art doesn’t speak for itself – you do.
Aside from being curious about your art, most people are interested in knowing more about the person who created it—and in this, you are the expert.
You Speak for Your Art
It's true that artists develop their own "visual language” through color, form, shapes and imagery.
And it’s also true that viewers make their own interpretations of your work.
The purpose of a persuasive presentation or conversation is to provide the audience with good reasons to look closely at your work, tells others about it and buy it.
By my definition, that’s marketing.
If you want to write well, it helps to read a lot.
Same goes for talking.
First, you watch and listen to your audience.
And it doesn’t hurt to watch and listen to artists who are comfortable with talking.
Then, you choose words and media that “speak” to your audience and clearly communicate to them the essence of your art and your life as an artist.
Prime the Pump
On the list of people's greatest fears, public speaking has first place, while "death" is seventh. It only takes a few skills to start moving forward from fear into your comfort zone.
You just need to know how to start, continue and end conversations; learn how to plan what you want to say, say what you want your audience to hear and remember what you planned to say.
Start with preparation to prime the pump for your art marketing conversations.
Write out the answers to typical questions about your art and your career. Don’t worry about grammar, syntax or spelling. You don’t even have to write whole sentences at this stage -words and phrases are a great start.
Just get it down for now. You can get it good later.
Here are some questions to get you started:
- Why and how did you start making art?
- When did you start?
- Did you take any breaks? If so, why and how did you get started again?
- Did you go to art school, take workshops or are you self-taught?
- If you have taken training, how did you make what you learned your own instead of a copy of the instructor’s art?
- Why do you create the kind of art you make?
- What do you like most about making art?
- What don’t you like so much?
- How long did it take you to get good at what you do?
- How do you come up with your ideas?
- What materials and media do you use? Which are your favorites?
- How do you actually make the art?
- How do you know when it’s done?
- How do you decide what frames or pedestals to use? Do you make or buy them?
- Who buys and/ or shows your work? What do they say about it?
- Who are your role models and mentors? What lessons have you learned from them?
- What and who inspires your work?
- What inspires you to keep going when you get stuck?
- Where have you/ do you exhibit your art?
- Do you teach art to others?
Abstract Artist James Thatcher went from not wanting to talk to always having a current project to discuss, clearly and concisely.
“Go to Chamber of Commerce receptions for member business and be creative about your listening and be alert for different types of opportunities about how you as an artist can work with them: anything like graphic design, interior design, furniture design, or business-to-business art (such as creating artworks for a lobby or conference room that incorporate/illustrate products or designs from the businesses product line). It’s a great work of art but also relevant to their business. And they understand you as a business because they are entrepreneurs. Again, be ready!”
Learning to talk about your work to anyone, anytime, anywhere pays big dividends.
Think of marketing your art to sell as the ultimate reality show – and you are the spokesperson.
The artist who tells the best story wins.
I understand the challenges of many kinds that we face as artists and members of the human race. Let me know how I can help you get your art and life going in the direction you want to go at your pace. The first 15 minutes is on me.