A word on building empathy. To many non-artists, the art world and what artists do is a mysterious land. Buying art is their way of visiting that land. Certainly there are some folks who are totally pragmatic and just want a painting to match their couch. But I find that my best collectors and cheerleaders come when I "invite" and include a potential or actual buyer into that art world.
Initially stories about how a painting were made give the buyer the inside understanding on how you were thinking and feeling. Finding out why he/she likes a particular work gives you insight into how they are feeling. Once a contact is made, I always offer (if the person is local) to come over and help hang the piece--more contact time. I'm now sending out "Studio Notes" to let folks know what I am working on and why, and a bit about how I feel about it. I let them really get to know about me as a person--what I care about, what's really important to me, and also how that shows in the art. I invite folks on my mailing list to my openings, but also let them know about other events where I might meet them and introduce them to various folks in the local art scene. They might buy a painting from someone else I know or they might just have an enjoyable evening-- but good that's spread around always comes back. Mostly importantly, although this is good business, it's also just Good, period. Every person that becomes involved with the arts benefits our world. People are happier, healthier, and more aware when they are connected to the arts. Cities with a strong arts community are better places to live and more economically healthy. I believe strongly that this is one of the best ways to combat the darkness that we've seen rising in society (a la 9/11).
Robert Henri, in his book "The Art Spirit" (the most inspiring book ever for me personnally) wrote, "Art when really understood is the province of every human being. It is simply a question of doing things, anything, well. It is not an outside, extra thing. When the artist is alive in any person, whatever his kind of work may be, he becomes an inventive, searching, daring, self-expressive creature. He becomes interesting to other people. He disturbs, upsets, enlightens and he opens ways for better understanding. When those who are not artists are trying to close the book he opens it and shows them that there are still more pages possible...Museums of art will not make a country an art country. But where there is an art spirit there will be precious works to fill museums. Better still, there will be the happiness that is in the making. Art tends towards balance, order, judgement of relative values, the laws of growth, the economy of living--very good things for anyone to be interested in."
I really don't want to preach and I feel like I've stepped up onto a giant soapbox, so I'll step off now. But I do feel strongly about this. It works for selling art sure, but also, I see so often that artists can get caught up in art as a some pure lofty thing that other people can't possibly understand. Let's invite folks in and be generous in sharing ourselves and art-I think it's really very important and could make a difference in our world. Jill
Last edited by *Jill-K* : 10-02-2002 at 10:37 AM.