Pix Credit: www.myfreewallpapers.net
For a long time this amazing woman has been a major artistic influence in my life. Not only do I love her paintings but I also admire her immense courage. She dared to walk her own path, to live HER life. She was able to step into her own vision. How fortunate for us that she did – filling the world with a new perspective, embodied in beautiful art works.
Georgia O'keeffe, Blue and Green Music
Pix Credit: Wikipedia
As I was saying in the last post – yes Art or Creativity is a partnership- however it is also a relationship. How are you building your relationship with your fans – because that’s what the buyers of your Creative works are? Stop for a moment and really think about the people who buy your creative pieces whether they are paintings, digital prints, photos, sculpture or whatever. Really understand that they are your fans and not just clients. In fact with a little work on that relationship they can become raving fans.
Turn Viewers Into Fans
And what do fans want – how can you build that relationship? – Here are some ideas
- be interested
- be interesting
- fans want to know about you – after all they have let you into their lives – there is a piece of you hanging on their living room wall
- as artists we need to appreciate the fact that in embracing our work, others open their hearts to us.
Well my friends – fellow artists and those who are thinking of becoming one – do you want the good news or the bad news? Let’s take the bad medicine first – art is a business and unless you can get someone else to market your work, you are going to have to learn to think like a business person. I hope you haven’t passed out on the floor yet.
Perhaps you might like to get a cup of tea or something stronger.
Not only that you are always going to be the best person to sell your work because you created it. No one – I repeat NO ONE else loves your work like you do. You art works are like your precious children, Your blood, sweat and tears have gone into producing them, don’t you want to be the one who finds a good home for them?
But wait there’s more: not only is art a business it is also a partnership. This partnership begins the moment someone looks at one of your ‘children’ and wants to take it home with them. Are you going to encourage them, give them instructions on how to best look after your child, and then lovingly let that child go. This ‘partner’ has now invested in a part of you, and that relationship, if you foster it can grow and blossom if you look after it. What can you do for your ‘partner’ to help them. Can you suggest a companion painting that might want to join its sibling in their household? Can you provide information on how your ‘child’ likes to be cared for?
As artists we all too often forget about the other half of the painting’s experience. We neglect our side of the partnership. We tend to be solitary beings and forget how important it is to build relationships, so we can foster our art works out to good homes.
ART IS A PARTNERSHIP
The relationship between galleries and artists is one often fraught with pitfalls. What causes this?
Generally an inability to see things from the others point of view. If the two vital ingredients in getting a painting sold, were to collaborate in a more open and honest way, then perhaps artists could stop feeling so hard done by and galleries could quit believing that all artists need them and that they can call all the shots. Many galleries seem to have the attitude that they are doing the artist a huge favour by hanging their work, there used to be a big name gallery in Sydney which expected a debut artist to give 90-100% comission to the gallery and to pay for the opening. How little value they accorded these artists.
If the galleries could thaw their attitudes somewhat they may find the artists much more eager to participate in their own promotion and eager to do unpaid help even. A shift in attitude is called for from both sides of the fence, let’s get rid of the razor wire first……..
Photo Credit: http://geekwhisperin.wordpress.com
Fellow artists and those who aren’t or don’t think they are but would like to be – Yes it is true art is a business. And being a business it requires products i.e. ‘art works’ to be sold. So many of us would rather just get on with creating and leave the ‘S’ word to some one else – if only we knew who that might be.
Well, it could be anybody but me that is! Like many of you out there, I too wasted years trying to get away from the fact that if it is going to be – you know what, it really is up to me! I finally decided that really all it needs is a little re-framing of ones perception.
So yes creativity is a business AND it is also a PARTNERSHIP. How is that you might ask?
For an art work or creative piece to achieve completion it requires someone to appreciate it or at least interact with it. (Ideally someone apart from its creator!) It requires an audience. For most creatives there is a definite buzz to be had when someone gets to see your work and have a reaction to it – which means it has touched them in some way.
This is a partnership often neglected on the part of the artist – they send their paintings off to the gallery, perhaps thinking the partnership part is only with the gallery and then that’s that. End of story……. where are the dollars?? And I have to confess I have been as guilty as the next person of that. It took me a long time to understand that art is a partnership……………
So as I was saying – Creativity is a partnership. Why do people buy paintings?
Well generally people don’t buy oil paintings or other art works if they don’t like them or have some kind of connection with them. They will however, generally buy for different reasons, such as –
- they just love the work
- it’s a present for someone else
- the work goes with their decor
- it’s an investment
The first two of these reasons both have an emotional attachment to them, the second is more about creating an environment – the art work says something about who they are, implying status or ‘coolness’ perhaps. However paintings chosen for decor are often chosen by an interior designer and its the look of the whole that is more important. The last reason is purely financial really, although if one has enough money like Alan Bond you might be lucky enough to be able to afford Van Gogh’s Irises. Although actually even though he
Van Gogh's Irises
bought the painting for US$ 53.9 million dollars he didn’t have enough money to pay for it. Damn!!! And he had to sell it again.
However if someone chooses your work because they love it – it means you have something in common, even if its liking the same kind of colours. It is your job to befriend the people who buy your art.
As with any new friendship, trust needs to be built. So offer them something for nothing. People love to get gifts, tho maybe not 20 off topic ebooks. LOL !!
Produce something that you keep just to give to people who have bought your work. You might offer different things for different price points. Keep these items special, don’t sell them, so that the only way anyone can get them is if they buy your work. People love to not only get something special but to feel that they have a closer connection with the artist. For those people who feel that creativity is an esoteric mystery this gives them a way in to share in that world.
None of us create in a vacuum. We all have influences – from the rising sunlight on golden water to the latest photoshop magazine.
So how specifically are you stuck
- No ideas on what to work on
- Bored with your current techniques
- Come to the end of a series of works and not sure where to turn next
- Need to upskill
- Need some interaction with others
- Have a studio full of works and nowhere to sell them
- Don’t know how to promote your work
- Convinced your work is no good and never will be
This list can go on and on – these are only a few of the kinds of thoughts that bedevil us as creatives.
Creativity is a lot like abundance. The more we stress about it the further away it seems to slide from us.
All of the above have a negative focus and therefore will draw that negative thing to us.
So what we need to do firstly when we are stuck, is to change the state we are in because the more we focus on how stuck we are we just sink deeper – its like quick sand.
As Abraham says – reach for a better feeling place. ie if you are depressed – get angry. If you’re angry become frustrated. Acknowledge your feelings, feel into them and work through them, dont try to stuff them back down. Once you begin to clear this stuff your creativity will begin to make an appearance again. This is where Julia Cameron’s idea of Morning Pages really helps to declutter your head. Other things that help are –
- Einstein’s greatest discoveries came to him when he was walking or doing the dishes – Take a walk – notice something new
- Do something that makes you really happy – when was the last time you did that?
- Decide to give up stressing about being creative
- Do morning pages
- Smile at every person you meet or pass by today :)
- Decide to be joyful
- Go to an uplifting movie or get a DVD out
- Have coffee with a friend – tell them why you love to create things, why you love them, ask them where creativity shows up in their lives – you might be surprised