Today, I spontaneously left a comment on Alyson Stanfield's blog "artbizblog" a blog that is what it says; business advice for artists. There are tons of business blogs, and I have read many of them in hope of gleaning something useful for my art/design business. None of them fit, but this one I highly recommend.
Alyson's website, artbizcoach, is great and generous. Great, because it's clear and easily navigated with well explained offers/services. Then, there's lots of stuff to read before you decide to sign up for more personalised help, which is not just smart, but generous.
The reason why I felt compelled to leave a comment today was that Alyson had the best advice or reminder I've heard for ages. She started by saying: "The most valuable you can do in your marketing is to teach people how to look at and appreciate your art".
The message completely clicked, going straight to the core of why we do, what we do. We all have thoughts, ideas, ideals or questions we want to convey, communicate or create a reaction to in some way, don't we?
Alyson's post reminded me of this: I'm lucky to live close to several wonderful museums on the French Riviera and often take visitors to the little Picasso museum in Antibes. There are always some who can't resist the "my children could do that" remark. Instead of becoming annoyed, it has become my cue for bringing both Picasso's work and my own work closer to the viewer.
The museum doesn't have many of Picassos's main pieces, (but it does have a wallfull of these large ceramic plates). But back to my cue; there are plenty of Picasso's sketches, so I usually pick one that in some way is related to what I do. Many of my visitors know my work from walls, but very little about how I get there.
The museum visit becomes a great opportunity to compare and explain; to shed light on the constant process of doing and testing ideas, materials, concepts and its lows and highs. Instead of discussing a main piece of work, I talk about all the snippets we produce; the plotting of a few lines on a scrap of paper, some written notes in the corner of a sketch, a rescaled detail, some cropping, splashing around with some colour, putting it away. Taking it out again, doing something else….
You get the drift? They do to. So I go on and tell them how we all have different takes on this, and most of us are not famous, hence, most of these sketches and snippets are not kept or ending up in museums like Picasso's. But what hangs on walls would look different without it. What I like to bring to front is how the museum helps us read an artist by documenting the artist's process, not just displaying an "end result".
Three stages of "Party Mood". A series of five portraits; 2 trials on paper, final portrait: acrylic on plywood. Tittin 2002. 40x40cm.
When I break it down, and talk about the process we don't see, the indifferent viewer usually wakes up. Particularly when I describe the artistic process as a way to document and visualise the world as you see it, so you can share it with others. That's a universal need; to convey, clarify and decode what surrounds us, but usually we use words.
When I tell that I try to turn my unstoppable internal dialogual into visual art and compare it to how we use blogs to share thoughts or release the pressure of internal chatter, people completely connect and have even called art a more specialised and competitive way of blogging. And why not?
This is just one take, but do go read Alyson's more art-oriented take it here on the artbizblog. Really useful!