"If Art Should Sell Itself" then why am I so broke?

"Art Should Sell Itself!"
That would be nice. But it doesn't and it won't happen. Not in your lifetime.  And curiously enough, artists actually know this.  But somewhere back in their mind is some group, book or individual whispering that phrase to them and early education is very powerful.....even if it is utterly wrong!

Artists who feel that their Art needs to only be displayed
and the buying public will flock to their studio or booth at an art show and push money eagerly into their hands can be seen everywhere. and are easily identifiable by both their attitudes and how they dress.

The "Art Should Sell Itself" artists are especially prevelant at Art and Craft Shows where they can be seen reading a book, or instant messaging on their cell phones, or lounging sleepily in their chairs. They ignore possible collectors completely, or stand in front of their booths blocking the entrance and engaging in conversations with friends and relatives. Or they are gathering in groups with other vendors to complain about the show.  They are wearing their "official artist clothes".....cut off shorts and flip flops and many unconsciously spend a lot of time trying to perfect their perception of what an artist is supposed to look like and do. Sometimes the green hair helps.

Artists in Studio settings  who believe that "Art Should Sell Itself" operate
the same way and can be picked out in a heartbeat. They too are the ones who sit in the chair at a Co-op gallery reading a book, ignoring browsers, talking loudly on the phone  or tapping away at their computers. They too can be identified by their paint stained sweatshirts, ripped jeans or rumpled clothes.  They are the ones who may perk up if the browser in the Gallery wanders towards their art display but other than that, they are a fixture at the desk. Bored, wishing they could be in their studio and creating art as artists should.

If "Art Should Sell Itself" then with that reasoning,  everything else should "Sell Itself" as well right? In other words,  all those car ads on TV were put in and paid for by cars right? Real estate ads must have been inserted by the houses themselves.  Music on the Internet or radio magically appeared just so you could hear it.  That book you read recently just fell from the sky into your hands.  That actor you love on TV simply.....appeared.

Right?  Of course not.  The cars are manufactured by people and promoted to the buying public with all the known marketing strategies! The homes in the real estate ads are groomed and prepped and advertised by people who are specialists in what they do. The music that permeates your life is created by people marketed by all available means by the musicians (with or without an agent). That book you enjoyed  was written by a person who them marketed it to get the book or article into publication.  What did all of those people have in common? They did NOT sit passively and wait for their product to "Sell Itself!"

Oh, but you may still insist that artists are different.  They think differently. They need pampering to grow. They have something that others don't.  You got that right.
They have no money!

Sure, success is not always measured by dollars and cents.  But nothing is as satifying as being able to support your family with a skill and job that you love!
Until artists step up to the plate and take full control and responsibility for their careers and  genuinely work to improve getting their art and message to the public in a friendly and professional manner, they will never be financially successful.

So if you want to attract the  buyers who will spend their money with you, dump the "starving artist" dress and attitude,  pick yourself up, dust off your better clothes, spruce up your skills and learn how to represent yourself as a professional artist seeking the best prices for your art!  
Get rid of that "cold prickly" aloof attitude and turn on the "warm fuzzy" personality. Celebrate your good fortune in being able to have the opportunity to create and promote your artwork!

Coming up! Seminar with Art Career EXperts Saturday, June 18 from 10-4! Learn just what you need to do to represent yourself, your studio and your Gallery! http://www.jerrysartevents.com/keyoartcainm.html


June Artist of the Month - Denise Saylor

I have been painting and drawing my entire life. My earliest memories were of drawing constantly on anything I could get my hands on! When I was around 12 years old, I spent some time taking oil painting classes with an instructor who only accepted children who were already talented. I basically had to "audition" to be in her class. Although it was many years ago, I learned to be confident in my ability and it allowed me to explore painting in a way I had never done before.
As I grew older, life and responsibility got in the way of of my art. Eventually, it just seemed like something I used to do! Those close to me always knew I was artistic and I was usually the one asked to do anything and everything that might need some creative expression!

At some point, probably around 14 years ago, someone asked me to paint a full scale "family tree" on their wall. I told them there was no way I could do that! But after being talked into it, it actually came out really nicely and my latent talents started to bloom once again. I put together a portfolio, took it over to my local paint store, and a muraling business was quickly born.
I've spent all the years since painting murals and faux finishes for many people. At some point when murals started to die down a bit, I reinvented myself and learned how to paint kitchen cabinets, doors, etc. to resemble different types of wood. So another branch of my business was born and it has been keeping my steadily employed.
What has been lacking now for some time, however, is the joy that painting brings me. Painting for ME. I've spent so much time making painting a business, learning to paint quickly, learning to listen and produce what OTHER people's visions are. I need to get back to what I love to do. So now another twist in my life and it's time to paint again on canvas. What I choose, what I love, what I'm drawn to. I can't wait to see where it all goes.











Are you SURE you want a critique? by M Theresa Brown

Critiques. If you are an artist, you cannot escape the universal  useage nor  overexposure of the word, "Critique."  It is used randomly about the art world to the point where you either embrace the concept or reject it entirely.  In art,  Critiques are used in grade school, in art lessons,  art lecturers and schools of every calibre. But without a doubt it has gained widespread usage on the Internet message boards! But is a critique really what all these artists are asking for?

A decription of the word: "Critique has been used as a verb meaning "to review or discuss critically" since the 18th century, but lately this usage has gained much wider currency, in part because the verb criticize, once neutral between praise and censure, is now mainly used in a negative sense. But this use of critique is still regarded by many as pretentious jargon....."

Ouch. But let's truly analyze what a Critique is supposed to do and I cannot say it any better than a friend of mine did when asked about a Critique on a message board recently:

"Ah, critiques...
critiques do two things--

1. Establishes that the work has come to the point where the artist's abilities have reached their limit with that particular vision,
(or they've run out of time as in a classroom environment or commission, e.g.)

2. The people who are critiquing have two issues--

     a. They are not all trained in the language of design and communication to reach clarity with the artist about what needs to be done and WHY,and because of that

     b. they then bring into the discussion their own personal tastes and responses to the work, which may alter the directional vision of the artist, or worse, totally obscure the need for any design changes that would improve the work. (All the "attaboys" without content.)

Sometimes critiques can be harsh if the person posting does it to receive positive response.  Many early learners face this reality when their design and drawing knowledge come to the fire and someone points out a design issue that needs correcting (in their opinion).

I don't offer critiques much any more, unless it is one-on-one where I can be certain the person hearing my words understands the reasons for my saying them."Elin P.

My friend's definition was so well put that there was no way to improve upon anything that she said!

So we go back to what the requester of a Critique is REALLY asking!  And this is where you must be critically honest with yourself!  Do you want a critique (possibly at the hands of someone you should NOT be taking advice from) or a pat on the back?

We  never outgrow the need (and fun) of Show and Tell.  That is good!

But whereas a real critique in a controlled environment by persons whose advice you respect can be invaluable to you as an artist, more than likely what you are going to get is someone's personal opinion.  And that will happen 99% of the time you open up your work and abilities to a mass critique or an art group.  Be careful what you wish for!

Want to know more? Join Theresa and Steve June 18 for an all day seminar in Raleigh! Laast one until the Art of the Carolinas! http://jerrysartevents.stores.yahoo.net/keyoartcainm.html



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