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The more they understand you, the more they will like what you do...

Continuing the previous articles on marketing through connecting with your viewers, the post below discusses the importance of sharing your stories

The article below is by Keith Bond, Regular contributing writer for FineArtViews. ..FAV allows subscribers to share information

A few years ago, I read something an artist wrote and it had a great impact on me. I hadn’t heard of the artist before that, and therefore knew nothing about him. I didn’t know whether the artist did realism or abstraction or who knows what. But his words were inspiring. I would stumble across things he wrote from time to time and eventually began to receive his newsletter. Most of the time, I truly valued his insights.

I finally decided to look up his work on-line about a year after first learning of him. I must say that his work didn’t really strike a chord with me. I recognized his talent, but it wasn’t what appealed to me. It didn’t stop me from receiving his newsletter, though. I liked what he had to say.
His posts are philosophical and usually don’t include images of his work (that’s another topic for another post
).

Several years later, I still subscribe to his newsletter and still find much of it inspiring and enlightening. Over the years I have seen his work from time to time. Interestingly, as I feel that I have gotten to know him a bit (as much as you can from articles), I appreciate his art more. The last time I looked at his artwork, I really liked it a lot.

Did his work change that much in a few years? No. Did my tastes change that much in a few years? No, not really. So what made the difference?
I got to know him through his story and understand his art in a way that I didn’t before. The more I understand him, the more I like his art
.

I have also had the good fortune of becoming friends with many fellow artists. I would gladly own a work of art from each and every one of them. I do own art from many of them (I am slowly building my collection). Interestingly, the ones I know the best are often among the ones I admire the most (not always, but often).
This is why sharing your story with your collectors is so important. The more collectors learn about you and your story, the more they will like your work. I don’t know the psychology behind this phenomenon, but I think there is some great truth to it
.

I hear often that art should speak for itself. Many ‘purists’ cringe at the thought of needing to explain their art. I understand their point of view. Truly great art should be able to stand on its own. But, and this is a big BUT, collectors purchase more than the artwork. They purchase a bit of you. They are purchasing a bigger idea. They are buying into your fan club. Let them in. They enjoy learning about the artist who creates the works they admire. They may purchase the work anyway, but they will be much more endeared to your work and you if they get to know something about you.

Whether you like it or not, they want to know something about you or why you create what you create. They want to learn your story. They often find that it validates their opinions or decision to purchase. Sometimes if they are on the fence, it may help them decide. Sometimes it may contradict what they thought the piece meant. But that often leads to enlightenment. It helps them realize that art can have many different meanings. Regardless of what it means to you, the piece can speak to so many different people in so many different ways.
By sharing a bit of you, this will enrich the experience of the collectors, by allowing them more than one perspective on the art. They already know their perspective, adding your dimension adds to the experience
.

Some artists fear that it distracts or that it may persuade someone not to purchase when they intended to purchase. While I admit the possibility is there, I am convinced that it would be rare. I hold firm to the belief that sharing something about you or your art adds to the experience and makes the art more meaningful to the collector.

Think about it a minute. Remember way back to art history class in college. The more you learned about some of the artists or art movements in history, did you gain a greater appreciation for their art? The impressionists were dismissed in their day by the salons. But as their story got out, as people began to understand what they were saying, their work became appreciated and sought after. They taught others how to see what they saw. We have a rich legacy in much of the art created today that can be traced back to the early impressionists. What if they kept silent, because “great art should speak for itself.”

One last thought. If you don’t share your story about your art, someone else will. Do you want to leave your story in the hands (or mouth) of someone who doesn’t really know your story? Do you want someone else defining you or your art? You can control your image.

Okay, the very last thought. Perhaps there are things you really don’t want to share. That is fine. There are some things I don’t share. I am a very private person. But, there are also things that I find that I am comfortable sharing. And some things I must share. Leave out the intimate. You don’t need to give all the details. But share something that can help your collectors connect on another level. They want to hear it, I want to hear it. Let your fans into your fan club. Don’t be the bouncer keeping them out. Open the door wide and invite them in…Keith Bond
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On a personal note: I have found that it’s the works in my portfolio that have sold the most are the ones where I shared the story….not the ones that were purely representational, but the ones that had a special meaning for me and subsequently for the viewer..Janis

Previous articles on this topic (click the title) are:
Can You Tell Your Story?
Your Profile page…Is it attracting Viewers?
Avoid Mistakes when making Connections
Vital Statistics
People are talking about you…Join the Conversation

Journal Comments

  • Tammera
  • ©Janis Zroback
  • Danica Radman
  • ©Janis Zroback