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That All Important Description....

Alan Bamberger, knows all about the art of buying art..in fact he has written a book about it…he is also an expert on the business of art in general and has valuable advice for artists on how they can improve their marketing techniques..(see my post on the right about Traditional Art Marketing…an interview with Alan that is featured in the Weekly Wrap today)..

One of the most important aspects of any marketing strategy is keeping the viewer interested in the work…whether in a gallery or online, Bamberger states that "most encounters with art are fleeting, and most people want electrifyingly stunning reasons to stand there and stare".

“What kind of reasons? Reasons they understand and identify with— reasons that the artists provide— or else they move on to the next work of art or artist or gallery or hors d’oeuvre or dinner or whatever. It’s the artists job to slow them down, hopefully to the point where they become so entranced that they’ll ultimately want to take a piece of art home, aka buy something".

He goes on to describe succinctly how an artist should go about slowing down the viewer…there is only one way…whether in the gallery or online, the artist should supply a brief and accessible description (in other words close to the work itself) “that would enable anyone to grasp or understand or appreciate the artwork on some fundamental level really fast, no matter who they are or how much or how little they know”…
He advises artists to avoid "bombastic blather, that one or two or three well-worded compelling comprehensible sentences in plain English that ordinary people can understand and latch onto will be abundantly adequate to incite enthusiasm for the artwork
".

He compares buying art to buying a book, the more compelling the description on the cover, or the first few lines, the more likely people would buy the book…the same with art…the more intriguing your description, the more people “get” what they’re looking at the greater the chance they will purchase the piece..

Once sentence really stuck out for me “Forget this bullshit mindset that people who look at art are required to get educated about it on their own…..The business has changed big time. Art buyers are no longer naive enough to believe that artists and/or art dealers possess mystical inscrutable knowledge that can only be comprehended if they tremble in deference, ask no questions, nod in agreement, open their wallets, and buy”.
Buyers want to read something about the work, they want to understand it, to feel they have bought something significant, to feel that they’ve made an “intelligent choice” and that they’re getting good value for their money
..

However he emphasizes the importance of being brief in the description…“keep it simple and clear…compelling and comprehensible”…people lose interest if they have to read too much…
Lastly he says, an artist should "convince people that what he or she communicates through art is valid, worthwhile, and engaging enough for them to make it a part of their lives
“.. Sources…”The Art of Buying Art" and Art Business A.Bamburger…

Comments

  • Mui-Ling Teh
    Mui-Ling Tehabout 2 years ago

    The description is definitely important… but of course best not be too long – that applies to anything; not just visual art.

  • I have been following Bamburger’s advice for years, and found it to be sound…some of my descriptions are on the long side, but sometimes that’s necessary…the main reason for posting this though is to point out the necessity for the description to be very close to the art, and not require viewers to search too far for it…

    – © Janis Zroback

  • Mui-Ling Teh
    Mui-Ling Tehabout 2 years ago

    Agreed; I do still wish they could be seen together…

  • Yes…it wish they could…

    – © Janis Zroback

  • © Linda Callaghan
    © Linda Callaghanabout 2 years ago

    I agree that a brief description leads the viewer on and suggests what the artist wishes to portray…and then the viewer can then establish his or her own connection…it would be an advantage if we could add at least a line or two to ours..I have just loaded a new painting Janis and added one line and image of card as the first comment..that is the only way I can see around it..

  • For now yes…I am thinking of ways and means all the time, and so far this is the only way I can see around it…

    – © Janis Zroback

  • Jim Phillips
    Jim Phillipsabout 2 years ago

    I personally enjoy giving an explanation of my art, but I will admit I also think it stiffles the creativity of the viewer. I enjoy when viewers say things like, "that reminds me of " or “it looks like when I…” Everyone should let art be what they see and feel, regardless of whether it matches the artist’s intent or not.

  • The description is an important part of my artwork…in fact it’s part and parcel of it, so I wish I could show it on all pages…

    – © Janis Zroback

  • © Pauline Wherrell
    © Pauline Wher...about 2 years ago

    Haven’t time to read this now Janis but have favourited it so that I can come back – thanks so much for all your very helpful journals!

  • You’re welcome Pauline…

    – © Janis Zroback

  • Cindy Schnackel
    Cindy Schnackelabout 2 years ago

    Will be interesting to see the ways RB members find, to get some sort of description into the default view on their images here, since the last format change!

  • Some of the technically savvy people undoubtedly will…

    – © Janis Zroback

  • © Pauline Wherrell
    © Pauline Wher...about 2 years ago

    Thanks so much Janis – Rb has slightly discouraged this with our work now with the additional click for the description!

  • I am putting part of it on the comment page, hoping that it will help a little…

    – © Janis Zroback

  • © Pauline Wherrell
    © Pauline Wher...about 2 years ago

    That is a good idea Janis, especially for works where it is very important for people to read it.

  • Yes it is…glad you found the post helpful…

    – © Janis Zroback

  • DeAnna2112
    DeAnna21124 months ago
    Most people don’t buy art because of what it means to the artist…nor do they buy it because of what inspired the artist..like the way the wind blows across a blade of grass in the morning. People buy art because THEY like it and something about it inspires THEM. Way too often i walk away from pieces of art that inspired me because the artist starts rambling on about what it means to them and their interpretation of the piece which totally ruins the interpretation and meaning that the piece conveys to me the buyer. Once that happens i don’t see the piece in the same way and no longer interested in it. Nothing the artist can say will make me buy a piece and if anything it will cause me to not buy their work for reasons i just stated. The only thing that is going to sell a piece of art is if the PAINTING speaks to the buyer and inspires the buyer. It’s always best to let the painting do all the talking. The only reason why galleries push this is because folks who pay thousands of dollars want to show off their high price gallery piece and want some of this info to make it a conversation piece..they don’t really care and it had nothing to do with why they bought the piece to begin with..they bought it because they liked it and given they spent so much they want something to say about it other then they really like it. I have had this discussion with soo many people who wish artist knew that buyers are not buying them or their inspirations or interpretations..they a buying a piece of art that speaks to them and inspires them for reasons that has nothing to do with the artist’s reasons.
  • DeAnna2112
    DeAnna21124 months ago

    Artist bio is different..people like reading things like where your artwork has been and what your’re ambitions are for the future..do you paint by the ocean side or indoors, do you have more then one medium and so on. Notice this is a bio of the artist and in no way directly effects the perception, interpretation or meaning of any one painting. Artist bio’s is what buyers love to read about not being told that a painting is suppose to mean this, be interpreted as that and so on because the artist wants it to be that to the buyer.