How To Tell Your Story...

In continuing the conversation about marketing online, it is important to learn how to tell your story…recently we discussed improving profile page…here are some tips on how to tell your story to keep viewers and buyers intrigued and to keep them coming back again and again

The post below is by Luann Udell, regular contributing author for FineArtViews…FAV allows subscribers to share information with others….

Artists are creative people. That’s pretty redundant, right? After all, the whole point of being an artist is—we create. Whether we work in oils, pastels or watercolor, fiber, clay or bronze, we take ordinary materials and transform them into something wonderful.

In order for our art to be ‘out in the world’, there are three critical things we have to do.

  • The first is to do good work. Artists are very good at figuring out how to do that. We educate and train ourselves, formally or informally. We practice what we’ve learned. We seek out good criticism and feedback. We challenge ourselves, we push ourselves, we grow.
  • The second is to create great images of that work. We need those images to enter shows, enrich press releases, to create enticing ads and to market to our customers. We do what it takes to photograph our art in its best light, or we hire skilled people to do that for us.
  • The last is to tell the story about the work, and us, in ways that engage an audience. We tell that story in our artist bio, in our artist statement, in press releases, when we’re interviewed for articles, and when we make brochures, books or websites about our art and create our profile pages…(read Redbubble here).

Sometimes artists aren’t so good at that part….they let themselves off the hook too easily.

  • We take shortcuts. We don’t challenge ourselves. We do it the same old way because ‘that’s how it’s done.’ Or ‘that’s what everybody else does.’ Or tell ourselves, “I’m not a writer. It’s too hard.”

Why do we often struggle to find the right words? Why do we insist on sticking to rote lists of our education, our awards and achievements, and long involved discourses on our techniques?

Why is it so hard to tell the story behind our work?

And why is it so easy for us to overlook this crucial aspect of marketing our art?

I believe it’s because traditionally, we saw art treated and discussed in formal ways.

In art history, we learn about art through the ages. We hear about schools of style and technique.

In art school, we study line and form, light and shadow. Our work is constantly critiqued, sometimes harshly, for originality, for intention, for skill and technique.
When we read reviews of current artists and shows, the language gets so dense and convoluted, I can’t even visualize what the work looks like unless a photo accompanies the article.
I consider myself a reasonably well-educated person with a wide range of skills and interests. But I rarely get through an art review in a newspaper or magazine without doubting my sanity and intelligence. (I usually hand it to my husband and sputter, “I have no understanding of what I just read. What does it say???” He simply refuses to read them at all

When we look at other artists and how they do it, we usually only see formal and restricted ways of talking about the work: Fact-driven lists of shows, exhibits, honors, awards, who they studied with, who they emulate style-wise. Long descriptions of technical aspects of the work and technique.

Many of us have been taught there is only one ‘right way’ to write and talk about our art. I’ve attended exhibitions where it looked like every single artist used the same basic artist statement:
“I have been an artist for ____ years. I use ____ media because I love color. I studied under Mr./Ms. Famous Artist for ____ years. I have won ___ awards in ____ shows. I live in (pick a state/pick a country

Someone told me this years ago "You cannot fill in the blanks with passion"

None of it tells me who you are, as a person. None of it tells me why you feel compelled to use these materials, this technique, at this time in your life. Nothing tells me what drives you, what you yearn for, what you want and why this vision is the one you need to express.

None of it tells me what is in your heart.

And none of it compels me to connect with it. To look at it in wonder. To yearn to own it for myself.

If, at the end, you still believe you can’t do the writing yourself, find someone who can do that for you. But remember you need to be able to tell them that powerful story, so that they can do it for you…L.U.

Can you tell your story? Do share your thoughts about this post…let me know if you found the info helpful..Janis

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