Happy New Year! I am so glad you are here to live 2020. As long as we have breath, we have work to do! Artists are witnesses; witnesses to the joys and sorrows, the justices and injustices, the beauty and ugliness of all that is human, inhumane, biotic and abiotic. Our art is a record of our experience and we have much to communicate. It takes many voices to accurately portray a story, or the stories of a time, and those voices must be the truthful, from all directions, all cultures, all genders, all ages, all senses, and all the telling talents.
It’s an impossible feat, perhaps, but witnessing and recording ‘ourstory’ shapes now and the future. We are never as alone as we may at times feel. Your voice, my voice, the many voices, create ‘ourstory’, a lessonworthy, collaboration that many of us artists are unaware of belonging to.
Life is a collaboration!
Adding to my previous post, here are two more practices that can help to strengthen your artistic identity and align you with prospective collectors.
I know the world I want to live in. I’ve known that world of ‘beauty’ for many years. I look for it in everything, everyone and everywhere. What I look for is what I see, and what I end up painting. As a result, I understand why I create in the style I do and I can articulate that to my audience.
I believe in morning pages and artist dates. Sound familiar? If it doesn’t you really need to read Julia Cameron’s, The Artist Way. Both will contribute to your clarity in their own way; one rinses you clean while the other fills you up.
It is during artist dates that I get really clear on what I look for in the world.
Practice Three begins with The Artist Date.
Then simply notice the kinds of things that draws your attention and make some mental notes about that.
While you’re out there on the date, also try to get clear on Mahatma Ghandi’s quote …’we need to be the change we see in the world’… and what it means to you.
When you get home, go look at the art you make. Look for the themes, the design elements and principles you rely on.
If you’re a writer, and even if you’re not, record some of your thoughts as you try to wrap your head around these three somewhat philosophical explorations because it will help you to unlock the commonalities and connections.
Scribble some notes to these questions:
1. Describe the ‘_____insert colour____’ coloured glasses you view the world through. What are you seeing?
2. What do you passionately care about?
3. Describe the commonalities in the pieces of art you create.
4. How is your art helping to create the world you want to live in?
An artist statement in the making!
You may want to work this statement out over a series of weekly artist dates the first time you attempt to write your statement. Expect and welcome change as you get clarity on why you paint, why you paint what you paint, and what you are trying to communicate to your audience.
Expect your statement to be dynamic. Experiences, responses, unions, the passage of time, it grows us and as we grow so does our art. Revisit your artist statement from time to time.
When someone asks me what I do, I have often answered with, “I paint.” or “I’m an artist.”
Both were skimpy, inadequate answers.
I have since retaught myself to answer, “I am an intuitive artist who paints.” The question is now an opportunity to share one of my beautiful business cards that shows a glimpse of my artistic style, my purpose statement, as well as contact information. Answering this way leaves me feeling professional and worthy of answering follow up questions related to my work. It also allows the person I’m talking to look further into what I do and possibly become a collector. I’ve noticed that it’s relationships that sell paintings. Collectors, purchasers, they want to feel like they know the artist!
Do you carry business cards?
Creating my purpose statement for my business cards really helped me answer the What do you do? question more confidently.
I was super lucky to get help with it over lattes from some wonderful artist friends. They know me. They know my art. We brainstormed. Eventually, the writer among us nailed it.
Don’t have that community yet? That’s okay. Use the work you did in exercise three to get to it. A purpose statement is just a whittled down artists statement. A one liner, unique to you.
You’ve got this! If you need a little help, email me, firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll set up a coaching session. I’m here!
Because I want my readers to know me as an artist, I don’t often remind you that I was/am also a longtime school teacher, mentor and coach. The thing about me as a teacher is that I’ve always come at it from curiousity and play. What can I learn from these people I’m serving? What happens if I meet X with Y? What will change if we do it this way? How can I do X without causing harm? I never thought I’d teach as long as I have, because I’ve always been an artist, but teaching has provided well for me and my family and it acts as one of my muses. I’ve had the great good opportunity to connect to thousands of people and their stories!
I seek out beauty and it’s what I find.
My purpose statement?
I experience time and place to bring you delight.