Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Artists stories

Espresso - oil on wood - 4 x 4"

I thought I'd share something i read over on Lori McNee's blog yesterday evening...it sort of hit a chord with me. Carolyn Edlund is the author of the article.  I've copied it below.  It was included in Lori's Top 2013 Art Business Tips From the Pros. Perhaps it hit a chord, because, ...believe it or not I am a little shy, and telling my story always seems a little too pompous, too grandiose. But thinking about it...I do find other people's stories really interesting.  So I believe she has a good point for us artists to remember when going about our art business.  You can read the article below:


Why Artists Must Tell Their Story

Carolyn Edlund spent twenty years running her own ceramic and jewelry studio, is currently the Executive Director of the Arts Business Institute, the author of the E-course titled “Marketing for Artists & Craftspeople,”  and the owner and author of Artsy Shark, a site devoted to the support of artists and creative entrepreneurs. She offers workshops and one on one consulting services as well. To find out more about Carolyn and to take your career to another level,  just click HERE.
One of the most effective ways that you as an artist can connect with your audience is to tell your story. Not just a recital of your resume, but the story of your inspiration, your struggles, your vision and your message.
Talking about yourself and your artwork builds a layer of emotional connection between you as the artist and your potential collectors. Yes, your work must be good, and must stand on its own, but you as an artist are intrinsically part of the end product of your studio work. When your client makes a purchase of your art, they are buying a part of your talent and your personality.
 Many art collectors are highly creative people themselves. They may not have ability as painters, photographers or sculptors, but they express themselves through buying the work of artists they appreciate. It’s no wonder that curation is a huge trend for the public, as each person can distinguish themselves and their tastes. They may have a boring job or an ordinary life, but they can stand out by showing their appreciation for the arts by becoming collectors. They crave a connection with artists and the perceived mystique and fantasy of being a full-time sought-after talent.
Your story helps make this connection, and can become an essential part of your presentation. Start by writing down everything that has affected or influenced you, and has led to your expressing your heart and soul in your artwork. Do you have an unusual technique? A story of overcoming hardship? Are your materials innovative?
When collectors buy your work, they will re-tell your story to others when showing your art. This can help you cultivate repeat buyers as well as earning referral business from your fans.
 Work on your story to distill down the parts that make those emotional connections with others. Practice telling your story. Record and listen to it, then make changes and hone it further. Your story should be compelling, full of important messages that you want to convey to your audience – and it should flow well.  You may want to have a longer and shorter version of your story which you can use as needed.
Where can you share your story?
  •  On your website About page. One of the most visited pages on any website, this important page should also include your photograph, so that visitors feel they know you.
  • In your artist statement and bio
  • As part of the branding of your business
  • When speaking about your work at a gallery show
  • To present your work to visitors at an art fair
  • In your brochure and other written promotional material
  • To use when applying for an artist residency, or on grant applications
  • For networking purposes, using a succinct version of your story tells others very clearly who you are.
  •  On your blog. This is a powerful place to share your ongoing story. Jack White is a master storyteller who frequently uses his own story as an artist, as well as telling stories about others. His style has made him a top expert on selling art.
  • In press releases
  • In interviews with the press
Your story will evolve over time as your art career grows. Don’t forget to stay in touch with your audience and continue to share about yourself and your art. It will be appreciated!


  1. Hi Sally,
    Thank you for posting this article. Like you it struck a chord with me, giving some valuable insights into the business of being an artist.

  2. Hi Sarah,
    I'm so glad you got to read this article too, because i think we all need it's message re-inforced from time to time, especially those of us who are a bit shy.
    I think of how much i enjoy listening to other artists stories and try to remind myself that the sharing is really not about me it's about giving to others.


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