One of the most valuable things you can do in your marketing is to teach people how to look at and appreciate your art.
It’s not just good for you, but a gift that will last throughout the lives of those who experience it.
I learned long ago when I worked in a museum that teaching people how to look at art empowers them and gives them confidence.
Most people in the U.S. haven’t been privy to a visual art education. They might like the color, imagery, or form, but they often can’t say why.
This lack of verbal skills isn’t their fault! They’ve never been exposed. But it means that many people feel stupid around art, and no one spends time in situations that make them feel stupid.
Spread confidence by educating viewers, and they will reward you with a higher level of engagement.
The First Thing You Teach
When sharing your art with others, the first bit of wisdom you should impart is that all opinions are valid. Everybody has their own life experiences that they bring to your art, and it’s important that they feel comfortable sharing with you.
Listen to what people say! Commend them for making connections between your art and what they already know.
Teach People How to Look
The biggest part of educating people is centered on teaching how to look at your art. This is why I insist that artist statements compel viewers to look at the work.
Encourage them to look at lines, shapes, colors, and textures.
Point to the unique qualities of your medium:
- Notice how the layer of yellow paint is beneath the other layers. I did this because . . .
- See the cracks in the wood? That happened because . . .
These may seem obvious to you, but in our fast-paced electronic world, these things usually go unnoticed.
Giving viewers permission to slow down and explore is a gift. Empowering them with skills is invaluable—to both you and them.