The Power of Stories in Selling Art - Part VI
The story of each individual artwork
Artists often say, “My work speaks for itself.”
But your art doesn’t speak for itself.
People do buy the art, not just the story. But the stories do matter. What you tell people about your work will affect how much of it you sell, and how much people enjoy it. However, artists, and marketers often misunderstand what we mean when we say “the story” and mistakenly assume we mean the story of the artist’s background.
What we actually mean when we say “the story” is an amalgamation of many different kinds of “stories”, both verbal and nonverbal, that define the brand, or the vibe around your art.
This series explores these different kinds of stories.
Here are the topics we plan to cover in this series:
Previous Articles in Series:
2. Your Origin Story
3. Your ongoing public story
4. The specific story between you and each fan
5. The context your art is displayed within
6. The story of each artwork
Planned for the next few weeks:
On to today’s update!
In our previous articles, we’ve talked about the importance of the story, the signaling, and the context that your pieces are shown within telegraph to the buyer. In this article, we look at the specific story you tell about a particular piece of work.
As in the “expensive wine tastes better” story, we’ve learned, through psychology, that only a small part of the pleasure people get from a piece of art comes from the artwork itself. What they believe about the artwork, or product, also influences their enjoyment of it.
Here’s an example from a small, inadvertent “test” I did recently: I was walking in my neighborhood on September 29th and in the late afternoon light noticed that a beautiful grouping of oak trees with particularly interesting branches looked like they were dancing. I was inspired. I try to notice small, beautiful moments I encounter each day, so, this is what I wrote about that moment in my journal:
The oak tree grouping stood in the afternoon sunlight, branches akimbo looking like a crowd of Ents dancing at a rave.
Later, I was inspired to create an image to go with by my words:
I posted the image (with the words) on Twitter and asked, is this art? Here are some of the responses: