The Story of Each Individual Artwork
Art Marketing Circle III - Stories
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Alright, with that out of the way, let’s take a look at Art Marketing Circle III - Turning Your Art into a Saleable Product…
When you decide you want to sell your art, everything changes. Prior to that decision, you are creating solely because you have the insatiable hunger to create. You are feeding your soul. You are making the world better, from your perspective, because you are making yourself better. As I said before, an artist cannot serve two masters, so you must serve your soul first, before you sell your art, so that you have no inner conflict.
Once you decide to sell your art, however, you walk a fine line. You must, in short, turn your offering which consists of you, your art and the stories and context in which you talk about all of it into a product, without losing your focus on your own vision and your own inspiration.
Now, to sell art, it’s of critical importance that your art is inspired and that there is something of you in it that makes it unique. And if you’ve done your work properly in the previous circle (Art Marketing Circle II - Your Art), you’ve already nailed that aspect.
In addition to you unique art however, there are five business elements that you must think through to turn your art into a product:
Your Offerings - the mix of products and services you offer (covered here)
Reputational Power - The reputation you build up via magic interactions with people (covered here)
The Category or niche that you mostly work within (covered here)
The Price you charge for your art (covered here)
The Stories you tell about yourself and your art (the current article series)
Nail these five elements and you will give yourself a huge tailwind when you start offering your art for sale.
Now, the stories category is by far the biggest category precisely because stories are important. So we’re going to break up the stories section into several articles.
The main elements of your artistic stories:
1. The importance of stories (review here)
2. Your origin story (review here)
3. Your ongoing public story (review here)
4. The specific story between you and each of your fans. (review here)
5. The context your art is displayed within (review here)
6. The story of each particular artwork (today’s article)
Today we’re going to look at the story of each individual artwork
So let’s dive in……
Story Element 5: The Story of Each Individual Artwork
In the previous section we talked about the importance of the story, the signaling, and the context that your pieces are shown within telegraph to the buyer. In this section, 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 one day, 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:
I think if you choose to look at it as art and enjoy it as such, then it is. I could definitely see someone owning this and considering it art on their wall. I wouldn't disagree with them.
Yes, this is art. It’s visually arresting, it’s a marvelous design that keeps one moving about the surface in delightful little discoveries. The repetition of jagged shapes give this work lots of rhythm. Then the contrast of the soft light adds a dimension of peace.
Call it whatever you want. It’s evocative, beautiful and engaging. How much can you ask for it?
But, here’s the twist: later, I revealed that I had created the image by feeding my words into an AI image generator called StableDiffusion and adjusting the algorithm until I was happy with the image.
Then I publicly wondered again, is this art? The next set of responses follow:
If one has to ask, I would suggest, probably not. Your prose is one thing—but the AI image is like slapping a stock image onto your work. I like what is possible for art with AI, but I believe it is gimmicky at best if not pushed further with a human manipulating matter.
No! It’s just a soulless mashup of images stolen from real artists! Sad!
Can you see how the story about my piece, “Oak trees at a Rave” completely changed the reaction to it?
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