“I know writing helps me build a connection with my fans, but I don’t know what to write about.”
As artists, all we want to do is work on our craft. The canvas calls to us like a newborn baby calls to her mom. We don’t want to step away from our art because that’s the thing we know how to do best. Others keep telling you to “Tell your story. It’s what people want to see.”
You might think “I’m not a writer.” or “I don’t know what to talk about.” Is writing about yourself and your art really that important? Yes, and I’ll tell you why.
Let’s say you have two similar paintings. They are equally beautiful and they are the same price. Next to one, all you see is the artist’s name and the title of the painting. Next to the other, you see the same thing, but there is also a description of the piece. It talks about the emotions and history behind the work. It tells you the artist’s perspective and why she created the piece. Which painting would you rather buy?
I’m guessing the painting with the story. As humans, we are born to like stories. It has helped our civilizations survive and thrive. You can use this tool of story to draw people to your art.
If you need help figuring out what topics to talk about, here are seven topics to get you started.
1. Why you create art
This is one of the easiest and most important things you can talk about. If you want to get people interested in your art, start with telling people why you create art.
Most people talk about their art by telling you uninteresting details. “I went to college and studied fine art. I started painting landscapes. I use acrylics. etc.” Please don’t do this. You will bore your audience to death.
Instead, try talking about why you chose to become an artist. Artists don’t want to create art. They NEED to create art.
What is the underlying reason you create art? The reason I create art is because I want to help inspire people. I use my quote art to help inspire action in others. I create my city collage art to inspire others to travel and explore the world. Figure out the reason you create art. It will draw in an audience like a moth to a flame.
Why I create art
Last year I started creating art based on quotes that inspired me. Although I started it as a fun side project, I quickly realized how much my art can have an impact on others. So I began writing my thoughts about each quote to go along with the art. I wanted to share my thoughts about each quote and why it inspired me. I wanted to help others going through the same struggles as I was. If my art can help just one person get through the day it will have been worth all the work.
2. How your art affects people
As artists, all we think about is how selling art will help us. It brings me joy. It helps pay the bills. It allows me to buy more supplies. We are inherently selfish creatures. Every thought we have revolves around ourselves. Everything we do is for us.
We assume people are judging us or watching our every move. I will tell you this right now. Most people do not think of you at all. I don’t mean everyone is awful and has no feelings. What I am saying is everyone is too busy worrying about themselves to worry about you.
That is why you shouldn’t always write about yourself. If you want people to pay attention, you should write about them. You may be wondering how you’re supposed to write about other people. What are you supposed to say?
You need to write about how your art affects people. There are two ways you can do this: write about people who have bought your art and people who are viewing your art.
If you want to write about people who have bought your art, you need to ask for a testimonial. You don’t want to leave the testimonial completely open-ended. To get a good testimonial there are a few questions you can ask your customers.
- What drew you to my art?
- Why did you choose this piece over others?
- Where do you display it?
- How does my art make you feel?
- Is there anything else you would like to say about my art?
These questions can help guide the testimonial in a way that creates impact. It also takes the work off of the person giving the testimonial.
You can also talk about how your art fits into the life of your audience. You want people to feel something when viewing your art. This can be anything from nostalgia to joy.
You can create emotions in your audience through storytelling. If you want people to feel nostalgic, talk about a memory you had while creating your art. Create a story that has meaning.
Once you do, your viewers will naturally attach their own meaning to your art. They will think back to a time they felt the same way. Memories will come flooding back to them just like they did for you.
As the creator of your art, you have a unique perspective to add. Use that to your advantage and make people feel something.
How my art affects others
What do you do when you are having a bad day? Do you turn to work? Do you do research? No, you sit down and read a good book. You plop down on the couch and immerse yourself in the world of Westeros. You listen to music that makes your soul feel alive. You turn to the arts.
I create art to make you forgot about your problems. For a moment, there is a light that brightens your day. My art explores the ideas of great men and women. It’s there when you need the extra push to go on.
3. Emotions that inspire your work
Emotion is at the heart of every great piece of art. Without emotion your art can be dull and lifeless. Emotions not only make art better, they also help us navigate the world.
Talking about the emotions you had while creating your art can have a huge impact on how the viewer interprets it. Talking about your work helps set the mood and tone of the piece. It changes how the viewer feels about your art.
Don’t believe me? Let’s look at one of the most famous pieces of art ever created: the Mona Lisa. People have debated her smile for as long as the work has existed. No one knows for sure what Leonardo da Vinci was thinking when he created it. What if we could? How would our interpretation of the work change? Although this might remove the mystique of the piece, it would also give us a greater perspective into the painting.
By describing your emotions while creating your art, you give the audience a glimpse behind the curtain. Have you ever wondered how the artist felt when staring at their work? How did this affect the way the piece turned out? Your audience is just as curious as you are. Give them what they want.
Emotions that inspire my work
When you turn on the news or open a newspaper, what do you see? There are headlines about disasters. Scare tactics are abundant. “Are your kids safe? What’s lurking in your tap water? What can you do to avoid Ebola?” It’s a surprise any of us are alive at all.
While many in the news and media are all doom and gloom, I can’t help but be an optimist. Someone has to be.
That’s why I create quote art. I know how hard it is to pursue your dreams so I’m doing what I can to encourage you. So many people give up at the precipice of success. I want to pull you up so you can find that success.
4. Ways art has changed your life
As aspiring artists, I can guarantee art has had a profound affect on your life. There is something about art that draws you in. It has changed who you are and your outlook on the world.
You need to share this message with the world. Telling people how art has changed your life can create a deeper connection with your audience. They will feel like they know you and will be more likely to buy your art.
The mistake many artists make when telling their story is, they do it too soon. You don’t want to shove it in front of everyone and force them to read or listen to it. This comes off as self-absorbed. Your story should be used to enhance your art. Once people become interested in your art, they will want to know more about you. This is when you share your story.
If you need help crafting your message, here are some questions you can ask yourself:
- What was your life like before you began making art?
- What would your life be like if you didn’t create art?
- Why does creating give you joy?
- Why do you feel compelled to create?
- How has your life changed since you began creating art?
Answering these questions will let everyone know how much art means to you. Use it to build a stronger bond with your audience. Let them know how art has changed your life.
How art has changed my life
Ever since I was a child, art has had a profound affect on my life. I don’t even remember what it was like to not feel great joy when creating.
Life without art seems unfathomable. The closest parallel I can think of comes from the movie Pleasantville. When two modern day teenagers arrive back in the 1950’s, everything in the city feels like a sitcom. There are perfect families, manicured lawns, and no conflicts to be found. That is what life would be like without art. Not the perfection, but the lack of excitement, the dullness of life.
When colors begin to pop up in Pleasantville, things start to change. The facade of a perfect life cracks, and we see into what life is really like. Art is like color in Pleasantville. Sure, we could live life without art, but would we want to? Life without art would mirror the dullness of Pleasantville without color.
5. Experimentation and trying new things
Albert Einstein defined insanity as “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” This means we need to try new things and learn from everything we do. Every time we create a new piece of art we should be learning from it. Every time we market and sell art we should be learning too.
If we continue to do the same things over and over again, how will we ever grow? We need to be willing to put ourselves out there and experiment. These experiments will not only teach us lessons, they also make for great writing material.
They allow you to open up to the audience about your experiences and lessons you learned. These experiments can lead to failure, but they can also lead to great success.
The next time you create a new piece of art, try something new and talk about your experience. Say what went right or wrong and what you can learn from it. Talking about your successes and failures makes you more relatable and they can also give you a world of insights.
There is nothing better for your self-improvement than some experimentation. While most people are content to go through life doing the same things, I am constantly trying new projects. Some have found success, but many have not. The fun part is not in success or failure, but in doing.
In fact, you are reading my latest experiment. I know I don’t have all the answers or even the best answers, but I do know what works for me. While trying to find my place in the world, I have stumbled upon something that makes me feel alive.
Helping artists find their way has been one giant ongoing experiment. My hope is some of you will join me on this journey. Together we can find success or failure, but one thing is certain, we tried. Every experiment brings us closer to finding what works for us. As long as we continue to try new things and learn from them, we will grow and become better.
6. A Challenge you faced and overcame
What failures have you had? What lessons did you learn from those failures?
Challenges can be paralyzing. They make us feel like we are trapped in a corner with no way out. Until we figure a way out.
Stories of our challenges are some of the most powerful things we can share with our audience. Everyone has felt paralyzed by fear. Like we have no way out. It is part of what makes us human.
Challenges make us better. They force us to find a solution which often come from unexpected places. They force us to think outside of the box and grow.
In fact, Ryan Holiday wrote an amazing book on this very topic: The Obstacle is the Way. In it he describes the three pillars of overcoming obstacles: perception, action, and will. With these three things, you can overcome anything.
“The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way.” – Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius
It is with this attitude that you must face every challenge. Challenges are like puzzles waiting to be solved. Once you’ve completed them, you feel an immense sense of satisfaction. Share these stories.
The next time you have an obstacle to face, write about it. The answer won’t come to you right away, but that makes overcoming the challenge that much sweeter. Write about your ups and downs. Write about solutions that didn’t work. Write about your journey and how you finally found your way out of that corner.
When I was a child I was paralyzed by fear at the thought of talking to people I didn’t know. When I would meet new people at school, I wouldn’t say a word. When it was my turn to order something at a restaurant, my mom would have to tell the server my order. It was bad enough that they held me back a year after Kindergarten.Looking back at those times I know my fear was completely irrational. I can’t explain why I felt this way, but I got over it. If I had held onto this fear I wouldn’t be where I am today. The point is, if your obstacle is a fear of talking to other people or trying something new to market your art, you can overcome it. You can only succeed if you face your challenges head on.
7. Things you wish you knew earlier
We should not judge success by the number of things we’ve accomplished. It does not tell the whole story of who we are and what we had to go through to get there. We claim to love success stories, but what we actually like to hear are stories of failure and lessons learned. These stories prove that we are all human. They prove that we can overcome obstacles and still be successful.
No matter how long you have been an artist, you have valuable knowledge that you can share with others. Think of all the things you’ve learned over the years. If you could go back five years, what would you tell your younger self? What valuable insights can you give to other artists?
You can’t prevent the mistakes you made, but you can help others avoid those same mistakes. The next time you are looking for something to write about, don’t talk about your success. Talk about your failures. Help guide others through those tough times. They will appreciate your advice.
What I wish I knew
As a web designer and graphic artist for at least half of my life, I couldn’t understand why. It all seemed so simple to me. Why don’t they just fix their site?After studying a few courses and reading a lot of ideas, I realized I was suffering from the curse of expertise. This happens when you think something is obvious and easy to do, but people who don’t have your background find it difficult.
For me, seeing artists create magnificent art is an absolute joy. I want to help those artists sell their work and bring that joy to as many people as possible.
I wish I had realized the impact I could have made sooner, but there’s nothing I can do about that now. What I can do is begin making an impact now.
That is why I started my website for helping artists, and that is why I want to help you.
Starting a blog about your art can feel like a daunting task. If you want to create something people read, subscribe to, and care about, you must have good content. People aren’t going to read your blog if you don’t put time and care into it. The topics above are just the tip of the iceberg. You can write about anything as long it is relevant to your audience. If you still need more topics here are a few more to get you started:
- Your thoughts about art
- The story behind why you created a piece of art
- Ways to decorate home revolving around an art piece(s)
- Art genres that inspire you
- Thoughts on the future of art and your place in it
I hope this has helped you realize the power and potential of writing about your art. The only way to get better at writing is to do it, so I’ll stop writing and let you get started!
If you enjoyed this article, please sign up for my free marketing tips below. Future articles will include blogging, creating newsletters, tools for tracking your user interactions, what makes a good post, article headlines, site designs that work, and much more. I also plan to explore social media and SEO for those who are ready. Stay tuned, and don’t forget to leave a comment below, I would love to hear how this information has helped you.