...serenity in motion

But is it really a compliment?

I make no secret, I am a pastelist.  I worked with oil and acrylic when I was getting my fine art degree.  Someday soon, I plan on revisiting oil but not just yet.  When the general public comes into my display, I hear all sorts of things; "I thought these were water colors!", "These aren't photos? I thought I was looking at a picture!"  What this tells me is that I am probably not at the right venue.  It does not insult me however.  It is all about engagement, when people talk about my art to me; I know that they are emotionally involved.  It probably isn't an involvement leading to great sales, today.  The thing is, they take my brochure and show it to their friends and family. Depending on my reaction to what they say, I am remembered for my talent or my attitude.  If I am that really nice talented lady, I will be shared.  If I'm that grumpy old tart, my brochure will be dropped in the parking lot and tread upon.  

People have to learn about art sometime, they don't always learn when they are growing up.  We all learn new things as we age, some of us learn car repair, computer programing and others....  They learn about art.  Learning at an art show can be safe.  They aren't in a gallery where people are judging their shoes to gage if the pocket book that goes with them is adeqately lined.  Museums make you think every thing on the walls needs to be revered and sometimes you don't understand why.  It can make you feel stupid.  Why do you want to make them feel bad in your display too?

When someone says something like the above, I nod and say thank you.  I am thanking them for taking the time to stop and look, for committing energy to my art, engaging with me.  If someone says something like, "I have never understood art."  I just let them know that the only thing they need to understand is if they like it or not.  I validate them.  I will probably not sell anything to them, but they might purchase from another artist someday.  That is just as important to me as if I had made a sale.  People don't just purchase art, they buy what they like and I am giving them permission to have an opinion.  Museums and galleries can make you feel like your opinion isn't worthy and you should just keep them to yourself.  Galleries aren't interested in selling someone else's things, they want to move what is hanging on the walls.  Museums are more interested in collecting and educating than selling.

My point, be the first positive interaction they might ever have.  If we all do that, we are creating collectors for each other.  Lets lift up the begining collector and the new art lover, help them enjoy having an opinion.  I may not really like what they are saying but, in the end; I know that from where they are standing, they are making a compliment.