...serenity in motion

Sticks and Stones or Unkind Words?

Do words really hurt or are we sensitive like some people suggest.

There is an awful lot of talk these days about how words can do damage and can’t be taken back.  Show of hands, how many of us have had crappy things said to us when we display our art?  My mother kept a list for a long time and there are several facebook pages dedicated to the subject.

No matter how good you are; there will always be shallow, thoughtless things said about you or your work.  This isn’t a profession for sensitive or fragile people, you won’t believe the things that are uttered within range of your own ears and we need to learn not to let it bother us.  Parents trying to encourage their kids will offer up delightful commentary, “See? You are every bit as good as this (nationally recognized, award-winning) artist.  If they accept them, they would love to have your work too.”  Dismissive people, “I like my kid’s finger painting better than most of this stuff here.”  Simple folk, “My Aunt paints paintings and sells them at the local drugstore/café’, you should have here in this show too.”  Just unkind, “You want how much for that!?”

We can’t censure the populace at large; it causes them and the people within ear shot to avoid you.  It also seems to be a waste of time.  Part of selling is explaining and teaching those looking at your work, why it has the value you have placed on it.  I understand that we are not all economic professors and giving a detailed description of how you come to your price point can be a dicey prospect.  Ultimately, buyers just want reassurance that they are getting a good value for their money.

 When you are dealing with the people above, 7 out of 10 aren’t truly interested in why it is worth it.  Let me give you a hint; like mean girls in high school, they are actually jealous.  They look at what you are doing and think about their 40 hour a week obligation and in some small place, they envy you.  They should be jealous; we are out in the open air doing what we want to do.  It is hard work, but we get to decide when and where we are going to be.  Can you imagine going back to working for a corporation? 

When it comes down to it; I would say we are sensitive, but we’re supposed to be as artists.  We can be offended but we do need to learn how to rise above it and not lash out in response.  Always remember that those people who are speaking don’t know you, so you don’t have to take it personally.  Don’t say anything back that is nasty, I’ve had their friends come back later and buy something.  They wouldn’t do that if they felt you were petty in return.  Think about your behavior in terms of the long haul, how will it effect your public image and long-term sales? You can be tough, but you're gonna be fine.