Artist Websites  Artist Websites |  Featured Artists |  Art Marketing  Art Marketing |  Art Contest |  BrushBuzz |  InformedCollector |  FASO Loves You - Share Your Art, Share Life


« Kim Collins | Main | How Many People Strike It Rich Selling Paintings out of Their Car? »

Follow this Blog

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Quick Links

Artist Websites and Good Design
How to Sell Art
How to Get Your Art Noticed by Galleries
SEO For Artists - The Ultimate Tip


Blog Roll

Mikki Senkarik's Blog

acrylic painting
advice for artists
art and culture
art and psychology
art and society
art appreciation
art blogging advice
Art Business
art collectors
art criticism
art education
art fairs
art festivals
art forum
art gallery tips
art history
art law
art marketing
art museums
art reception
art show
art studio
art supplies
art websites
artist resume advice
artist statement
Artwork videos
BoldBrush Winners
Brian Sherwin
Carolyn Edlund
Carolyn Henderson
Carrie Turner
Clint Watson
commissioned art
Cory Huff
Curator's Pick
Daily Art Show
Dave Geada
Dave Nevue
email newsletters
Eric Rhoads
exposure tips
FASO Featured Artists
Fine Art Shows
framing art
Gayle Faucette Wisbon
giclee prints
Guest Posts
Internet Scams
Jack White
Jane Hunt
Jason Horejs
Jen Piche
John Weiss
Juried Shows
Kathleen Dunphy
Keith Bond
Kelley Sanford
Kim VanDerHoek
landscape painting
Lori Woodward
Luann Udell
Mark Edward Adams
mixed media
Moshe Mikanovsky
New FASO Artist Members
Noteworthy Artist
oil painting
online art competitions
online art groups
open studio
plein air painting
press releases
pricing artwork
S.C. Mummert
sell art
selling art online
selling fine art online
SEO for Artist Websites
social media
social networking
solo show
Steve Atkinson
still life art
support local art
Think Tank
websites for artists
Zac Elletson

 Feb 2018
Jan 2018
Dec 2017
Nov 2017
Oct 2017
Sep 2017
Aug 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
Apr 2017
Mar 2017
Feb 2017
Jan 2017
Dec 2016
Nov 2016
Oct 2016
Sep 2016
Aug 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
Apr 2016
Mar 2016
Feb 2016
Jan 2016
Dec 2015
Nov 2015
Oct 2015
Sep 2015
Aug 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
Apr 2015
Mar 2015
Feb 2015
Jan 2015
Dec 2014
Nov 2014
Oct 2014
Sep 2014
Aug 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
Apr 2014
Mar 2014
Feb 2014
Jan 2014
Dec 2013
Nov 2013
Oct 2013
Sep 2013
Aug 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
Apr 2013
Mar 2013
Feb 2013
Jan 2013
Dec 2012
Nov 2012
Oct 2012
Sep 2012
Aug 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
Apr 2012
Mar 2012
Feb 2012
Jan 2012
Dec 2011
Nov 2011
Oct 2011
Sep 2011
Aug 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
Apr 2011
Mar 2011
Feb 2011
Jan 2011
Dec 2010
Nov 2010
Oct 2010
Sep 2010
Aug 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
Apr 2010
Mar 2010
Feb 2010
Jan 2010
Dec 2009
Nov 2009
Oct 2009
Sep 2009
Aug 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
Apr 2009
Mar 2009
Feb 2009
Jan 2009
Dec 2008
Nov 2008
Oct 2008
Sep 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
Apr 2008
Mar 2008
Feb 2008
Jan 2008
Dec 2007
Nov 2007
Oct 2007
Sep 2007
Aug 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
Apr 2007
Mar 2007
Feb 2007
Jan 2007
Dec 2006
Nov 2006
Oct 2006
Sep 2006
Aug 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
Apr 2006
Mar 2006
Feb 2006
Jan 2006
Dec 2005
Nov 2005
Sep 2005
Aug 2005


Bring Out Yer Dead*

by Luann Udell on 9/8/2016 9:33:44 AM

This post is by Luann Udell, regular contributing author for FineArtViews. She's blogged since 2002 about the business side--and the spiritual inside--of art. She says, "I share my experiences so you won't have to make ALL the same mistakes I did...."  For ten years, Luann also wrote a column ("Craft Matters") for The Crafts Report magazine (a monthly business resource for the crafts professional) where she explored the funnier side of her life in craft. She's a double-juried member of the prestigious League of New Hampshire Craftsmen (fiber & art jewelry). Her work has appeared in books, magazines and newspapers across the country and she is a published writer.


Don’t bury your lead. Keep it up front, in its most powerful position.


I love helping people write artist statements. Especially if I’ve had an opportunity to actually sit and talk with the artist. Especially if I’ve had an opportunity to pound them over the head with this one simple question:

Why should I care about your art?

I try to tread carefully. I know how deeply artists care about their work, and what they want to say about it.

OTOH, if I have to read one more artist statement about line, color, texture, about boundaries and schisms, about anything that could have come from an Artsy Bollocks, I swear I will do damage to someone.

If I have a chance to meet with someone, or at least talk with them, my job gets easier. Because everyone has a story, a reason, a turning point in their history, that’s the deeper “why” about what they do.

And coincidentally, usually this powerful reason, if they include it at all, is at the very end of their statement.

It’s called burying your lead.

This writing structure is the bane of journalism and professional writing. We run on about our background, our training, our credentials, our methods, our materials, our media, etc. etc. And there, at the very end, is the deeper reason for it all.

It’s natural. Many of us were not raised to share our deepest, richest thoughts and history. We worry we’ll embarrass ourselves, admitting to pain, or loss, or even joy. No, we must be professional. Which means not a single sentimental, fluffy, unmanly thought will pass our lips. Er…pencil.

Here’s why it’s time to change that:

I know people who have known each other a very long time. They’re all artists themselves. They’ve also spent years—decades!—actually working in art galleries.

Over the years, there’s been a marked change in the world of art marketing. “It used to be,” said one, “Artists created work for the market. They figured out what was selling, and they worked accordingly, finding their niche in that market.”

“And now it’s flipped! The trend is to make the work that is unique to you—and find your market for it!”

That’s why the old artist statement style of the past is no longer working. 

People want to know who you are. 
People want to know why you make the work you do.

A few artists are sticking their toes into the new water. It’s very hard. It goes against everything they’ve seen to date.

But what we gain when we open our hearts, and stop hiding behind our work, is huge.  It’s powerful.

This doesn’t mean your new statement has to read like a letter to Dear Abby. No need to hang all our dirty laundry in public.

But you need to understand….

Everyone has lost someone.**
Everyone wants to be loved, and respected, for who they are. 
Everyone is longing for something.
Everyone needs to be protected from something.
Everyone has obstacles to overcome.
Everyone has a dream in their heart.

Because we are all human. 

Our individual stories are as unique as we are. And yet we are all connected by common themes, similar fears, shared needs, and dreams.

It is also right on trend to be vulnerable. It’s now perfectly acceptable to wear your heart on your sleeve.  It’s been my own mantra for years. And now we have company!

Because other people want what you have—a vision, a talent, a gift, a story—for themselves.

And when you share what you’ve lost, what you’ve gained, what you’ve found, what you’ve learned, what you’ve overcome, you are actually setting an example for them.

You’re showing them it can be done. You’re showing them how to do it.

That is the power of our true narrative. It helps us connect the work of our hand, the work of our hearts, to the hearts of others. Your story can inspire. It can heal. It can encourage.

So go out on a limb today.

Get out your artist statement. Cross out every reference to education, technique, medium, credentials. 

You can only reference one or two of these, if you can share why you chose this medium, this technique. (And no, “Because I just love color” is not enough.)  For example, one reason I chose polymer clay to make my artifacts is, no animals are harmed in the making. (E.g., I don’t want to use real bone or ivory.)

"There's a really good reason why I use polymer clay to make my artifacts."

Look for your power sentence. The one that, if you were speaking aloud, would make you stand up straighter, would make your voice more sure.

Put it right up front where it belongs. Take that buried lead—and lead with it!

Build that bridge, from your work, to your audience. 

If you build it, they will come.***


*"Bury the lead" made me think of dead bodies, which made me think of the movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail, with its infamous plague scene and the memorable quote, “Bring out yer dead!!”

**I also got to quote Guardians of the Galaxy!!

***And Field of Dreams!!!!  Triple play!



FASO: The Leading Provider of Professional Artist Websites.
FineArtViews: Straight talk about art marketing, inspiration - daily to your inbox.

InformedCollector: Free daily briefs about today's finest artists in your inbox.

BoldBrush Contest: Monthly Online Painting Contest with over $25,000 in awards. 

Daily Art Show: Daily Show of Art that reaches thousands of potential collectors.


Related Posts:

Add The “Why” To The “How” To Make “WOW!”

Learning to Fly Part 3: What Rudyard Kipling Said

Learning to Fly Part 4: Trust Your Instruments

Learning To Fly Part 2: Who Is Your Co-Pilot?

Reasons Why You Don't Want To Live Forever

Learning to Fly Part 5: The Dolphin in the Pool

LEARNING TO FLY Part 1: The Checklist

Topics: artist resume advice | artist statement | FineArtViews | inspiration | Instruction | Luann Udell 

What Would You Like to Do Next?
Post your comment Join Email List Follow via RSS Share Share


Loading comments...

Karen Burnette Garner
Luann, this article is full of incredibly useful, insightful information. I AM one of those artists who found a market and went after it. I've done it for MANY years, and been pretty successful. I think that I will continue to be successful at it. That being said, I am about to embark on the new way of doing things...I have ideas that are outside and beyond what I am doing now with the galleries I have. I'm excited to explore those new works and see where they take me! HOWEVER, I don't intend to abandon those clients/collectors who love my lowcountry work and embrace it. My galleries will always have a need for what I have done, and I'll tweak it and enjoy exploring it further. I just don't want to be a one-trick pony (read that as encaustic abstracts I am dying to try!).

You have filled this article with lots of thoughts -- will be digesting this news for a while, and appreciate your willingness to distill and share your knowledge.

Luann Udell
Karen, it sounds like you resonated with 'what the market was', and that's perfectly okay. As long as it makes your heart sing, your work will have authenticity and integrity.

Those comments I made are for the people who believe they HAVE TO create work they don't really connect to, in order to sell their work. It's killing them softly to continue.

I'm advocating for artist statements that connect with our inside story, in order find an audience for our unique work.

Thank you for this article. The why of things always resides in the heart. The other is to satisfy the "ego" of the market or other insecurities. Thank you for putting it out there in such a grounded way.

Karen Burnette Garner
Thanks, Luann. You are so right...doing what you think you HAVE to do, instead of following your inner truth is slow torture. Many good points.

Luann Udell
Pat, you just said in a few dozen words what I tried to say in a thousand! YES!!! You got it!

Luann Udell
Andrea, you are sweet! I like you right back!

Luann Udell
Karen, you got it!

Lisa Manners

I love your polymer animals. And your remarks on artist statements are spot on. I really care about both nature and art, and hopefully someday I'll feel like I've made a contribution.

John P. Weiss
Luann- Great post, thank you. And Pat's comment "The why of things always resides in the heart" pretty much encapsulates the message for me. Our own authenticity is usually far more interesting than trying to be something we're not.

Christopher Newell
Thank you for ringing my bell. I am remiss in that function. I always took great satisfaction in what my Mother told her friends...."Yes, Chris was raised by Wolves; he just sleeps here." Thank you Luann for reaffirming, what I feel, is most important in the arts....The personal invitation to Hug the Emoter. Once upon a lifeline ago I hung tightly to the adage..."Paint what they want and you will be successful...I did and I was. Then along came people like you, John and Jack White and the light FINALLY began to glow. I now paint what I love...and it's all your fault. (I love Monty Python)

Deborah Angilletta
Perfect message about being true to yourself and sharing that truth with others. I had to immediately check out your artist statement after reading this post and it is truly wonderful. Now I am inspired to bring more personal meaning into my artist statement as well as my paintings. Thank you.

Luann Udell
WOW, Christopher, you put me in the same category as John and Jack??!! Woot!! Thank you!!!

I will happily take the blame for helping you transition to your authentic self.

There is NOTHING WRONG with making money from our art. It's simply an exchange--our time and emotional energy in exchange for someone else's time and emotional energy.

The sad part is when we are duped into thinking it's all about the money. And as Caroline has pointed out, sometimes we are truly being duped, with a story that is not true.

We are here to share our OWN powerful, personal story. I rejoice if MY journey there has inspired yours. Thank you for letting me know!

Luann Udell
Deborah, ditto what I just said.

Sometimes I worry that my statement isn't explicit enough. But then I realize it's the perfect example of something that is honest, yet poetic. Not showing all the dirty laundry, but engaging.

The mark of its success is that people go back and LOOK AT MY ART more closely.

And the icing on the cake is when they finally give me permission to tell me story, in person, in a way that relates to what caught their attention, their heart.

It's my truth. It feels right. And it works.


FASO Resources and Articles

Art Scammers and Art Scam Searchable Database


FineArtViews, FineArtStudioOnline, FASO, BrushBuzz, InformedCollector, BoldBrush
are Trademarks of BoldBrush Technology, LLC Licensed to BoldBrush, Inc. 

Canvoo is a registered trademark of BoldBrush Technology, LLC Licensed to BoldBrush, Inc

Copyright - BoldBrush Technology, LLC  - All Rights Reserved