This article is by Keith Bond, Regular contributing writer for FineArtViews. You should submit an article and share your views as a guest author by clicking here.
Recently, Hugh Macleod
posted a cartoon that reads: “Business is socializing with purpose”
(I stole the last 3 words for the title of this article). The artwork depicts a target with one word per ring moving inward toward the center. The word “purpose” is in the bull’s eye. View the cartoon here
In his commentary about the cartoon, Hugh summarizes a thesis by Mark Earls.
| “…Mark's thesis is, simply, 1. That people are social animals, 2. That businesses are social groups, not machines, 3. That what holds these social groups (businesses) together is a collective sense of "purpose", 3. A business without a strong "Purpose-Idea" is at a considerable disadvantage.”
Let’s apply this to your art.
Primary and Secondary Purposes
First you must know what success means to you. No one else can determine that. Only you. Have you identified the one BIG purpose or idea for your art? All of your efforts should support this big idea. You must also have secondary purposes to help you fulfill the bigger purpose. Some are goals and tasks. But there are also social events which require specific purposes which are secondary to your overall objective.
An example of a secondary purpose: you invite a client to brunch for the purpose of asking them to host a home show for you. The home show is not the major purpose of your art. But the home show supports your BIG purpose of being an artist.
You are human. Thus you are a social animal, according to Mark. Some of you may be more social while others are more animal. :) For some, social settings are difficult. For others, they come easily. I do much better in small groups than in a large group. But I am working on it and getting better.
Let’s look some business opportunities requiring you to socialize. You may have an open studio event, lunch with a client or gallery owner, gallery openings, juried or invitational shows, craft fairs, gala receptions, and the list goes on and on.
Do You Socialize or Hide?
While at these events, do you socialize? Or do you avoid socializing by hanging out by the hors d’oeuvres or drinks? While at your booth, do you sit and read? If you are working on your art, do you ignore visitors or do you acknowledge them? Do you greet them? At receptions, do you hang out with other artists? Or do you mingle with the collectors? There is nothing wrong with visiting with other artists. That is important. But don’t neglect the collectors by using your artist friends as another way to hide. Or do you avoid attending these events all together? It is critical to attend and socialize with collectors and others who can help you achieve your purpose.
Do You Socialize with Purpose?
Do you have purpose when you socialize? What is that purpose? Have you ever thought about that? Do you steer the conversation to attain that purpose? Do you market yourself or your art or both?
Social Media with Purpose
What about virtual socializing? How do you use social media? Do you drive visitors to your website with all your social media activities? Do you have a clear “message” or “idea” in your artwork? Is it evident on your website?
There has been a lot of discussion over the past couple years about using conversations to market yourself and your work. Share your art (and yourself) with others through conversation. This is socializing.