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Don't Be a Jerk

by Keith Bond on 7/5/2010 2:03:32 PM

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.

Isn't it interesting that we like the art of people we like better than the art of people we dislike? Whether or not it is fair or just, it is a reality.

Just the other day, I was talking to a gallery owner who related a story to me. He had recently attended a very prestigious national exhibit. Every one of the artists are nationally recognized and command very hefty prices for their work. My gallery owner friend began talking with a certain well-known artist. After about 2 minutes, it was quite evident that the artist was arrogant and in my friend's words, "a jerk". This artist even talked badly about other artists in the show.

This artist's work no longer appealed to my gallery owner friend. In fact, as he looked at it that evening, he disliked it quite a lot. 

On the other hand, he mentioned another artist who was quiet and reserved, but very gracious and humble about her work. During that evening, my friend grew to really admire her work. He liked her and, in turn, liked her art.

I have thought a lot about what he told me. There is a lot of truth to that. I am not discussing whether it is right or wrong to be judgmental. It is irrelevant what we should do. But the truth is, many people don't act how they should, but rather follow this natural reaction. If we like the person, we like their art much more than if we dislike the person.

I thought back to my own experiences. I have met literally hundreds of artists over the years. Some have become great friends. Most merely acquaintances. But there are those one or two here and there that were...well no sense being gracious here...jerks. I hate to admit it, but it is true. I would hope that I was above that, but the truth is that I don't really like the work of those who came across to me as very arrogant or rude or "a jerk". Some of their work I used to like before meeting them. In some cases, I even still recognize their talent. But I don't like it.

I associate my experience of meeting them with the artwork

On the other hand, those whom I liked; those who were gracious, sincere, polite, etc.; those artists' work I like more now than before I met them. I root for them. I hope they succeed.

That is the lesson to be learned here. People will meld the experience of meeting you with your artwork. The more they like you as a person, the more they will like your work. 

So, how do you come across when you meet collectors? Are you cordial? Are you gracious? Are you polite? Are you sincere or fake? Remember, false humility is just as unappealing as arrogance. Do you speak badly of other artists' work? Etc., etc., etc.

Whether right or wrong, whether we should judge or not, it is true: if collectors like you, they will more likely like your work.

Think about it for a minute - put yourself in the collectors' shoes. You meet two artists with comparable skill and talent. The subject matter appeals to you in both cases. You meet both artists. One is a jerk. You like the other artist. Which artwork would you buy?

What are your experiences? Am I off base? Am I too judgmental? Or is there truth in this? Share your thoughts. Even if you disagree with me, I'll still like you - unless you are a jerk about it. :)

Best wishes,

Keith Bond

PS I suppose some people are attracted to and like arrogant people. Does that say something about them?

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Related Posts:

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Topics: art marketing | sell art 

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Marian Fortunati
Really interesting to think about, and I'm sure, totally right on target. Our feelings about people usually color everything about them.
It also goes right along with what has been previously blogged about in Clint's columns... being able to talk about your work in a way that helps the viewer understand your excitement and joy in its creation.
I imagine we all try not to be jerks... Actually most of the artists I have met and / or painted with have been nice people... not full of themselves and willing to generously share their enthusiasm for painting.
The difficult part for me is to try to be a bit less shy and better able to allow myself and my art to be more "transparent" and hopefully to shine!

Karen Winters
At an outdoor art show within the last year, one of other sellers was an artist who bellowed loudly for all to hear "I will not be undersold - all paintings must go" - like a sideshow barker or one of those discounter mattress commercials on TV. The artist might have attracted buyers but the effect on fellow artists was somewhat different. In short, the person behaved like a jerk. Who knows how many other kinds of bridges were burned that day in the pursuit of a quick, cheap sale?

Robert Redus
Hi Keith,

Your thoughts are very accurate, often there seems to be some need for artists to have a level of arrogance and pretension, and this is often true with collectors alike. Common courtesy regardless of the field one pursues should be an integral aspect of the business/relationship building. I have often seen "Successful" artists, be it in music, film, visual art or literature, that have acquired what I call an "Arrival" mentality. This Arrival mentality is the self-sanctioned ability to produce their craft with considerable less finish yet with high expectations, because they have arrived and because who they are dictates everything else about them.
Greatly enjoy your news letter....Thank you

Robert Redus

Charlotte Herczfeld
Keith, this is really interesting. And, it is real. The 'jerk-ness', or arrogance, is often there in the actual artwork. It is bold, catching, fascinating, but at the same time a bit... well, there is an uneasy feeling, nothing really obvious, but somehow the artwork provokes, without me knowing why. In once case, I observed the artist, and it took about 30 seconds to get the thought "jerk" bouncing about in my head. That's why there was something in the work, which otherwise was quite brilliant. This person behaved really bad towards other artists present.

The point being, we put our personalities into our work, it will be visible there. Subtly, elusively.

People will associate their experience with us to our artwork, just as you say. All we are is put into our art. Many artists of old knew this, and recommended that artists work on their own character, but also take part of all the best art and science. Maybe we could say, in modern terms, that great input renders great output.

Who we are matters.

Judy Crowe
Hi Keith, This is so true. May I add one more thing? Probably it goes without saying that the artist that is humble and is a truly caring person will also possess integrity but I think it's such an important component in this business. Honesty and integrity in all our dealings are so important to the moment and the rest of our career. Thank you for writing about this. I took a workshop years ago with Dan Gerhartz and he made the statement he always wanted to paint honestly. I didn't really understand what that meant but now I do. I not only want my work to come across as honest but also I want to always treat others in the art world or otherwise in the same way. I think Charlotte's right too, one way or another, it will come across in our work.

Ilene Rubin
Very interesting observations and true, too. I think it interesting when artists claim in their bios or cv's that their art is an extension of who they are and how they interpret the world. Perhaps that is so true that, when they show themselves to be that 'jerk', that too is reflected in their art; it shows, it's evident, even in how I observe other people relating to those individuals.

That being said, life is too short to put time or energy into mean people. It's just a more pleasant experience to deal with, well, pleasant people instead of the jerky people. So when I see them, I shrug and keep walking whenever possible.

A very wise person said to our class one day, place humble pie on the canvas first. It goes down easier."

Ilene Rubin

Sharon Weaver
I have had so many varied experiences with artists that I have taken a larger view and tried to understand that artists are human. They have good days and bad days, so I try not to take things I hear too seriously. I know I have not always been at my best during a show and someone may have thought I was a "jerk." Sorry about that and I hope to do better the next time we meet. Being an artists often means being in the public domain which carries with it the responsibility of putting your best face out there. If only I could always be at our best.

Sharon Weaver
The last sentence should read
If only I could always be at my best.

Debra LePage
This is very well said. Thank you.

Helen Horn Musser
Keith, This is very interesting and I'm wondering if you have run into a "Jerk" lately. Our judgements are always with us and sometimes are unfair but, they do, as others have said, color our thoughts and probably our art. The Basics Series are meant to be helpful but, to some may appear very judgmental. You probably have never seen my Basics Series so you wouldn't know what I am speaking about. This series was a driving source for my work for quite some time. Shall we all be more forgiving with out thoughts?

Ilene Rubin
The way I look at is that when I see someone not being kind or at their best, I say to myself, I'm sure they're a lovely person, just not right now or not to me right now.

It helps to re-humanize them in my mind, and helps me look at their art a little more objectively. That also helps me maintain my own dignityh and respect for others in the presence of negativity.

On the other hand the people who are negative know it and it must be ok with them or they would change.

The trick is, not to wish them failure in light of their character flaws, right? So now we know why there are some artists whose art we reject, and we can observe objectively and then decide if it's still valid.


Helen Horn Musser
sorry, meant for our thoughts.

Cheryl Keefer
Who could argue with this advice? It is common sense. Amazingly, there are adults who still do not realize that being genuine and thoughtful will get one further in life in general, not to mention enable one to sell more paintings!

We sometimes get too caught up in our own egos to see beyond the end of our brushes. The Golden Rule truly is GOLD for a reason. Thank you Keith, for reminding us to "remember our manners."

Judy Mudd
How true, Keith. How you feel about a person influences how you feel about their work, product, etc. I loved someone's work and then became disappointed after meeting the artist. It has made their work less attractive to me. A good lesson for all of us!

Nancy Cupp
I agree with Keith. We can't help being "human". We truly are influenced by the way others treat us. NO matter how much I liked an artist's work, if I met them and found them to be rude to me, I would only be reminded of their treatment of me, when ever I saw their art. I worked in nursing homes and was warned that sometimes a resident might hate my guts, because I reminded them of someone from the past. If they heard a certain piece of music, it might trigger a memory from their past, either good or bad and influence their behavior on how they acted for that day. Objects can trigger memories of how they felt at that time, reminding them of something pleasant or bad. If we associate a good experience with a person's art, we will want to buy it. I wouldn't want to follow and support an artist that personally treated me badly. I would want to support an artist that I truly respected and liked. It is our human nature. It may not be divine nature, but, it is human to think that way. So with that in mind, I know I need to treat others with respect and kindness. I'm still working on it.


Nancy Cupp
I'm just curious. How come some people have there photo or art image when they make a comment, and others don't? How does that work?

Donna Robillard
I agree with one of the responders who wrote that the artist may have been having a bad day; but when we see that artist only once, it definitely has an impact on us and how we may view the artist's work. We do have to be careful that we put our best foot forward at all times, also, or we will be thought of as a jerk.

Phyllis OShields Fine Art
You are right on with this article Keith.
A really important lesson for artists to take to heart. Often artists seem to forget we are in a business and need to hold all standards as the same. It is unbelievable at art shows and open gallery showings how many artists begin going into long detailed explanations of personal information that has no place being shared. Common business sense just goes right out the window. Potential art patrons really don't want to hear about an artists personal challenges in order to create the art. Thus I think we are referring to two things, 1- being a jerk and 2- being just plain unprofessional in sharing personal details.

Angela Treat Lyon
This same thing happened to me years ago when I visited an opening of a guy whose work I loved. He, too, turned out to be a jerk - arrogant, me-me-me-aren't I great, treating his wife atrosciouly by ordering her to do stuff and yelling at her when she short, I never bought another thing from him, and stopped telling others about him or his gallery.

I asked myself if it was the work or him, and it was absolutely him, because his work really was stunningly beautiful. But knowing I was supporting him in his jerkness undermined the pleasure I got out of seeing the work.

I admit to feeling a bit smug a few years later when someone else started using a similar style and essentially booted him out of the market - and this guy was (is) authentic, kind, gracious and just a lovely guy. Interesting.

aloha -
Angela Treat Lyon

Esther J. Williams
Keith, although I have met these types of artists all my life, I had a very recent incident. I think Picasso was a jerk, but a genius and I like his work. Only he is dead and can not stand up for himself. But for living artists, last week during an outdoor art show, several artists gave me unsolicited advice on a painting. I did not ask for their advice and was unnerved by the incident for a short time. I try to be forgiving of people when they act this way the first time. But this was the second time one of these artists acted lofty and superior. Now when I see that person's art I feel completely repelled by it. It has this artist`s personality written into the work. I muttered jerk under my breath and dismissed him from my circle of friends for sure.
I think these types of people are actually insecure and try to camouflage it in public by being overpowering. We surely can see through it, it is too bad they can`t. There is so much art out there, it certainly is not going to please everyone. But there are artists who think their art is the best in the world and even if it isn`t, they are going to tell the world it is.
I have to watch my own words when talking about a disinterest in another artist. I have learned it is better to keep it to myself, things can get around and come back at you. Sometimes I have spoken badly about someone`s art to one person and I did not feel right about it later. It's hard not to speak when someone says, what do you think about so and so`s art? I get this question lots of times in one of the galleries I am in. I want to be honest and not insult, but I am sure I have been critical many times out of honesty. I learned to compliment something first about it, then make my suggestions. Or just shrug and say, it`s okay and smile. That`s what my grandmother taught me to do. I have to mind my P`s and Q`s from now on. Read Gloria Vanderbilt`s book on manners to brush up on being polite, that will help on how to act in artist social gatherings. Maybe someone should write a leaflet on this problem and pass them out freely at galleries and art shows because it can get ugly out there.
I just keep on painting, learning and try not to ruffle any feathers in the coop anymore.

Kathy Chin
Disliking jerks seems to be universal, however I'm trying to rise above it and like a piece of art even if the person is a knothead. But as much as we all try to live by the "Golden Rule," it doesn't always work...I know we can all be real "pieces of work" at times.
Dealing with a jerk can be another matter, and even though I might like his or her work, the attitude can make a difference between a sale and a "nice but no thanks!"

Nancy Cupp
Thank you Carrie,for letting me know about gravitar. I joined. Now I'll see if it worked.


Nancy Cupp
Hmmm, the gravitar avatar did not work. I thought it was supposed to be automatic.

Hmmm. As an artist, I may not react the way non-artists react-? A nice person who does, well, less than impressive work is not going to get me to like their work any better, even though I might enjoy talking to them. An jerk who does fantastic work may not get me to buy their work if their jerky, but I will still have to admit their work is great. So, being a jerk if you're good may cost you, but being nice isn't going to really help if the work isn't up to snuff. But that's just me, and others may well have a different reaction.

Sue Martin
If I were a gallery owner, the "jerk factor" would definitely make a difference. After all, I'd be dealing with this person on a regular basis if I carried the jerk's work. Generally speaking, as an artist and collector, I might buy a painting from the jerk knowing that I'd probably never see him again. But it would depend on the interaction and how much I was bothered by him (or her...women can be jerks, too).

It did occur to me that a distinction should be made between an artist having a strongly held, well developed opinion about some art or business issue and expressing that even if it may go against the popular current on the one hand, and being jerky about things for no good reason on the other. I know I have some art views that I feel strongly about, and I think people should be free to express their opinions without fear, and discussion shouldn't be suppressed, even if it sometimes results in moments of discomfort. But that doesn't mean one should get nasty.

Stede Barber
I've found that art can come from so many places inside of people...from their hearts, their loving, their minds, their politics, their emotions, and a blend of any of the above...The level of skill is one can be awesome regardless of the subject matter, but if I don't also love the image being offered, it doesn't ring for me as a truly beautiful piece. When I do meet an artist who's work I admire, and they make a strong positive impression...the beauty of their work is anchored all the more solidly and permanently in my awareness. Who's art would I most love to live with? Does an artist's personality radiate from their work, or regardless of the personality, does something greater and more universal permeate our work when we create? Big questions. Thank you all for thoughgtful responses.

Michael Cardosa

A very interesting and I believe spot on observance of how sales usually works.

I haven't had time to read all the prior comments here today but I've been in high end sales for over 30 years. There is a truism in sales that someone else might have spoken of before that says, "people buy from people". If someone likes you, they are much more inclined to work with you to give you the sale if there is an equally competent or qualified competitor. I would see the same in how a collector looks at an artist. One, everyone wants to be appreciated so I would think someone with the means to collect would rather do so from someone the like rather than a "jerk". Why feed the ego of someone you dislike? If both works are appealing to the collector I would be shocked if the sale went any other way. I know how I would react if given the choice.


Max Hulse
Keith Your articles seem to elicit much emotion and opinions (seems to be a lot of
feedback which is good). I was in sales management a good part of my professional life and I have made this statement to sales people numerous times (perhaps hundreds). People buy from you because they like you and believe what you say.
Max Hulse

Carol McIntyre
What you wrote makes all kinds of sense to me.

A question: Do all jerks actually know that they are being a jerk? I wonder sometimes if they are given feedback on how their behavior impacts people. Has anyone done that? If so, what was the reaction from the 'jerk?'

Max Hulse
This is in response to Esther Williams post.
In reading your comments I was reminded of
a couple of incidents where artists commented
to someone who had made some remark that did not
suit the artist:
"Well, if you knew anything about art you would
recognize this is good!"

How is that for public relations?
Max Hulse

Sue Martin
Carol, many times "jerk" behavior is driven by insecurity. Giving the jerk feedback (unless you know him/her very well) would probably make matters worse (i.e., defensive, jerkier behavior). Feeding the jerk's ego, on the other hand, might turn him/her into a nice human, at least for a moment.

Marilyn Gilis
It takes all types of people in all walks of walks of life to make up a group. I might not buy art from a jerk no matter how beautiful but at least people know where they stand with that person. That makes them easier to deal with than sly backstabbers.

Esther J. Williams
Max, that is funny, thanks for the sling shot, back at ya reply.

Carol Schmauder
I agree with many statements made here however, Sue, I think it is definitely true that "jerk behavior is driven by insecurity".

It took me a while to recall it because I really haven't known too many jerky artists, but I have one especially irksome personal story. Through a mutual acquaintance I was contacted by a woman who was scheduled to have an exhibit of her work in a very nice public exhibition space in an old, restored theater because she didn't have enough work to fill more than half the space. I didn't know her, but we had a meeting at my home where we talked about showing together in the space, seemed to hit it off, and I agreed to show with her. Everything seemed fine, the work was hung, and then I opened the regional newspaper to find a front page article that interviewed her about the show...with no mention that it involved anyone BUT her! I was LIVID!!!! I felt that was a real violation of the spirit of a 2 person show, something I would not have done without her, not to mention pretty ballsy since my participation saved her from having to cancel the show because she couldn't fill the space properly by herself! I complained to the newspaper, and they grudgingly agreed to a follow up interview with me, but by then I was really very down on the whole thing. Was this person a jerk? Was I overly sensitive? I can't help evaluating the situation in terms of would I have done it that way, and concluding definitely not. It was bad form.

Sue Martin
Kim, I'd say she falls into the "jerk" category...definitely bad form!

Thanks, Sue--even after all these years (almost 20) it still makes me angry. I never saw or heard from her again (no great loss), and I don't know if she even knew what a jerk she'd been, she was that narcissistic. I'm around a lot of artists where I live now, and most if not all of them seem to be a very supportive group of people.

Karen Winters
I don't know if this applies to your circumstance, but we have some regional newspapers here who will not do a story on someone if they live out of their designated service area (even if it's the adjacent town.) Maybe that's what happened in this case - the newspaper might not have included you if you lived in a different town, so it may have not been her fault. Then again, maybe she was just grabbing the spotlight in which case it was really bad form.
However if the newspaper had a choice between an article on her vs. no article at all, maybe it brought in some gallery-visitors that wouldn't have attended otherwise, and thus wouldn't have seen your work.

Cynthia Wenslow
So true, Keith. I have a couple people in my life who can somehow compartmentalize how someone behaves and their talent or skills. I just can't. I've met many people whose work I admired... until I had to deal with them in person!

Life is way too short to spend it with obnoxious people when there are so many great folks out there.

Michael Cardosa

That artist was a Jerk!


Sue Martin
As one who has dealt with newspapers my whole career I can think of all kinds of excuses for the "jerk" in Kim's case. You just can't control whom the reporter does or does not call. However, the proper thing for Kim's fellow artist to do would be to, first, give the reporter Kim's contact information; and, second, let Kim know the reporter had called her so that Kim could follow up if she wished.

Carol Schmauder
Kim: I feel that person was a jerk. I feel that she could have mentioned your name at the least, even if the newspaper didn't feature people from out of town.

Ilene Rubin
The unjerky thing to do would have been for the artist who gave the interview to have called and invited you to the interview since it's a 2 person show. If you could not attend, he/she should have said to the interviewer so it got into the papers that it was a two artist show and mentioned your name and said your art is worth a visit to the exhibition. Then he/she should have offered your contact information so the writer could follow up. In the shoes of the interviewee, that's what I would have done. Given you the chance to participate. Shared success is such a rush.

Monte Wilson
Spot on Keith!

I have benefited at a recent art festival in just such a case. A client entered my booth and we engaged in a conversation about a particular piece he was attracted to. We spoke about what he liked about the work, what he saw in it, what first drew his attention etc... Then on he went. He returned a couple hours later and again we talked...but this time more about what he liked (hiking, fishing, church picnics etc) many of the same things I enjoy. As he left this time, he said: "it's between your piece and another artists." He showed up again several hours later, went directly to the painting and said: "I'll take this." Curiosity got the best of me and I asked how he came to his decision. He said simply "I like your work and I like you." I have no idea what or how the other artist acted. For me, interaction at festivals is easy...I truly enjoy hearing peoples stories and experiences.

He has since become a subscriber to my newsletter and has purchased two more paintings

Michael Cardosa
Hey Monte,

Good for you! Glad it worked out in your favor!


Karen, we both lived within the area of coverage for the paper. Here's the thing: the reporter who did the interview told me he was a personal friend of the artist, they were friends in high school! I knew right there that it was a biased situation. He was actually kind of defensive when I spoke to him about the issue. I persevered, explaining that it was a 2 person show, and that it was deceptive to write about it as if it was a 1 person show--particularly since the majority of the work on the walls was mine!

Keith Bond
Thanks everyone for adding to the conversation.

Many good points were brought up.

It is true that we should give people the benefit of the doubt - maybe they were having a bad day. But sometimes it is evident that it is a personality thing.

Also, there is a difference between having confidence in one's work and being arrogant. The confident artist doesn't feel a need to belittle the other artists, but the arrogant one does.

One last thought. Of all the artists (and people in general) that I have met, the vast majority are friendly and pleasant. Most people are good.

tom weinkle
My experience in selling art is that being nice and respectful of others is part of cultivating friends and collectors.

Friends and collectors want to know about what and why one paints....and being “a jerk” would only keep them away.

I know that while I may respect the talent and skill of an artist who behaves porrly, I avoid spending time with those types. I would think most others do the same.

Karen Winters

You're right, it sounds fishy all the way around. Jerky artist, lazy and/or unethical reporter, collusion on both their parts,it's hard to unravel.

I was a broadcast journalist in the 80s ... this kind of ethical breach really ticks me off.

Sue Martin
Kim, good for you for calling the reporter on his lack of journalistic standards!

Thanks, Karen and Sue. If there's anything useful to take away from it, it's that publicity is a part of the exhibition process, and thus we should remember to come to some clear terms about publicity when we are planning on exhibiting with other artists so there are fewer misunderstandings and surprises.

Karen Winters
Sometimes in this era of slower sales, publicity is the primary benefit that comes out of doing a show. So to have that taken away from an artist is especially egregious.

Scott Taylor
You are quite correct Keith. The first rule in selling anything is to remember that people buy from people they like. And especially with fine art. I never had much respect for arrogant, snobby artists. No one is so talented that they should treat their fellow artists and other humans as being less than they are.

Filomena Booth
Great article and comments! Being nice is always the best way to go. Jerky, arrogant artists are a turn-off and surely drive away potential buyers. Perhaps too much adulation has gone to their heads.

While this may all be true (or not) I simply must say, everyone has a bad day, but that doesn't necessarily tranform into His/her painting from another day, we should all try to forgive and forget, even in the face of art.

Helen Horn Musser
I agree with you Barb, forgiving and forgetting can be nurturing for ourselves and our art will follow. Very much to be said for this point of view.

Sandy Askey-Adams
Wow, I almost missed this terrific article/post. It is a wonderful reminder of how we should be.
"Treat others as you would want to be treated" is a great quote. One that never goes out of style.
This is almost a psychological therapy session reading all the replies. So many wonderful thoughts expressed about "Being a jerk...or not". I have so enjoyed reading every one of the replies!!!
Coming across as a "jerk" is something I worry about doing all the time at the
many outdoor art shows that I do. Afraid I will forget to mind my manners in the face of bad weather or bad sales...simply because my feet hurt or I am having a bad hair day. LOL
I do agree that everyone can have a bad day also, especially when the weather is going against us at the outdoor art shows.
We try very hard to smile and accept all that comes our way so we do not give a bad appearance or the wrong impression. Truly, I would be so mortified if someone thought I was a terrible jerk. I have a fear of being disliked anyway.

At the shows, we KNOW that we are to greet all people entering our booths politely with ever most consideration and kindness with a smile, and also with tolerance of perhaps their unknowingly dumb questions or comments.
Believe me, At times the public can act like jerks too at some of these art shows.
BUT, I love meeting all the many different people because MOST are interesting and caring other than those very few who can be jerks.
I know also that if I act like a jerk, I may have just lost a sale, plus that person tells another person and another not to visit my display because of the JERK artist!!! What does that say about my work?! Not good.

All that being said, and at the sake of you all thinking that I am talking about another artist, I am risking telling this story because I learned a quick lesson from him....... I once admired an artists work many years ago when I was so young. I was thrilled to be able to finally meet him. Well, when I met him, of course I complimented him on his work. He turned out to be a real arrogant jerk speaking down to me and telling me how great he was. I was so disappointed that I am sure he must have seen the tears swell up in my eyes. He obviously did not need any kind of a compliment from me, a lowly artist who was less than him. At least he let that be known. I do remember having a different opinion about his work after that. It was still great work, but something about it and him bothered me ever since then. I often wonder what he is doing today and how he speaks to others.

Another the shows, according to the marketing strategies we are told to talk about our work and tell about what we are doing, any awards, write-ups, etc..etc.. etc... It is a hard balancing act to say good things about your work and yourself without sounding like a jerk.

Thanks again for such an excellent article and all the input from everyone. It is so interesting and helpful.


Sandy Askey-Adams
O.K.....I now must come across as a REAL JERK because of my comment being posted HOW MANY TIMES????!!!!
Please forgive me, it is not my fault. There was a sentence that came up telling me to try again. SO I tried to post it again. Then it again said try again. So I tired again.
Well I should have given up earlier than what I had..because now there are too many comments from me posted and I do apologize.
I do not know how to delete them!!!
I will jsut sign this....

Looking like A jerk.

Charlotte Herczfeld
Oh, Sandy, the very gracious you don't look like a jerk at all, it looks like a computer somewhere got hickups!

There are vast differences between *being* a jerk (really bad), *behaving* like one when exhausted hot and hungry (not ideal, but human), and simple mistakes, be they verbal, physical, or virtual (out of our control, definitely so when they have happened).

I think we'll all be in the green if we are normally polite, and have a warm smile.

tom weinkle
geez Sandy...I was getting my lantern fired up, tar heated, feathers ready, and discontent masses grouped...and now I find out it's a false alarm.


Sandy Askey-Adams
Thank you so much Charlotte. :)

You have helped me feel better.
Since all those posts showed up, I have been feeling pretty bad trying to figure out how I could go back and delete them all.

Your comment reminded me of some important facts. That we may not be the jerk we think we are at times due to other circumstances.

You are wise and kind Charlotte.

Sandy Askey-Adams
LOL Tom.....

Such wonderful, sweet and "Funny" friends I have.


Ilene Rubin
Sandy, you're so cute, we couldn't possibly think you a jerk. The climate here is as friendly as anyone can hope for so no worries on someone calling you out on a few little computer error messages.

Personally I believe your message needed to be reitterated anyway even if it was accidental; it was insightful enough to be a mantra of which I am currently trying to talk myself into based on a recent incident.

Want some irony? This exact situation happened to me last Thursday. An artist I admired for a long time. I had legitamate reason to contact her and at first she seemed pleasant enough and then wham! She slammed me with the 'I've been in business for 30 years, you don't know anything, there's such a glut of people taking up the space of the 'real' artists and if you think you'll be successful without a huge outlay of money and national advertising you're wrong, etc etc.

I was so wounded! Is there no room for anyone other than those already established? She didn't even bother to see who I am or what I am or what I do, it simply didn't matter. All that mattered was that there was a fresh face in the arena.

I had gone to her website many - so many- times in the past 6 or 7 years to see her paintings and how she handles skies and how she makes trees look 3 dimensional. It still just stings and I find that I cannot even think of her as a virtual mentor anymore, or think of her art as being anything to me because the cost of her art was her empathy, politeness, civility and compassion.

I know I'll feel differently about that in a month or a year because she is still talented but wow, after what I'd said up at the beginning of this thread, I now know that when it happens personally, it sure does feel a whole lot worse.


Debra LePage
Years ago, when I was working as a nurse, there was a concern that nurses "eat their young"- in other words, setting young nurse grads up to fail, not teaching what they know, sharing, etc, apparently threatened by the new blood.
Seems the same case when it comes to arrogant artists. Personally,
I can't think of anything more gratifying or humbling than to mentor a young painter. I love when I am asked questions or am able to share techniques with others, yet I know several painters who are afraid to share their "secrets." It's a big disappointment to meet an accomplished artist and find they are a "jerk".

Sandy Askey-Adams
Oh my happaned to you too!!!!
How many others, huh?

We must not forget where we each began. Some do unfortunately. Sad. And when they forget, they become magor jerks I guess.
But, I have heard other well established artists say things like that.
They actually do believe that no one else has the right to do what they have done or reach the heights that they have reached..and that other struggling artists are taking up their space.... they really have forgotten that they too were once starting out.

Then on the other side of the coin, I have seen successful and well known artists with such humility that they are simply amazing. They are so sharing, so thoughtful and kind, so giving and so open and ready to help another artist. They leave me in awe in many ways,,,not just by their incredible work, but who they are. They are not afraid of sharing what they know.
They are NOT the jerks.

Sandy Askey-Adams
It sure is a big disappointment Debra. IN more ways than one.

Ilene Rubin
It happened to me too. And it was a good learning experience.

What I have learned is that first it should be the person that has merit. Even though what attracted me to her was the beauty of her art and her expertise they were not enough to compensate for her personality. Her art was more beautiful than she was inside.

They did not balance and that was a shock to me because I thought anyone who could create such beauty must naturally be a beautiful person inside, too. I would never expect otherwise- it's not in my nature. Second, what I learned is that not all genius consists of good nature.

That's the important thing to realize about talking up your work to people. It's one thing to talk about accomplishments, awards etc but maybe it's the delivery that matters. Let's face it; a compassionate person will behave in compassionate manner. Good qualities are usually evident immediately while bad qualities usually stay under the surface until the curtain is pulled aside. Sooner or later”¦.

I walked into that situation with a basic trust that people are good and kind, and I'm always shocked when they reveal themselves to be otherwise. It”s just a surprise every single time, no matter how old I get. Some times I get bit. Oh well, such is the nature of ” well, in this case ” the jerk.

I just move on. I must remember that I began painting because I had a desire to create, to capture a moment of beauty. I did not begin to paint because I thought I would set the world on fire, I began painting because there was a fire inside me that commanded nothing less of me. I began painting when I was 4 and won my first public drawing contest when I was 9.

There will always be someone who will let me know there's no place for me here, but it's ok if I continue to create and paint and strive to be good at what I do in spite of all the nay sayers. This is my journey too, so I will not wilt or drop dead because someone showed their true nature. Negative people make supportive, kind and good people that much more precious to me. Those successful, well known and kind artists with humilty and generosity are, to me, the real treasures and inspiration.


tom weinkle

beautifully said.

Marilyn Gilis
LOL Tom! Wish I had thought of saying that!

Judy Mudd
Sandy, this is priceless! I kept saying to myself, "I thought I had read that before??" Happy it is not senility on my part. Now I see Clint is doing a test on it. HE will find the culprit glitch causing mayhem. :o)

Sandy Askey-Adams
Tooooooo funny Judy.

Everytime it said try again, I tried it again. I even added a couple more words the one time before trying again. LOL
It never showed that it was posting as I kept clicking. Then I gave up and went out of the site.
WHEN I saw ALL those e mail messages with my name there I almost fell off my chair. I was ..mortified!!! AND Screamed "NO!", "NO..not on this post".
I went back in and could not figure out how to delete them all. LOL

But ...what a subject for this to happen to. LOL

Do you know that they were kind and thoughtful enough to call me and apologize. I was so surprised and did not expect that. Oh my gosh...That was the nicest thing.
I have been thinking of switching my web site over to FASO anyway and this is a sign that I should do so. Seeing how they handled this and calling me is a very special thing.
It really means they care about their artists.


Judy Mudd
Yes, Sandy, that is amazing to get a call. I have an independent website, too and have seriously considered moving over. I recommend it to other artists starting out with a site because it seems they do take care of their people.

You couldn't have picked a better subject to have your glitch on, though. Of course, even if you were talking about framing, after seven repeats, people might still think you are a jerk! :o) You were just being persistent! That's what we artists need. After all, it did say, "try again, try again, try again". Love it!

Sue Martin
Sandy and all,
Oddly enough, something similar happened on Facebook this morning. I received multiple messages from someone I know has enough computer savvy to avoid that error if possible. So, by the time I received Sandy's multiple messages, I was convinced there was a gremlin in my computer! Maybe a cyber-hacker?


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