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Remember to Respect your Audience

by Brian Sherwin on 5/22/2013 5:16:45 PM

This article is by Brian Sherwin, regular contributing writer for FineArtViews. Brian Sherwin is an art critic, blogger, curator, artist and writer based near Chicago, Illinois. He has been published in Hi Fructose Magazine, Illinois Times, and other publications, and linked to by publications such as The Huffington Post, The Boston Globe, Juxtapoz Magazine, Deutsche Bank ArtMag, ARTLURKER, Myartspace, Blabbermouth, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Conservative Punk, Modern Art Obsession, Citizen LA, Shark Forum, Two Coats of Paint, Vandalog, COMPANY, artnet, WorldNetDaily (WND) and Art Fag City. Sherwin graduated from Illinois College (Jacksonville, Illinois) in 2003 -- he studied art and psychology extensively. If you want your blog posts listed in the FineArtViews newsletter with the possibility of being republished to our 23,000+ subscribers, consider blogging with FASO Artist Websites.  Disclaimer: This author's views are entirely his/her own and may not reflect the views of BoldBrush, Inc.. You should submit an article and share your views as a guest author by clicking here.


Jack White offered a great read on the FineArtViews blog. His article focused on the downside of allowing a wild ego to get the best of you. I had to laugh early on while reading Jack's piece... he mentioned the 'Do you know who I am!' mentality that some famous people display when challenged. As Jack made clear, the 'Do you know who I am!' snaps rarely trigger positive results. As I mentioned to Jack, those snappy 'Me, me, me' type of remarks can spur negative press / comments. Furthermore, it can 'turn off' fans. That goes for actors, sports stars, and yes... artists.


I suppose one mark of civilization -- for better or worse -- is that we tend to idolize famous people. In fact, I'm certain that we have all 'looked up' to a famous person at some point. That said, I think at the end of the day most of us want to see 'down to earth' actions from our heroes. We don't want to see our heroes talk down to us... or to observe them act in a spoiled, haughty manner. Arrogance tends to be frowned on in general -- no matter who is displaying it. You, the artist, may be famous in the circles you 'travel' in. Think about this: The people who look up to YOU want to be treated with respect.


My experience has been that artists DO tend to have strong egos. I base my opinion on having interviewed over 500 artists. Artists often have strong personalities in general. Fair enough. BUT it is important to remain 'down to earth' to a point. Remember to offer a hand to artists who have yet to reach your level of success. Remember to treat people... well... like people want to be treated -- like YOU expect to be treated. People respect that. Period.


Never forget your early days within the art world. Never forget the long climb that you have had. Never forget the appreciation you felt when treated with respect. Your fans LOVE your art – but they also, save for the social masochists, LOVE to know that they are appreciated by YOU. With all of this in mind... remember to respect your audience.


The above suggestion is important to remember. Think of it this way: no matter how successful you become -- people will respect you if you still take the time to reach out to others. The snappy 'Do you know who I am!' remarks don't win fans... remarks like that tend to push away even the most dedicated supporters (we see that happen often with actors and musicians). Thus, strive to be as humble as you can be.


In addition to the above, remember that you may not always be on top. Jack White made that clear in his article. Artist Sylvia Sleigh tackled this issue in an interview I conducted with her in 2007 (click here to read the interview) . Sylvia noted that success within the art world / art market is momentary. Furthermore, she stressed that artwork may fall in and out of fashion several times throughout an artist's career.


All of you will face ups and downs career-wise. Those 'crashes' are less painful if you find supportive people waiting to catch you when needed. Those hands won't be there if you make a practice of insulting people due to extreme arrogance. Pointblank, it is a lot easier to find your footing if your art admirers -- and other supporters -- still have your back after the fall, so to speak.


In closing, have YOU treated people well today? Have you made it clear to fans of your artwork that you respect them? Have you taken time to acknowledge the appreciation that you have for past buyers? Have you offered a hand to fellow artists? What steps do you take to show your art admirers that YOU admire them? Feel free to share your tips and experience concerning these issues.


Take care, Stay true,


Brian Sherwin


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Related Posts:

Selling Fine Art Online: Make and Maintain a Good Reputation Online

Be Authentic

Collaboration in Art -- mutual respect, mutual work, mutual exposure

Respect Your Collectors Part 6

Stop Worrying About Yourself - Focus on Others (Part 1)

Be Careful Who You Feed

Perseverance in the Face of Disappointment

Client or Customer?

Be Who You Are

Being the Best Doggie We Can Be

Topics: advice for artists | art and culture | art and psychology | art and society | Art Business | art collectors | art marketing | Brian Sherwin | FineArtViews | inspiration | Instruction | Think Tank 

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Marsha Hamby Savage
Fantastic! Something we all need to be aware of ... respecting and treating others as we want to be treated. True care and love for our friends, patrons and new people we meet ... always the way to go!

As for offering a hand to fellow artists, we have a group of "round table" artists, both professional and early career artists, that want to learn more and different ways, and also teach what they have experienced. We are starting our third year, meeting quarterly and also having an "Open Studio Tour." We are learning loads from each other and supporting each with tips and suggestions...besides positive encouragement.

And for appreciating past buyers...there are two patrons that have supported me by buying artwork over the last 10 to 15 years. Just when I need a boost, they decide there are two, three or more paintings they have been eyeing and decide to purchase. So, when I recently started making repurposed jewelry from vintage pieces, and knowing one of them works hard in her church, I made a beautiful one for her. I made one with religious symbols and vintage pieces and shipped it to her as a gift. It fit her style, and was a complete surprise when I shipped it to her.

The second patron was participating in a garden tour, so I asked if she would like me to paint in the garden that day just to add something extra to the day for all the people visiting. She was so excited that I wanted to do that. We had a great time, and were able to visit and talk about our town, gardens, and art. A totally wonderful day making it something extra special and painting her love -- her flowers!

One tip I have, is to create a book of my work with beautiful photos and little paragraph stories about them. I only purchase the books when I get a good discount mainly so I don't worry about giving them away... I give them to patrons and clients that have purchased my work. Sometimes I will run into a past client, and have a book with me while painting on location .. I give it to them as a complete surprise.

To me, doing the unexpected is what makes all the above work.

I keep reminding my group, and my friends, it is about the relationships we create, not the business. If we don't have a good relationship, we don't have a good business.

Brian Sherwin
Marsha -- I'm humbled by your response. Thank you for sharing your experience. You nailed it when you said, "I keep reminding my group, and my friends, it is about the relationships we create, not the business. If we don't have a good relationship, we don't have a good business.".

Artists -- at least those interested in selling -- technically operate a small business. Small businesses thrive on relationships. Image is everything... being a snob to customers, for example, will not help your business to grow. Period.


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