How to talk about your art

We are delighted to premier a new series of blog articles by our webmistress Leona M Seufert, who is an artist and a writer! She will be sharing with us her advice on topics that deal with communicating about ones artwork and ones background.

As an artist I am lucky that I also know how to express myself verbally and in printed matter. Writing an artist statement or sending a letter detailing my background, or creating a press release about an exhibit has always been easy for me. However, the majority of artists I’ve met are good at one thing: Their art. When you are an established artist the creation of communication materials can be left in the hands of a PR agency or an agent. However, when you are starting out, even if you can afford to hire one, you need to learn how to talk about yourself and your art.

Your artwork can’t speak for itself! Oh, yes, it can convey many things about you as a creative person, it can be enjoyed on its own for its own sake, but…the big but…unless the work has something that the art world is looking for, it cannot sell itself on technique and image alone. Words have to do that. Words are what help get you into an exhibit (artist statement) into a gallery (your biography that shows you have a substantial background and are worth the gallery space), and help in attracting the media to follow you in your career. Whether you care to write a blog, tweet, post on instagram or Facebook, or write your own press releases, you need to know how to craft your words so that you present yourself in a good light. We all have read too many artist statements that ramble on and on or talk off topic giving a clueless impression about the artist and his/her work.

The holiday season is an important time to make sales as everyone is looking for that unique gift. Your artwork might be seen in an exhibit where you have the opportunity to talk with visitors at a reception. Or you send out a holiday e-mail blast to your mailing list offering special discounts on sales. However you approach your potential collector, you need to say something that will take them from the interest in the artwork to the point of wanting to part with their money to make a purchase. In part two of the article, I will discuss tips on talking about yourself and your artwork, and writing good copy for e-mails.

Leona has produced content for the Les Malamut Art Gallery website for the last 6 years. She is a digital artist, visit her Studio ‘L’ website  and has a business writing practice in Roselle Park, NJ. She loves to help artists talk about their art and has provided writing consulting services to artists for the last 5 years.