Tuesday, July 16, 2019

How to talk to artists

At the  Carrousel du Louvre exhibition
at the Louvre in Paris, France -- June 2015
Guests enjoying the show.
I’ve been to some great art shows lately,
and have been noticing what gets said. If you
visit exhibitions as an artist or guest here are some
of the lessons I learned from the blog world.

Art bloggers are an incredibly supportive group. In
my 11 years of blogging I’ve had one negative comment.
Why? Bloggers comment when they like your work,
and don’t comment if they don’t. This is a civilized system—
all unspoken, yet understood. It’s hard enough having
the confidence to put your work online, or in shows. And
artists are their own worst critics.

If you visit a show say what you like. If you don’t like
a piece, hold your fire.
Loving the art
Black marker on Fringe drawing paper
9 1/2 x 5 3/4 inches
Barbara Muir © 2017

Artists need to make money, and they are the lowest paid
group in this country (Canada). The last stats I researched
put the average salary for a full time artist at $8,000.
Not a living wage. So most artists want and need to sell.
If you really like a work of art, find out if it’s for sale.

Sometimes artists can make payment arrangements, and
sometimes they can’t. Whatever you do, don’t talk
about other artists' whose work you’ve bought recently
if you aren’t planning to buy work by the artist you're
talking to. Put the focus on the artists you're visiting.

As an artist I know I've talked to exhibiting artists about my
art at shows I wasn't in.  Not a good idea, unless the artist
asks you about your work.

Also basic courtesy— if you’re at a friend’s show, buy
your friend’s work, not another artist’s work in a group
show, unless you buy your friend’s work first.

Don’t insult other artists’ work in a group show. It doesn’t
make your friend feel good. It's just embarrassing.
Once again compliment the work you like.

Finally never give unrequested advice. I had the perfect
art advisor friend, who would come to see my work before
a show and give me advice. Everything she said was both
sensitive and right. That’s a talent few people have. She moved
away and since then I’ve gone it alone.  Unless someone
wants your opinion of what to change in their work, don’t give it.
Even if you're an expert, you're not the expert about that
person's work.

So please go to art shows, and please compliment
work you like. And by all means buy art!

Have a being good to artists day.


Verna Vogel said...

Oh Barbara this is an excellent post. Thank you. You are so thoughtful.

Barbara Muir said...

Hi Verna,

Thank you. I'm glad you think so. I think it's a delicate line for both artists
and people who attend shows. I love those people. They make our jobs


Portrait Artist

My photo
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
I paint and draw on commission and for shows. To commission a portrait, or purchase one of my paintings please contact me at: barbara.muir@sympatico.ca
A major highlight in my career? Drawing Oprah Winfrey live via Skype for her show "Where in the Skype are you? Galleries: Studio Vogue Gallery, Toronto, Canada. The Amsterdam Whitney Gallery, New York City. Gallery at the Porch Door, Kingston, Canada. Your positive comments on this blog mean the world to me. I'd love to hear from you!