A Life in Paint
For some reason, many people seem to think artists are somehow different. There's some sort of romantic notion of us being tragically tormented, chronically impoverished vessels of raw talent and sex appeal. Along with that notion sometimes comes a strange way of interacting with us. I was thinking about this last night and with that thought in mind, I think it's time to revisit the myths and realities of the artistic type (or at least this one) and the do's and don'ts when dealing with same.
First the do's:
1. DO ask questions: Most artists I know, myself included, love to talk about our work. In fact, we're honoured that you're interested and will gladly discuss inspiration, technique, colour, etc. with you. Who doesn't love to talk about what they do?
2. DO ask if there's wiggle room: If you see a piece you love, but you can't manage the price, remember, there's normally a bit of room for negotiation, within reason. If you see a priced at $550.00, I'm not going to flip out or be insulted if you ask if I'd take $500.00. I might say yes, I might say no, but as Misty's mother used to say, "don't ask, don't get." Just remember, when negotiating a deal, use common sense, don't insult an artist by offering a ridiculous lowball offer, it's embarrassing to us both.
3. DO Share: IF you see a painting you like, please feel free to share it with your friends. There's nothing better than seeing someone post one of my pieces on their wall. The more people that see the work, the more potential sales there are.
And now, the don'ts:
1. DON'T CONFUSE THE MYTH WITH REALITY: I'm going to say this once more. I shouldn't have to say it at all, but I've had to many times. When you take the leap and decide to collect a piece of my work, I am honoured. I am more than happy to discuss the piece with you. I'm more than happy to hear how it makes you feel, what it reminds you of, where you're going to hang it. I'm even happy to hear about your day. However, I am not the tragic tortured, lonely soul just waiting in my studio, shirt off, covered in paint waiting for the next female amour. When you buy a painting, you buy a painting, that's it, that's all. You are not, I repeat, are not, purchasing a chance to hook up, you aren't buying a boyfriend or a guru. The image of the artist as an over-sexed lothario who takes you to his studio and gives you the ride of your life is, at least for this artist, a myth. I am taken, it's obvious to anyone who has even glanced at any of my social media. So please, don't clog my inbox with inane chatter 12 times a day with flirty little suggestions and "bed head" pics of you. Do you try to pick up your local mechanic when you get your oil changed, or your accountant at tax time? No? Well... Along the same lines, you are not buying a say in any part of my life. I share parts of my life with my fans because I want to. It helps you understand both me as an artist and my work, but don't get it twisted, I'm not looking for your advice or approval. And if I am, you'll know, because I'll ask. Now, there are those handful of special people that either I, or Misty find we connect with, and those special few do become treasured friends. You guys know who you are, and you get more leeway.
2. DON'T S&*t Where I Eat: I've said it a million times, but it bears repeating, this is how I eat! If you've made a payment arrangement for a piece, please stick to it. I am taking you at your word, holding back a piece for you, sort of on layaway; a piece that I could have sold outright, based on your promise to make small installments every couple of weeks or months. If you can't meet that obligation, be up front and tell me. If it happens once, I'm okay, I get that things happen. However, repeated late payments, me having to chase you, etc. will result in frustration all around. I have the same bills as the rest of you, I eat, I need to maintain a roof over my head, and I buy supplies. Also, if you've negotiated a price, and I've agreed, then that is the price. Don't turn around when the time comes to pay and say, "oh, darn, I need to buy groceries, would you take this amount instead?" NO, no I won't! First of all, don't you buy groceries regularly? The need to buy them couldn't have come as a surprise to you just after you agreed to buy the painting, I mean you do eat every day. Do you go into the grocery store to buy milk and then ask the cashier once it's run in if they'll take $2 instead of $4? Didn't think so. So, please don't play that game with me.
3. DON'T Tell Me How or What to Paint: If you like a piece and want to buy it, great, I'm happy and honoured that you do. But please, don't offer to buy a piece then ask me to alter it. It's insulting. The piece, once finished is finished, it's a complete expression of my artistry at that given point in time. If you feel the piece needs more blue or more defined crows or whatever, then the piece you're looking at isn't for you. If you want something painted specifically, that's called a commission and I'm more than happy to do them.
4. DON'T Ask Me What Else I Do: For some reason people love to ask artists what else they do, as if art isn't enough. What else do I do? Well, aside from painting, which takes hours, I maintain a website and a blog and a social media presence and I package and ship paintings and I order supplies. I spend time selling work and promoting my business. Oh, and in between all that, I have a life too. You wouldn't ask a secretary or a teacher what else they do, so please don't ask me, what I do, as an artist, is plenty, thank you.
I could probably go on for ever, but that's all I can say for now. We artists are not really temperamental or unreasonable, nor are we the romantic characters immortalized in literature, just approach us as you would any other professional, any other person, in fact and it will all go fine.