Writing about your artwork
Art doesn't sell itself! You need to talk about what you do and why you do it.
Why Do I need to Write About My Work?
You don't need to write about your artwork at all, but if you want to make it easier for others to appreciate, it will help a great deal.
If you're interested in selling your artwork, you should make it easy for potential buyers to appreciate what you are doing, Here's a snippet from an excellent article over at www.artbusiness.com:
People like to believe that they're doing the right thing when they buy art, but since most of them don't know much about art, you have to help them. They need conviction, courage, and understanding because owning art is not easy. Take Joe, for example. Let's say Joe buys a piece of art. He takes it home and hangs it in his dining room. Several weeks later, he invites Mary, Susie and Bill over for a dinner party. So the four of them are seated at the dining room table, rapt with culinary delight, sipping fine wine, chortling it up, and swapping gossip, when Mary points to Joe's art and asks, "Is that new?" "Yep," answers Joe. "Where'd you get it?" asks Mary. Joe's answer has to satisfy Mary, Susie, and Bill. "Really," says Bill. "Who's the artist?" Joe's answer has to satisfy Bill, Mary, and Susie. "That's interesting," says Susie. "I've never seen anything like it. What's it about?" Joe's answer has to satisfy Susie, Bill, and Mary. Poor Joe's on the spot, isn't he? He sure doesn't want to look silly in front of his friends, going out and buying art he can't explain. Not only does he have to explain it, but if he's like most people who buy art, he also wants to impress his friends and acquaintances with his discerning taste and sophistication. Furthermore, tonight is only the first of many times that Joe will be required to defend his art. For as long as he owns it, all kinds of people, many of whom know even less about art than Joe does, will ask all kinds of questions, and Joe will want to sound intelligent when it's his turn to talk.
If you are not an already well known artist, then to instill confidence in potential buyers it is essential to effectively write about yourself and your work.
How To Write About Your Work
Don't Be Complicated
Firstly and perhaps most importantly, you cannot assume people viewing your work and potential buyers have any experience or artistic training and so it is vital you communicate in simple and easy to understand terms.
A simple statement such as "I paint about people's emotions" or "This is a portrait of my Mother and Father" can do a great deal to help people unravel even the most abstract of work. People will have differing levels of how far they will explore the ideas behind/meaning of your work. A simple statement like this is a good starting point and often enough for people to then draw their own conclusions.
Basic information and facts about your work can also be a great aid to people trying to understand it, e.g. "I lived in Ireland as a child and I think this is a big influence over my work now".
Moreoever, avoid vague terms and descriptions and answer questions with useful responses.
Use A Professional
If you have trouble with words, then use someone who doesn't, to write them for you. You don't need the writing to be a work of art in itself, but there is a skill in writing succinctly and clearly and you should use someone with this skill.
What To Write
Overall, if you just give people the basics - plant the seeds and they will draw their own conclusions. It's better to say too little than too much, as you are in danger of confusion if you say too much.
- Why you are an artist
- What inspires you
- Your background
- Your technique, materials etc.
About your work
- What is it about
- Why you made a particular piece of work
- Whether it is part of a series
If you don't know or have trouble with some of the above, consider:
- The process - How did you start a particular piece? How did you know that you'd finished?
- What was the inspiration?
- What was your mood at the time?
What Other People Say
Another great way of writing about yourself is not doing it at all! Use testimonials from people who have bought your work already, people who have 'critiqued' you already etc.