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Three Gates Of Relationship: A Pivotal Upgrade for Selling Your Art

Three Gates Of Relationship: A Pivotal Upgrade for Selling Your Art

I believe there is A Path of Visionary Affluence for every visual artist for selling your art. And it begins with the Three Gates of Relationship—which are intimately knowable, easily accessible, and practical to implement.   

And when you align yourself with these relationship gates, it will impact your mindset for how you sell your art. 

However, before we dive into the gates, there’s a question I want to ask you: What Is Art? 

Ah, yes, the question asked down the ages. 

With answers, as we all know, that range from the absurd to the sublime. 

From Gauguin’s, “Art is either a plagiarist or a revolutionary.” To O’Keefe’s, “Art is not what you see, it’s what you make others see.” 

I have a folder full of these quotations on art; each one as varied as the individuals speaking.  

It’s as if each quote is one piece in a tapestry of how art impacts culture, along with the individuals in that culture. And each piece adds to the overall sense that above all, art is infinitely important to humanity no matter where or when. 

Before we get to the Three Gates of Relationship (coming up…), giving yourself permission to answer “What Is Art?” will tell you what you value about art, and how you use what you value in both defining yourself, and in making your art. 

It will guide you in understanding how to identify the Three Gates of Relationship for yourself. 

Defining What Is Art? is not a small exercise. It’s essential. 

Here, I’ll take a stab at it and then it’s your turn. 

Ariane Answers: What is art?  

At the physical level?  

It’s an object you’ve created in time and space. 

At the mental level?   

It’s an idea that arose in the hallowed halls of your imagination. 

At the emotional level?  

It’s the fulsome expression of a feeling inside you that wants, or needs, manifestation in time and space. 

At the intuitive level?  

It’s one more demonstration of what ignites your creative spirit. 

At the spirit level?  

It’s one more, infinite outcome of What Is. 

At the personal level?   

It’s what connects you to others. It’s the emotional, highly personal container in which you live that encourages an engagement with others that you might not even be aware of craving.  

At the art-career level?  

It’s the collector/buyers that come (or don’t) to your door. 

It’s the offering you proffer to the collectors/buyers who want your art. 

But none of my responses matter if you are not aware of what art is for you! 

I know, this feels a bit esoteric, and you want to sell your art. 

I get it. I truly do. 

But since selling your art is directly connected to another person—your buyer/collector— understanding how your buyer/collector is connected to you through your art becomes the doorway that opens more sales.  

And how can you do that? 

You start by looking at the Three Gates of Relationship in the same way you study a piece of art you are making: look directly at what you actually see, not what you think you see. 

The Three Gates Of Relationship That Most Impact Selling Your Art

GATE ONE:  

Your relationship to yourself as an artist: aka, your artist identity  

How well do you actually know yourself, as an artist 

Have you ever examined the qualities of your Artist Self vs the qualities of your Family Self vs the qualities of your Friend Self? 

Have you ever taken the time to identify and name these Artist Self qualities?  

Or how these integrate into the art you make? How they impact the way you communicate with the world about your art?  

How they impact selling your art? 

Have you ever taken the time to connect the dots between who you are, what you make, and how you offer this to your potential buyers? 

Or have you settled for an artist identity that remains at the subconscious level, where, because there is no shining light of conscious awareness, it remains relatively in the dark, relatively unknown? 

And quite literally use-less… because you can’t use what you can’t name. 

Since word language is so fundamental to how humans experience every aspect of our lives, when a “thing” goes unnamed, it actually goes unknown. In a very literal sense, it doesn’t exist.  

When you can’t name something, when it remains an inchoate experience, you have no way to use it for further growth.  

When your Artist Identity remains unknown, in a very literal, word-language sense, it keeps you from leaping forward with clarity and, yes, joy. 

It also keeps you from a powerful truth that could help you sell your art more easily because sharing a deep truth that is connected to your art is essential in nudging your potential buyers/collectors toward wanting to buy—so you don’t have to push a sale. 

When you identify, name, and wholly own exactly who you are as an artist, you ignite core aspects of yourself that have always been a part of you, have always existed to help you transcend any art-world challenge. 

When you expand your awareness of your artist identity, it no longer languishes half-in and half-out, but steps fully elevated into your ArtLife. 

GATE TWO:  

Your relationship to your art: aka, your artistic fingerprint connection  

As I outlined in another blog post, here’s my definition of an artistic fingerprint: 

First, it’s not your artistic voice (unless you’re planning an Off Broadway review). 

It’s not your artistic style (unless you’re planning a runway collaboration during Fashion Week. Or you want to know where your work is on the historical art styles spectrum). 

You Artistic Fingerprint is what distinguishes you from the thousands of other artists all vying for visibility.  

It is what sets you apart from the pack of ordinary work, where a dozen pair portraits from a dozen different artists could be lined up next to each other and all look as if they came from the same artist. 

It’s the X factor in every, single piece you create that tells anyone that you, and you alone, made this. 

And like your literal fingerprint, no one else can truly duplicate what you do.  

When your work is speaking from the level of your soul, no one can ever successfully copy you. Your artistic fingerprint is just that: yours. By definition it cannot be anyone else’s. 

Only a lot of artists feel confused by the difference between loving what they have just made, and knowing the work carries a distinct sense of who they are as an artist. 

GATE THREE:  

Your relationship to the people who want your art: your artist statement 

At the heart of an artist statement is this: 

Reaching to understand what, how and why you do what you do does not dismantle either the beauty or mystery of it. Quite the opposite. Revealing the evolution of your understanding invites others to participate in the mystery and to share the beauty.   ~Ariane 

When you give the art buyers/collectors a peek behind the canvass, and create meaningful connections with you and your work, you are letting them know that it’s okay to truly see you. And truly seeing each other engenders a deep connection between seer and seen. 

The artist statement, when it reveals your relationship to your work, becomes an invitation to step into your inner world as it spills out from your soul into their world. 

Like the art which it reflects, an artist statement uses its sincerity of purpose and its purity of intent to create a powerful word-reflection of the art and the artist. 

The point of an artist statement is to be in service to your art, not the marketplace.  

Labeling an artist statement as something primarily for marketing diminishes the spirit behind your work. Like art created with the pocketbook in mind, artist statements which focus on the shallow “point of purchase” technique lose their authenticity, their authorship and their unique reflections by artists about their work. 

The relationship you have with your artistic fingerprint is the most important thing humming beneath the words of your artist statement. This relationship of Gate Two affects what you write, and frames your writing tone of voice for the statement.  

If you connect to the spirit inherent in your relationship to your artistic fingerprint, the words you use in your artist statement will sing at your next opening. 

Three Gates Of Relationship A Pivotal Upgrade for Selling Your Art diagram

Gate One & Two Overlap:  

I know who I am as an artist, I know my artistic fingerprint. However, even though I am producing my best work, it’s not selling at the level I want, or sales are inconsistent because I’m in my own bubble of “self” and “art.” 

Gate One & Three Overlap:  

I know who I am as an artist and I’m invested in the buyers/collectors who want my art. However, by not fully understanding and communicating my artistic fingerprint, I’m don’t have the leverage to maximize their loyalty. 

Gate Two & Three Overlap:  

I know and communicate my artistic fingerprint to my viewers, whom I court on a regular basis. But since I don’t know enough about my purpose and presence as an artist, my artist identity as it flows from my soul, my vulnerability and creative expression are limited.   

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With the right support, all three of these Gates of Relationship weave together an art career where selling your art—with the creative mindset that each of these Gates are  intimately knowable, easily accessible, and practical to implement—can bring you the same level of exhilaration and satisfaction you get from creating your art. 

  

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    What, Exactly, Is An Artist Statement? Find Out So You Can Use Its Power to Sell Your Art

    What, Exactly, Is An Artist Statement? Find Out So You Can Use Its Power to Sell Your Art

    It was true in 2002 and it’s just as true in 2024: 

    The more ways you can reach your artience, the greater your chances for selling your art. 

    Yes, most likely, your creative strength lies in your visual language, whatever the genre. And words—the language of everyday communication, the language of our culture and family, the language in our thinking minds, the language we depend upon to clarify an image—hold a far more complicated place in our psyches, which I’ll explore in another blog post.

    Most of us accompany any visual image with some word-language, even when the visual image is more compelling or dominant.  

    In fact, the very dominance of visual imagery often seduces us into believing that the visual trumps words, which is why the cliché “a picture is worth a thousand words” is quoted so often. And in my estimation, so thoughtlessly. 

    What’s important to remember is this: all humans respond to word language, be it verbal, written, or via thought.  

    And ignoring the power of words to amplify the power of your visual work means you are also ignoring a powerful pathway into the hearts and minds of your artience—the people who love your work and who only need one, extra push to buy it. 

    The most direct, and most elegant container for words that relate to you and your art is the simple, if challenging, artist statement. 

    But, where do you begin? What do you need to know before you tackle what I call a grain of sand in an artist’s shoe? 

    When you’ve read as many truly awful artist statements as I have, it begins to dawn on you that maybe, just maybe, the awfulness starts at the very beginning.   

    Here’s the most basic question—What the heck is an artist statement? 

    It turns out you need a definition to start, but there is far more at stake here than just a definition. 

    For a compelling, engaging artist statement, which truly catches the attention of your viewers instead of making them yawn, here are five major things to keep in mind. 

    First: Accurately Defining An Artist Statement 

    When you have an accurate definition, that becomes the very first step in deciding if you’re headed in the right direction or not. 

    I’ve tracked down ten different sites with ten different ideas about what an artist statement is. And, as far as I can tell, none them really understand three things:  

    1. What an artist statement does for the viewer who is reading it. 
    2. What an artist statement does for the artist who is writing it. 
    3. And how these two trajectories affect each other; both for what is written and for the statement’s final effectiveness.  

    During my years of one to one coaching, I discovered one of the most confusing aspects of an artist statement is deciding, exactly, what it is.  

    As I was working with painter, Bob McMurray, I asked if he had an old artist statement we could compare to the one he had just written. 

    Not really, he said.  I wrote some things for a web site, but it’s not an artist statement. I’ve been thinking about writing one for ages, so I was primed and ready to go when I got your book. 

    Imagine my surprise, when I surfed over, to find a perfectly coherent artist statement on his site. True, a few touch-ups and a stronger central theme would be a plus; and, what he had worked. So, why was this clear to me… 

    …but not to McMurray, who, after all, wrote the artist statement that he did not think was an artist statement?  

    It’s Not Obvious, But The Answer Is Simple 

    Many artists suffer from LOI:  Lack Of Information.  

    If you don’t know what an artist statement is, then how can you be sure that what you’ve written is an artist statement? 

    When I ask artists to tell me what they think a statement is, one of the most common responses I hear is: I’m supposed to tell my viewer something about my art.  

    Well, yes, that’s pretty much it in a nutshell… only who is telling you about this nutshell? Is it the hull of a hazelnut? An almond?  

    When you have a vague definition like this, it becomes subject to a steady stream of individual interpretations, much like the ten websites I just reviewed. Ten different, often vague and disconnected characteristics of an artist statement, but not the deeper purpose of it.   

    Consider This:  

    Does An Artist Statement Support Your Art Or Reflect On It? 

    The problem, when you don’t know exactly what an artist statement is, is that you end up cobbling together a statement out of resumes, biographical statements, and critiques about the artwork and technique. Or, you opt for academic mumbo jumbo. 

    This usually happens when how you use an artist statement—support material for your art—gets confused with what it is: a very personal reflection on what, how and why you do what you do. 

    Defining an artist statement has the same benefits as setting a goal: it tells you if you are headed in the right direction. If you don’t know where you are going, then getting there becomes a dicey affair.  

    You could end up driving aimlessly around for hours. On the other hand, if you establish where you are going, you have a marker for knowing whether or not you have arrived. This single step will save you hours of grief.  

    So, in case you blew past it a few paragraphs ago, here’s a definition based on your deepest truth that simultaneously holds the power of viewer engagement: 

    ===========================================================

    An Artist Statement Definition:

    An artist statement is a written, personal reflection on your insights about your relationship to what, how, and why you do what you do—from your perspective as the artist-creator. 

    ===========================================================

    Its purpose is to give your artience a peek behind the scenes, to let them have a taste of what your experience, as an artist, is really like. 

    But wait… there’s more! 

    Counter Intuitively, It’s Not Just For Your Artience 

    There’s another side to the artist statement that no one usually articulates: the artist statement is not just for art patrons and gallery owners.  

    It is also has the capacity to deepen the creativity in your ArtLife.  

    The very effort of searching for words, which reflects your relationship to your art, increases your creative flow. This is true whenever we engage in a form of self-expression that pushes us out of our comfort zone. Like sweat from physical exertion, the struggle to articulate an artist statement has the added benefit of getting your creative juices flowing. 

    Writing the Artist Statement focused my connection to my art in a new way. The whole process primed me, gave me a sense of direction. 

    Now when I’m faced with choosing what to paint out of hundreds of photographs, understanding what moves me, this core place of nostalgia, gives me the reference point I need. ~ R. McMurray, retired Pres. of the Federation of Canadian Arts 

    As Uncomfortable As It May Feel…It’s About You 

    We have been conditioned, in so many ways, to feel awkward saying anything complimentary about ourselves. While, conversely, our culture encourages us to make demeaning, belittling self-comments, especially under the guise of humor.

    And because an artist statement is so deeply personal—as personal as your art—this tendency toward the Negative Self often pushes us in the opposite direction. 

    Keep in mind that a good many in your artience think you are magic and if they stand close enough, some of the magic will rub off.  

    With an artist statement, you give them permission to stand close enough to get a contact magic-high. At its best, an artist statement is honest in the same way that your art is honest. They both reflect a true expression of your being. 

    When an artist statement speaks from that place of what’s real, then, and only then, will the truth of your statement and your art effortlessly support each other. 

    Because It’s All About The Personal, Keep This In Mind … 

    An effective artist statement is as personal as your art. Which is why I insist that artists use first person, I, even though the very thought of writing “I” statements about your art might strike dread into your heart. 

    It’s very tempting (and artist do it all the time) to write your artist statement in third person because it feels as if that will keep strangers from judging you.  

    Even though you see artist statements written in the third-person (she/he) all the time, this is never a good idea.  

    Usually, an artist does this fearing that their statement, and by implication the art, doesn‘t have enough authority to be believed, respected or taken seriously.  

    Because authorities write about others in the third person, the artist tries to make it sound as if an authority is doing the writing.  

    But a third-person artist statement becomes easily confused with a critique, and as we have said, an artist statement is not a critique.  

    Third person also drops the artist statement squarely into a lie, since the artist purposefully sets the reader up to believe that someone else, besides the artist, is doing the writing. 

    Third person feels more credible, as if some expert wrote all this cool stuff about your work and isn’t that just too neat!  

    Unfortunately, that removed quality, which third person offers, is exactly what will kill the very reason for an artist statement in the first place: to give your viewer another way to bond with you because now they know something real about you and your art. 

    The Sticky Factor 

    An effective statement creates a personal connection to the artwork and stimulates our human thirst for “story.” This, in turn, triggers longer memory storage, and increases the sticky factor about your art, by immersing the viewer in two languages: visual and linguistic. 

    Writing in prose works best because prose is a friendly, accessible form. Prose lends itself to narration and storytelling, which helps the reader engage with what the artist is saying, which in turn encourages the reader to engage with the art.  

    Once in a while, poetry or prose-poetry is effective, when an artist is comfortable and skilled enough to pull it off. 

    The content of a statement is simple: It’s made up of specific words, which the artist chooses, and their construction. 

    Details Matter 

    Even if collectors love your work, an artist statement that comes off as arrogant, naïve, pushy, academic, or fluffy taints your artwork by association. Why take the chance?  

    Your work deserves an artist statement that gives you the professional edge you need.  

    Even though Artdex’s definition of an artist statement is only partially accurate, this bit of their advice might motivate you: A compelling artist statement can break a tie in an art competition, an artist grant application, or secure your spot in a coveted artist residency program. 

    And, to help you with the “detail” end of things, here’s one tip I’ll share about compelling writing: always use specific details in place of generalities. 

    “A tree” becomes “A gnarled oak with one branch blackened from lightening.” 

    “A sliced orange” becomes “One slice into the skin and the pungent, orange fragrance rose up from the cutting board.” 

    If you would like a comprehensive understanding of what an artist statement is—and how to leverage the purpose it serves for you and for your artience—alongside a step-by-step process for how to write an artist statement, keep in mind that the learning curve is similar to taking a class in a new technique for your artwork.  

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      Beyond the 9 to 5: How to Turn Selling Art Online Into Serious Income 

      Beyond the 9 to 5: How to Turn Selling Art Online Into Serious Income 

      Here’s what we know: about half of Americans consider themselves artistic and creative, so selling art online is a dream for a whole lot people. However, even as the art market has become more and more competitive, a significant number of creators rarely know where to begin.

      Luckily, there are some fundamental, and actionable, steps you can take to grow the business side of your art career so you can sell art online Check out the following three, commonsense recommendations.

      No. 1: Only Your Best Work

      A simple, yet profound truth: Every artist is unique, and the work they create is irreplaceable. However, even the best artists’ work is a mix of practice pieces, pieces that don’t work at all, and pieces that fulfill the artist’s vision. When it comes to selling art online, it’s critical to know the difference and select those top pieces that represent your talent at its best.

      Whether you are an emerging, mid-career, or established artist, you want to showcase only the work that defines you; the work with your unique, artistic fingerprint. 

      Which pieces are most compelling for you? 

      Think about those, then check in and ask a handful of people you trust for their most honest responsesChances are high that people who buy your genre of art online will find these pieces equally appealing.

      Be careful that you focus on pieces with a consistent artistic fingerprint that identifies you, and only you, as the artist. Jumping around with multiple mediums to discover where your artistic passion truly lies, is perfect when you are in the experimental stage of your art business. 

      But once you have moved into the emerging artist stage, and you are ready to sell art online, make sure you have identified the medium and style that immediately tells your online art buyers that this is your best work.

      No. 2: Sell Your Art on Multiple Platforms 

      You can explore the various websites designed for artists who are launching an art business. Or, you can create your own webpage and develop different strategies to market your work.

      Set up an Instagram, Tumblr, and TikTok page to display your workThink about who might buy your kind of art. If it’s landscapes, maybe businesses with outdoor sports. If it’s lyrical and abstract, maybe interior designers. Then, be sure to follow those people on social media, and use appropriate tags to reach the ones who might be most interested. 

      Another option for selling your art would be easily searchable, well-known platforms like Etsy and Redbubble. Millions of people like to peruse these websites, and your artwork will automatically go under predetermined search words so it’s easy for people to find them. 

      No. 3: Price Your Artwork Competitively 

      While many artists, along with their loved ones, consider their art priceless, it’s important to pay attention to the market. No matter how established you may eventually be, with a fan club of art lovers, at any art career stage your prices need to be in line with your art career level. That means setting prices for your art that people will actually be willing to pay to a beginner. 

      Research what other emerging, mid-career, or established artists, who work with your medium and at your scale, are charging. Look across multiple sales platforms and social media sites to give you a well-rounded view of average market prices so you can set competitive rates. 

      When You Are Ready, Start Selling Art Online the Right Way 

      With these three foundational recommendations, you can turn your creative dreams into a selling-art-online reality: Only your best work, Sell on multiple platforms, and Price your artwork competitively. 

      Ariane Goodwin, Ph.D. is an artist ally who leans into the mantra of Truth, Power, and Art when working with emerging, mid-career, and established artists.  She has several options to help artists accelerate the business side of their art careers. Download her Writing the Artist Statement eBook and Ambitious Bundle so you can take action and keep your eye on fulfilling your artistic dream. 

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        The Ultimate Power Couple for Selling Your Art…The Artistic Fingerprint + Artist Statement

        The Ultimate Power Couple for Selling Your Art…The Artistic Fingerprint + Artist Statement

        Let’s define our terms, shall we?  

        Before spring planting, I like to pull out weeds first. Sometimes definitions need this too. 

        Artist Statement: 

        Weed pulling… what it’s not. 

        It’s not: a bio, a resume, or a personal critique. 

        Planting… 

        Your Artist Statement is a process where word-language reinforces the visual language of your art. 

        Your Artist Statement is a process where word-language reinforces the visual language of your art.

        Because we are all hardwired for visual and word languages, believing one is more powerful or important than the other burns down one of the most powerful bonds you can have with your viewers. Full stop. 

        Artistic Fingerprint: 

        Weed pulling… what it’s not. 

        It’s not your artistic voice (unless you’re planning an Off Broadway review). 

        It’s not your artistic style (unless you’re planning a runway collaboration during Fashion Week.) (Or you want to know where your work is on the historical art styles spectrum). 

        Planting… 

        You Artistic Fingerprint is what distinguishes you from the thousands of other artists all vying for visibility. It’s the X factor in every, single piece you create that tells anyone that you, and you alone, made this. 

        And like your literal fingerprint, no one else can truly duplicate what you do.  

        Besides the fact that most artists create their work, in some aspect or other, with their hands, a finger’s fingerprint is also a visual clue—not auditory, or kinesthetic, but physically visual. 

        The Artist Statement Half of… The Ultimate Power Couple for Selling Your Art 

        Here are two, little-understood, artist statement secrets: About Them and About You. 

        Secret #1 About Them: the people who see your art, who are moved by your art, and then immediately experience a very human desire to want more. 

        And the more they want is … 

        Secret #2 About You: the artist who gave them this moving emotional, aesthetic experience. 

        Sure, they can stand there, shifting from one foot to the other (or move their cursor around), and stare some more. Maybe even strike up a conversation with someone next to them about what they are seeing and feeling and thinking: Honey, come look at this. What do you think? 

        Sure, you can leave it up to them to wander into this never-never land of your art and take what from it what they will, until they move onto the next piece (maybe one of yours, maybe not). 

        Alternately, you could give them a killer artist statement that keeps them right there, next to your work, contemplating it even more. Spending more time with the experience your work has triggered for them.  

        Because, when you capture that next layer of insight and awareness – without detracting from your viewer’s perspective – you have built a psychological bridge between you (the artist) and your potential buyer.  

        your artist statement is a psychological bridge

        Ah, you may be thinking, but how do I write an artist statement that doesn’t interfere with what my viewer is experiencing? Isn’t putting my spin on my work already inserting myself into their experience?  

        As it turns out, many artists I’ve worked don’t bother with the open-ended curiosity of a question, but go right for the declaration: I won’t write my artist statement because… I want my viewer to draw their own conclusions. I don’t want to interfere or impose on  their interpretation or experience. 

        I totally get it. This resistance to writing an artist statement feels utterly reasonable, especially to those of us who already worry about inconveniencing or “bothering” someone else. 

        However, this misplaced concern completely misses the point of an artist statement, which is not an explanation of what your work means, or a roadmap to what someone should be experiencing when they see it. 

        If you want to dive into why this declaration is not actually protecting any viewer from anything, check out this blog post: Your Artist Statement… Why Bother?  Part 1: Four Rational Reasons To Not Write An Artist Statement. 

        If you are doing it right, your artist statement is not telling, or explaining, it’s revealing your relationship to the piece they’re viewing. 

        your artist statement reveals the relationship

        An effective artist statement is all About Them, about extending the experience you are creating for them!

        It is about giving them a precious, word-language context that bonds to the visual-language you and your art have created. 

        It’s letting your viewer in on some aspects of your private relationship to your work, which, when done well, brings your viewer closer to the piece they are experiencing because they feel closer to you, the artist. 

        At the Core of Artist Statement Secret #1: About Them 

        … lies an uncomplicated truth: an effective statement creates a personal connection to your artwork because it stimulates our human thirst for story. 

        an effective statement creates a personal connection

        This, in turn, triggers longer memory storage about you and your work by immersing the viewer in not just one, but two languages essential to our human experience: visual and linguistic.  

        At The Core Of Artist Statement Secret #2: About You 

        This secret is a bit sneaky because it’s not at all what people think an artist statement is for. 

        Besides the art patrons, gallery owners, residencies (and a dozen other applications), your artist statement is for you. Not the marketing-business you, but you the artist. 

        Writing an artist statement gives you another way to reflect on your work. When you dare to climb this small, professional Mt. Everest, a surprising view of your own work awaits you at the top.  

        The very effort of searching for words that truly, authentically reflect your relationship to your art increases your creative flow.  

        This is true whenever we engage in a form of self-expression that pushes us out of our comfort zone. Like sweat from physical exertion, the very struggle gets our creative juices flowing.  

        One of the great keys of creativity is to shake things up, get out of familiar mindsets, work against the grain. Sometimes it is hard for an artist — whose artwork is based on uniqueness — to realize how easy it is for any pattern to become familiar.  

        Writing your artist statement — the what, how, and why of your work — will draw art buyers closer to your work even as it deepens your own awareness.  

        As another sculptor, Norbert Ohnmacht, learned: 

        Writing my artist statement gave me a chance to focus on myself. It opened up more creative juice and self-expression than I had experienced in a long time. Taming my internal critic, and the roadblocks to my inner mind, gave me new skills to express my heartfelt emotions to others. 

        Working on my statement gave me the opportunity to delve into my inner soul and reflect on the science of “me.” When I took the time to evaluate what, how and why I do what I do, it refined my work and gave me a fresh, determined self-confidence that I had lacked before. 

        The Other Half of… 

         The Ultimate Power Couple for Selling Your Art: Your Artistic Fingerprint 

        We are all deeply familiar with the sensation that we are unique; there is only one of me, and only one of you. 

        And yet, even though we live in a culture that elevates individualism over the collective, celebrating our uniqueness is discouraged by a whole host of admonishments:  

        It’s not polite to brag.  

        Who do you think you are? 

        So, you think you’re better than others… 

        There’s always someone more talented than you. 

        You’re stuck up. 

        You sure do have a high opinion of yourself! 

        And then there’s the disparity between women being confidently themselves and men: 

        You’re too loud. 

        You’re a bitch. 

        You’re too dramatic. 

        You talk too much. 

        Don’t step on anyone’s toes. 

        Don’t be a (fill in the blank)… slut, loudmouth,  and so on… 

        Our rational minds may have learned to compensate for, or overcome, this pervasive, persuasive cultural negativity to the point where we truly believe we are free of its subconscious undertow. 

        And yet, for a whole host of artists, this cultural mindset has poisoned the well of their Original Uniqueness of their Original Selves—some more so, some less. 

        The result is either a fuzzy, incomplete, or completely missing artistic fingerprint because the uniqueness of who we are and the uniqueness of our artwork are intimately, and forever, entwined. 

        When an artist is highly skilled, talented even, and yet it’s impossible to tell their artwork apart from dozens of equally skilled artists with similar work, that’s what the world of card sharks would call “a tell.”  

        Often these artists have settled for the ohhs and ahhs of family and friends; or the creative high that goes hand-in-hand with the skillful execution of a piece. All the while denying the world a true slice of their unique soul. 

        As I’ve said before, and it bears repeating, repeating, repeating:  

        Artistic fingerprints are the soft underbelly of our creative ArtLife. The direct flow between your work and your creative soul depends upon the willingness and courage to be raw and vulnerable.  

        And this, in large part, needs the appropriate personal boundaries and safeguards in place so vulnerability becomes risky enough to break through old patterns, but safe enough to stay real.  

        Every artist I’ve ever met has told me of the moments where they felt elevated they had entered a timeless, seamless flow where there was no distinction between themselves, the piece they were working on, and the process of creating. It was all One. 

        The universality of this experience goes unquestioned. And yet, each artist’s creative efforts have pulled from this realm a piece that looks unlike any other piece anywhere. Creative paradox. 

        Like the fingerprints on your fingers, your Artistic fingerprint holds this intriguing, creative paradox: it is at once unique and universal–always a fingerprint… yet never the same. 

        Creative Magic: when you give yourself permission to mine the depths for that which is truly yours, you lead the way for others to know themselves in equal measure.  

        Whether or not they take you up on that is their business. Yours is to always shine the light on your Original True Self.

        your artistic fingerprint is the ultimate creative paradox

        A Case Study For The Ultimate Selling Your Art Power Couple: 

        Your Artist Statement & Artistic Fingerprint 

        When one of my private clients held a solo exhibition of his sculpture, he followed my suggestion to display each, singular art statement, about an individual piece, alongside the artwork. 

        The typed statements were mounted at the top of thin, metal poles rising out of a stand to shoulder-height, so you could walk right up and read it. And because the font size was large enough, anyone else peering over someone’s shoulder could also read it.  

        I arrived at the opening early and made a point to be a fly on the wall. And what I saw truly surprised me. The oft-quoted truism—a picture is worth a thousand words—had all the air knocked out of it that night. 

        All evening, with its 200 plus guests, I watched the same scene unfold.  

        Someone would approach one of the sculptures, glance briefly at the piece, then immediately turn and read the entire art statement; some that were two or three paragraphs.  

        Then they would turn back, with an appreciative nod or smile, and really look at the sculpture, walk around it, talk about it, walk around it some more. 

        I could see on their faces how their brains first registered, and then organized, the words they read with the images they saw.  I could literally see how the combination kept them engaged with each piece, and how it sparked conversations between the guests. 

        The result of that night was a selling-your-art success… 

        …and a triumph for the ultimate Power Couple for Selling Your Art 

        Your Artistic Fingerprint and Your Artist Statement. 

        ====================================================== 

        If you are ready to write your ultimate artist statement, check out the all new, updated 3rd Edition of my eBook: Writing The Artist Statement: Revealing The True Spirit of Your Work 

        Ariane Goodwin's signature file

         

          How Irreplaceable Are You? A Creative Mindset That Shapes Selling Your Art

          How Irreplaceable Are You? A Creative Mindset That Shapes Selling Your Art

          It’s really not important if you want to create great art, good art, or just-for-the-heck-of-it art. The last thing I want to imply in my previous “Great Art” blog is that great art is automatically the goal. 

          Maybe yes, maybe, no—either way it’s not a judgment, it’s a description of one art career possibility, which may or may not be how you roll.  

          Some artists find great satisfaction in creating for the sake of creating. For others, the joy is in knowing that other people also find their work a distinct pleasure. While for most, selling art is the high point, the ultimate happy dance in their ArtLife. 

          However, if making great art is a deep, closely-held yearning inside you, I want to make sure you don’t think of it as a futile exercise in subjective reality or the coveted stamp of approval from others. 

          There are steps you can take (See: What Makes Great Art Great ). And while the markers of complexity, mystery, and mastery won’t assure you of greatness, at the very least they will give you a place to lean into. 

          Theres no ignoring your artistic fingerprint impact

          If you want your work to make an impact, there is one other, inescapable requirement you can’t ignore: Your Artistic Fingerprint, aka voice (except you don’t sing), style (except you aren’t walking a runway), etc.  

          And discovering your Artistic Fingerprint is the beginning of a creative mindset that will impact everything connected with selling your art. 

          Your Creative Mindset: The Irreplaceable You Behind Selling Your Art 

          All of us carry a deep-seated awareness that we are unique. As Mr. Rodgers slid in or out of his sweater, he liked to remind all of us that “you’re special just the way you are.” 

          And yet, for a whole host of artists, intentionally, consciously connecting the dots between the uniqueness of their artwork, and the uniqueness of who they are, seems to be a uniquely challenging mindset-hill to climb. 

          While for many other artists, it seems almost impossible to grasp the difference between the skillful execution of a piece, with its accompanying creative high, and offering the world a you-and-only-you, slice of your soul. 

          How many still-life fruit platters have you seen that could have been painted by any of a hundred different artists? 

          How many barnyards? Or rolling hills? 

          How many have you seen that could have been painted by only one? 

          And which do you remember long after the curtain has closed? 

          how do you bring the irreplaceable you into your art

          In 2024, with the 24/7, online presence of so many artists, there’s a cornucopia of artists who have an established artistic fingerprint. David Hockney is one, whose folding screen, Caribbean Tea Time (1987), offers the shape of his piece as uniquely his, along with his painterly execution. And then there is one of my favorites, Christina Quarles, who uses digital and hands-on techniques to give us content that challenges our sense of self. 

          The biggest-ticket deal took place in the first hours, with a, selling for €580,000 (about $616,00) via Galerie Lelong & Co. 

          What does it take to bring the irreplaceable you into your art? 

          What is the creative mindset you need to… 

          1. Recognize, and name, your artistic fingerprint so it becomes part of your overall artist identity? 
          1. Be open to where you are developmentally as an artist, and where on that path your artistic fingerprint is… 

          The Battle For Creative License  

          For some artists, their fingerprint has always been with them, from the beginning. They know it and others see it. It’s as if these artists have a direct lifeline to their creative soul that doesn’t waver. 

          For others, an artistic fingerprint is not so obvious.  

          I remember one woman coming up to gallery owner, in a workshop he was leading, to ask if she had a “distinctive style.” I was peeking over her shoulder where she was flipping through image after image in her portfolio; each one indelibly hers. I found it  puzzling that she couldn’t see the visual evidence right in front of her. 

          For other artists, one look at the dozens of pieces on their website and you’ll see an artist all over the place: different techniques, different styles, with little or nothing connecting them to the artist. 

          These artists, I’ve discovered, are fairly prickly when you talk about an artistic fingerprint. Immediately, they start defending their right to creative freedom, as if you’ve just told them they have to paint the same 3 pears, arranged in the same way in a chipped blue bowl, for the rest of their lives. 

          For other artists, their creativity is on an indulgent roll with sculpture vying for space in their buyers heads with the oil paintings vying for space with the silkscreens vying for space with the jewelry… you get the idea. 

          And in the majority of these cases, it’s not that there’s a problem with what they are doing, only with what the artist assumes can happen with what they are doing: sustainable, long-term, commercial success. 

          Not going to happen.  

          What might happen is sporadic sales and lots of ohhs and ahhs from friends and family, which only strengthen the artist’s resolve to keep what they see as a right to unshackled creative freedom. 

          Then there are artists who do want that artistic fingerprint (aka signature style, aka artist voice) and do want their work to have an impact, and their vision to have a following, only they aren’t sure how to go about it. 

          what if you dont know if you have an artistic fingerprint

          What if you don’t know if you have a fingerprint and you want one to help sell your art 

          Or you think you have a fingerprint, but aren’t confident about it? 

          This is exactly the predicament one of my private clients had when she first came to me.  

          She had been painting for years with a solid handle on technique. But she felt stuck and unsure about what she was painting. It was as if her creative soul was knock, knock, knocking on a closed door, and she knew it. 

          Once we delved into coaching, she was savvy enough to recognize that the missing piece for selling her art and expanding her career was a clear and conscious artistic fingerprint. 

          And she was genuinely confused about what her artistic fingerprint might be. 

          five steps of her artistic fingerprint journey

          Here are the five steps of her artistic fingerprint journey that we discovered together. Notice how each step builds on the previous one, and where her creative mindset came into play: 

          Step 1. We studied her work to identify areas that drew a consistent response from her viewers. Where were people moved? What did they say that stayed with her? Where was she moved? What stayed with her after leaving the studio? 

          Step 2. Once those areas were identified, we isolated them from the rest of the painting, and then lined these up so we could see them individually and as a group. What were the common elements in areas of color, technique, subject matter, perspective, etc. 

          Step 3. After identifying, and most critically naming the common elements, this artist began the hard work of asking herself “What does it mean to me when I do X?” For example, she had multiple areas in multiple paintings where she used her palette knife to create spider-web lines between areas on the canvass. 

          Step 4. Asking “What does it mean?” included writing exercises, keeping a dream journal beside her bed, and an art journal beside her in the studio. First, she set up the direct intention to understand her artistic fingerprint, and then used the exercises and journals to help her pay attention to what her sub-conscious was revealing. 

          Step 5.  A key practice, which helps create conscious awareness, was digging for the specific words or phrases that accurately described the recurring elements in her work that might relate to a common theme… which, surprise, surprise, they did! 

          Each of these five steps was incorporated into our coaching dialogue, which is critical to the Artistic Fingerprint Discovery. Without a dialogue, you are asking the eye to see the eye. 

          And, yes, not everyone has an art career coach, I understand. But this process can work quite well without a coach in your corner. 

          If you don’t have a coach, choose someone in your community whose artistic sensibilities you trust and who will understand what you are going for. Someone who will be a sounding board for your own developing awareness. Stay clear of anyone who might use this as an opportunity to show off or become a critic.  

          Artistic fingerprints are the soft underbelly of our creative ArtLife. The direct flow between your work and your creative soul depends upon the willingness and courage to be raw and vulnerable. And this, in large part, needs the appropriate personal boundaries and safeguards in place so vulnerability becomes risky enough to break through old patterns, but safe enough to stay real.  

          discovering your artistic fingerprint is the ultimate paradox

          When you step into the artistic fingerprint mindset, you’ll find your fingerprint is already a seamless part of all that you know, in your heart, to be true about you and your work. 

          Your Artistic Fingerprint Embodies All That Is Spiritual in Selling Your Art 

          I know that selling your art does not lend itself very well to the philosophical, esoteric, or spiritual. But in human reality, the philosophical, esoteric, and spiritual are always humming in the background. 

          Here’s an excerpt from one artist coaching session that illustrates this perfectly, where the act of painting becomes a kind of prayer to All That Is: 

          Artist: The paint is telling me what it wants to express. And then I look at it and realize, “Oh, this is the message that was coming through for me.”  

          For example, in one of my seascapes what’s attracting me to a particular scene with its colors and light is a message about the human experience throughout the web of life. How we are connected with each other, and with the source of universal energy that energizes us and gives us strength, and this in turn gives us our sense of purpose in life. 

          Every artist I’ve ever met has told me that, at some point in their creative practice, they experienced moments where they felt elevated, expansive, as if their very being had entered a timeless, seamless flow where there was literally no difference between themselves, the piece they were working on, and the process of creating. It was all One. 

          The universality of this experience goes unquestioned. And yet, each artist’s creative efforts have pulled from this realm a piece that looks unlike any other piece anywhere. Creative paradox. 

          Artistic fingerprints, aka your artist voice, also hold this intriguing, creative paradox: like the fingerprints on our fingers, they are at once unique and universal–always a fingerprint yet never the same. 

          They also represent one of the creative responsibilities of choosing to be an artist—“responsibility,” not as duty or code for the British stiff-upper-lip, but responsibility to share our truth, as only we can know and experience. 

          What’s magical is: when you give yourself permission to mine your own depths for authenticity and that which is truly yours, you lead the way for others to know themselves in equal measure.  

          Whether or not they take you up on that is their business. Yours is to always shine the light on your Original True Self. 

          ————————————————– 

          I’d love to know what challenges have come from your journey with your artistic fingerprint… 

          Ariane Goodwin's signature file