Not too long ago, I was talking to an artist about the way some people react to her prices. She was beyond frustrated. “Don’t they know how long this takes?”
Another artist was of the angry opinion that “People are stupid.”
There are way too many people in the industrialized world who have no idea where their food comes from. They think pizza comes out of a box. Why would they know about what you do? How could they even begin to know?
Don’t take knowledge for granted
We live in a society inundated with cheap, mass-produced, imported goods. Discount stores and sale signs are everywhere. We’ve come to expect factory prices, not lasting quality. We’re trained for consumption, not curiosity.
So no, they don’t know how long it takes to make something with your head, your heart, and your hands. They’ve been conditioned not to think about it.
Ironically, that conditioning gives you a perfect opportunity to open up a mind. To start a quiet revolution. To become a champion for your art.
Become a champion for your profession
You could call it arts advocacy, but that might make you think of structured activities organized by an institution. So let’s not go there. A champion is more exciting than an advocate, much livelier than a supporter, and way less annoying than a crusader. Plus you can picture yourself wearing a cape, or at least a team sweater, when you run into someone who makes an unfortunate comment and you need to keep your composure.
You shouldn’t try to convert every doubter or naysayer you come across. Some of them don’t want to listen. But if someone asks a question, you have the chance to start a real conversation, to introduce them to the mysterious world behind your studio doors.
You know the crowd that understands and appreciates what you do is smaller than you’d like. You want to find ways to expand your audience. Sometimes those opportunities land right at your feet. The people who take the time to ask questions are either on the fence, ready to be coaxed over to your side, or close to it. Give them a thoughtful invitation into your world, and you might get them hooked for life.
Over to you: what’s the strangestâ€”or bestâ€”question anyone’s ever asked you about art? What’s the question you most want to ask people outside your artistic circle?