4 things that make a successful artist – Part 3


3. Making a real emotional connection

‘One original thought is worth a thousand mindless quotings.’ – Diogenes Laërtius

If an artist cannot make a real emotional connection with their audience then they will find it extremely difficult to be successful.

There must be something present in your art that resonates with a particular person or group. Each artist should have something unique in his or her work that is brought out from within.

Some artists have an extremely rich aesthetic style while others have a simple style. There are some artists that use concepts as their way to share their messages and others that use political statements and satire for their art.

The amount of styles that an artist could use is limited only by their imagination and desire.

An artist that has become successful by using statements and controversy is the UK artist Robin Gunningham aka Banksy - Part of the reason that Banksy’s work is popular is that he has something to say that makes people think.

That does not mean that it is not possible to be successful by creating art about nonsense topics, your artwork simply needs to connect with an audience who will support your work.

This means that you will need to be able to communicate the idea of your artwork to others until you can get to a position where your reputation will sell your work for you.

Many artists think that their art is only about their work. The truth is that when a person looks at something they do not see the thing in itself but within a contextual surrounding that contains the observer’s history, beliefs, memories, desires, thoughts, prejudices and the like.

We see the world through our perceptions and not how it really is. If an artist is to communicate with others they have to take that into consideration. It does not mean that an artist should change his or her values because that would diminish the impact of the artwork.

The question of ‘selling out’ is a very real one. The only right thing to do is to listen to that voice within you and go with it.

Having said that decisions based on your feelings are often bad decisions because they lack a reasoned approach, and a decision that is based solely on logic is not necessarily the best way to make a decision either because it is devoid of you values which are the emotional states that guide your decisions.

An important thing to always remember is that you cannot tell from an outcome whether a decision was good or bad. The result may be good or bad but not necessarily the decision.

Often the temptation is to judge a decision after the event has happened. This could be flawed thinking because it is possible to make the same decision and have two entirely different outcomes.

Not all offers are good offers, even if they seem appealing at the time.

The most important thing in making an emotional connection is to remember that people do things for emotional reasons and justify those reasons with a logical framework.

The emotional reasons can always be reduced either to desire or fear. There must be something in your offering that arouses desire in the prospect to use you or to engender fear that they will miss out by not working with you.

A serious question to ask is why am I making art? Is it for yourself? Is it for others?

Another thing to do is when you start to interact with people that like your art to ask them why they bought your artwork. The answers may surprise you and it is possible that they may have insights that you did not see when you created your art.

This is vital in understanding your customers and audience. It is essential to keep asking and listening to your audience because what is hot today may be passé tomorrow. At the same time you must have integrity to create things that resonate with you as well as your audience.

In the final part I will recap the past sections and add the last element to achieve success as an artist.

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