How to seduce people into being interested in your art

Today’s Art Marketing Action newsletter is about seducing (love that word) people to be interested in your art. Here are some more lessons to be learned from my seduction by Josiah McElheny’s art.

I saw it in person. I wasn’t expecting to see it, but I was open to a dialogue with it because I was sharing its space.

–>Get your work out of the studio (unless you’re having an open studio event!) and seen. Viewing online is not an adequate alternative.

It was made of mirrored glass. That alone was unusual and separated McElheny’s work from all of the other work in the museum.

–>Explore different materials–if only for your framing, pedestals, and other display mechanisms.

McElheny’s installation was in the center of the gallery almost by itself and, yet, because of its multiple mirrors, it referenced everything else and everyone else in that gallery. Its scale (24 x 108 x 92 inches) made it unavoidable. I had to walk around it in order to see the art on the other side of it. Its mirrors made it endless.

–>Make your work bigger! Command attention from viewers.

My husband (the physicist and mathematician) was first attracted–before I was–to the forms and materials. His interest in the work encouraged my own.

–>See art through someone else’s eyes. Explore in depth how they are moved by specific works of art. (This means asking questions of them before you offer your opinions.)

After that initial spark from my husband, McElheny’s installation became a puzzle that I wanted to figure out. I love puzzles of all kinds and I am attracted to art that makes me think.

–>Make art that people need to spend time with in order to figure out. Puzzles can be visible or invisible, but they can also be a riddle embedded in the imagery.

Hearing him and seeing him talk on the “art:21” series seduced me even further to want to see and know more about his work.

–>Get out there and talk about your work. Presentations are part of Promote Your Art with Confidence (begins 9/12), but you can start with journaling for your artist statement.

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7 comments to How to seduce people into being interested in your art

  • It’s a terrific concept: seduction + art Here on the net we have a better chance in some ways than in a gallery IMO. Even if we have only 1-2 minutes of the viewers time, we can weave a story behind the painting that enriches it in a way a gallery can’t but a TV program can. And we can invite the viewer back to see something new the following day! Plus they’re in their PJs most likely so in a vulnerable state of mind :)

  • While I am often inclined to post only an image of a piece with its title, I am told I should offer a bit of my own thinking or at least process. I employ theme and variation, and a hint of a story, just enough to generate interest so that it gives the viewer an opportunity to ponder, useing their own thinking as a participatory exercise in understanding the metaphor and like a soap opera, there is curiosity about what follows, and so, is a seduction and can generate a continuous, more captive audience.

  • How do I seduce my audience? By speaking with passion and truth, straight from my heart. I’ve learned to dig deep when it comes to talking about my work and why I make it. People respond to this on a visceral level. At my big summer retail show, I shared with one customer the story of how I came back to my art after a long hiatus. When I finished, she looked at me and said softly, “When you said that, just now, a shiver went down my back all the way to my toes!” That’s why I don’t talk too much about process, provenance, credentials, etc. It’s about the story. Period.

  • I haven’t seen this show, but your description makes me really feel like I’ve missed something. I love hearing artists talk about their work.

  • This is so true Alyson. It’s so much more complex that the visual image alone. I just hit a plateau having finished prepping for a show. On to the next venture and what a great spur to help move me!

  • Seduction is an invitation. A chance to extend yourself to another and welcome them. In my gallery, it’s the invitation, the accessibility that’s the seduction. I’m not the artist, but the presenter. My job is to invite the viewer into the space and welcome them. It’s an easy, soft place to land…allowing their minds and thoughts to open to all the possibilities!

  • Carol: Yes, the Net is a good place to start, but it will never replace sharing a physical space with the art itself. Patricia and Luann: Yep, the story counts–big time. Pam: Go out and rent art:21 now. You’re going to love each episode! Tracy: Yep, it’s not any one thing. Artists need to realize that what seduces one person might be completely different from what seduces another. Your seduction must be well rounded! Sarah: You’re right. I love thinking of seduction as an invitation. And think of all the thought we put behind an invitation before it even goes out.