Different factors must be considered when you are confronted with questions in a face-to-face conversation rather than receiving them in an email. It’s a lot harder to duck out of a dialogue in your artist booth or at an opening! And you probably don’t want to. [...]
You have a chance to guide a conversation about your art if you (1) don’t get defensive (2) recognize that almost all viewers’ questions are valid and sincere (3) learn how to ask thoughtful questions and (4) listen to the responses and engage on a deeper level with viewers.
Patrick Gracewood, Bear Fountain. Bronze, 12 x 11.5 x 9.75 inches. ©The Artist
I recently asked artists to respond to this question. What do you say when someone asks: How long did it take you to make that?
One of the things I found interesting was that many of the 69 respondents automatically assumed this was a value question–that it was being asked because the viewer associated time invested with the price on the artwork. I think this is a dangerous assumption; although, of course, sometimes it is easy to reach this conclusion based on the tone in the person’s voice. I still think [...]
Ever have a question posed to you that you don’t like to answer?
Want to know how to answer such questions and engage your viewers more fully in the process? Listen up.
Incidentally (and this will make sense after you listen to the podcast), my client did use the questioning strategies during her talk and it worked out great. But she didn’t wait to hear the question she was dreading. Instead, she was proactive. She started right in with the questions in order to engage her viewers before they even had a chance to ask their own questions. She said, “Approaching it in that way, not one person pushed me for the technique.”
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Background: A client and I were consulting last week about a gallery talk she had coming up. She wanted help preparing for it because it had turned into something much bigger than she had imagined. And she also had this dilemma: How to respond to questions about her process. Not only was she not quite ready to share her process, she also wanted people to be interested in the work beyond the surface. Everyone seemed focused on the surface and how she got it to look that way. How was she supposed to respond without responding?
Katherine Allen, Chinook. Textile, 58 x 18 inches.©The Artist
I shared with my client a technique we used in museum education: questioning strategies. Questioning strategies can help you engage your viewers on a much deeper level. They teach your viewer how to look at your art and form opinions. When done right, questioning strategies also validate those opinions. Remember [...]