Avoid Dead-end Dialog

I just saw a blurb on Facebook that was titled Stupid Things People Say to Artists. Irreverent in tone, it actually related to posts I wrote earlier this year – Questions to Ask an Artist (April 2019), and Continuing the Dialog (May 2019). Yes, over the years I have actually had people say such things to me. People ask these dead-end questions because they are tongue-tied and feel as if they have no basis for a conversation. Paraphrasing this author…here are some things to avoid:

  1. Your work looks like ________’s work. (No one wants to hear that you think they are an impersonator.)
  2. Did you know that I am also an artist…I’ll you some photos!  (At least take a little time to talk about the art at hand first!)
  3. Do you paint all day? That must be loads of FUN. (Recognize that the art process involves mental and physical work.)
  4. I don’t have any more wall space, so I can’t buy any more art. (Appreciating art does not require a purchase or apology.)
  5. You should do a painting of  _________instead. (Unless you want to commission a work, avoid suggestions.)
  6. You should give a painting to me. (Would you suggest any other trades person give you their work for free?)

As a contrast, there are topics that have the potential to initiate interesting conversations (reposted from my April 2019 Blog):

  1. Is there a connection between the materials you choose to employ, your stylistic approach, and your preferred subject matter?
  2. What sort of activities (formal education, tutoring, apprenticeship, or ?) launched and what sorts of activities continued to grow your art practice?
  3. Are there any obstacles in place that make your art pursuits more difficult? And conversely are there any things to make your art pursuits easier?
  4. Most creatives can point to some sort of mentor who gave them permission to pursue their craft. Who was yours and what was it that made that particular experience so potent?
  5. What activities act as fuel for your art practice?
  6. Which artists inspire you and why?