I have been seeing on linked-in some questions about creativity and I believe there are several aspects of creativity that have to do with different parts of the brain in the physical sense as well as an openness and willingness to connect with that part of the self. The act of creating images, words, etc. for me is an act of being absent for a while. If I know what I’m painting and think of what I am painting I tend to push paint around, it’s when I instinctually and usually quickly create a work of art, that’s when I feel like I have truelly touched that part of the brain.
In my experience, the right brain has its own connections and relations of words and objects that don’t necessarily have any comparison from a logical side. The motivation and feeling of creating art and writing is intangible and the work pretty much creates itself. The conscious side of the brain fights with the creative subconscious side and questions the comparisons which creates breaks in the creative process.
When I sit down to write, it usually is from many different snapshots of things from the day and the images and thoughts create paths in words-this is referred to as a trial web shift when the right brain kicks in adn takes over.
I collect images from places-it might be the way light hits the water or the way a field blows in the wind and when I paint all of these images come together from memory. I use photographs to support the images that I see but memory fills in the gaps. In the future I plan on getting more observation in before the act of painting and more drawn studies to emphasize more details.
Commission vs Inspired Paintings
Doing a commission for someone can often feel like selling out even if you rationalize that it pays the bills. I take it a step farther-I believe that doing a commission is an exercise in discipline. Creativity without discipline can be often without direction or a series of delayed satisfaction. Doing a commission allows an artist to step away from the canvas and the emotion connected to painting and work on the skills and sense of space and design which an inspired image may lose sight of in the passion of creating art. I believe that doing inspired art can become very subconscious and the artist almost loses his place in the scene. My best work is when I am barely present in front of the painting and I instinctually know what to do with the paintbrush. When you do a commission there is no bending on the what the image will become, there is also a bit more of a separation between the artist and the canvas.
I think one way to make the commission process more easily agreeable to the artist is to use Photoshop as a means for proofing the work. Photoshop can make the proofing process easier because you can use elements from photographs and do multiple options and ideas-you still have the option of free creativity but it’s faster and more easily duplicated for multiple options to show the prospective client. Any way you can keep the time and effort of the initial proofing of a commission down and make it easier for sending out proofs for the client-the easier and less expensive it will be for doing commissions and the more enjoyment you can get out of the final process.
Art Using the Computer Compared to Painting
I must admit there have been times when I am painting and the idea of undo comes to mind. The thing about painting vs electronic is that paining tends to be more immediate for me. Electronic art appeals to my logical side, I have many different options to get to a finished point and I have many steps and processes that I can experiment with and build upon. Oil painting tends to be more to the point and sometimes letting the painting create itself, in fact the one thing that stops the flow of painting is when I get overwhelmed by the details and can’t see the whole picture.
Before I started teaching painting I would have said that painting didn’t have a formal step-by-step process but after having to put it across to a student I can see that there is a logic progression an steps to creating a painting. The underpainting is the first process and it sets the tone, the very basic layout and underlying atmosphere of the finished painting. In painting images form somewhat subconciously and the intricacies form often without planning. In computer graphics I control the process and have the ability to test what may work and what won’t, I have more freedom of options with undos and saving as other files or options. You can always work over with oils but the area will quickly get an overworked look and the colors can tend to go muddy.
I have recently decided to start doing multiple studies like the master painters of the past. I think the finished painting will have more of a worked feeling and the problems would be worked out over the progress of several painting options. I also plan on working more layer on layer as opposed to wet on wet, I believe I will work toward having more of a discipline logical approach to painting in the future.
The Buzz of Social Media
Just getting the word out starts the process of attention but does nothing for engagement. Consider posting something is like putting up a sign in the middle of no where-no one knows or cares about the sign-your job is to first show people how to find the sign, and second convince them why they need to read the sign and last what to do in relation to the sign. Engagement begins when people of like interests and shared needs connect, this connection can be as simple as answering eachother’s questions or sharing ideas and information about their products or other products they endorse.
The new media can seem cold and impersonal and the storefronts of today anonymous and distant but the personal side of human nature still seeks to communicate. Sales has become a game of numbers without knowing customers nor listening to their wants and needs. The sale is contingent on the ability to approach a large quantity of clients whether they are interested or not-an example is SPAM, and the customers ability or need to buy the product. The relationship between the customer and the business suffers when the customer feels like a number or a pawn in a marketing scheme. People like to be talked to ad resent being talked at, you may sell more in the short term dealing with a large quantity of contacts but the amount of return customers you will lose will far outweigh the benefit of mass impersonal marketing.
I believe a database full of nameless, faceless customers is like a store full of customers who can and will go anywhere including to your competitors, leaving your store for anyone who engages with them and no business wants to lose those contacts as clients. Engagement and building a relationship with a customer is so important because customers want a business they can trust-they will return to that business because that trust and sense of relationship sets that business ahead of their competitors.
Next, the difference between computer graphics and painting-positives and negatives of both.
I have just started learning the processes of marketing after creating and launching a website. I am beginning to realize that if you spend all of your time marketing you never get the time to paint. Even still an artist is not like a salesman that sells a product to strangers who could buy the product from anyone but is seeking the best price or the best service. I believe artists need to know their clients more than the standard business relationship, we need to create relationships with buyers, the buyers need to know why we create art and understand the meaning or inspiration behind what they are buying and we need to understand what about our art inspires them.
Both disciplines can be done well in tandem but I do think you need to work smarter in the field of marketing. Constant checking, posting and adding to twitter and facebook can become tedious. We need to contact the right people that are interested in buying but we also need to build relationships with people that know about art and have sold art. I have recently learned many things just by reading through linked- in and Artpromotivate-a website that has many great examples and effective techniques to successfully promote artwork. All this information is so helpful in saving time because you are learning from people who have sold art and have been promoting it for some time.
Another important aspect to selling art and connecting with other artists is a real relationship. I think that if anyone in sales treats customers like they are only patrons that pay the bills, they are missing a large portion of the sales/customer relationship. Most customers know when they are being taken advantage of or just being sold, they want to feel as if there is something more than just the sale and the salesman is thinking of their best interest. I think artists and their customers take that relationship to another level. I would rather have fewer customers that were very happy with their product and offered repeat business than more customers that only bought one painting or print.
I think community is something that people are really needing these days and the relationships of artists to artists and artists to their clients should be as genuine as the inspiration that initiated the work itself. I am learning so much every day, from other artists, web processes and social media. I will continue to update this blog on the successes and roadblocks I have experienced through marketing my art and my website.
I hope my information will be as helpful to others as the information from other artists has been for me.