Marie Vlasic wrote a blog post about the things people should and shouldn’t say to artists at an art fair, and the response has been emotional.
Most of the points Vlasic made are familiar to working artists, including the question of how long it took to paint a particular piece, comments about how their grandchild could do that, etc. It should be noted that the post is not just a litany of complaints. Vlasic also suggests six things that would be good to say to or ask an artist in a booth.
At the end of the piece, Vlasic wrote: “This post is for shoppers who may not know how to approach artists. It’s a ‘safe list’ of conversation starters, delivered with an attempt at a little humor, if you will. I have put this together based on conversations with and comments from hundreds of artists over many years of art fairs and compiled a list of their largest concerns, which is what I am expressing here. It is simply an attempt to bridge a gap, to help people who may not know what to say feel more comfortable talking to artists. It is not by any means all my own personal experience and opinion. Of course artists need to be kind, always, and need to educate themselves about customer relations. That is not what this post is about. I am personally very grateful to be an artist, I love what I do, and always treat my collectors and potential clients with the utmost kindness and respect. In no way do I imply that anyone should do otherwise.”
Talking about the issue helps all of us. Check out the blog post and see what you may glean from Vlasic’s experience.