Most Common Questions Asked to Artists
What Are The Most Common Questions
I asked a group of my art friends,” What are the most common questions people ask you about your art (visual arts, photography, writing, music, crafts, etc.)? I got so many interesting answers I had to share them.
Believe in yourself! Have faith in your abilities! Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers you cannot be successful or happy.— Norman Vincent Peale
Kristine: What kind of camera is that? It takes really good pictures. To which I answer, “It’s not the camera.” Seriously, I hear this a lot.
It is a shame that people think it takes a special camera to take good pictures. I had a student who thought I wasn’t giving her the best paintbrush because her painting didn’t turn out like mine. She kept asking to use my paintbrush, which she thought was specially trained. The truth is that you can turn out masterpieces with a burnt stick on rocks if you only try. My friend, Kristine is right, it isn’t the camera. It is about the experience and the practice put into it.
We cannot teach people anything; we can only help them discover it within themselves.— Galileo Galilei
Did You Do That?
Becky: Did you take that photo? Typically with a surprised tone. Yes, I actually have layers.
I get that too. “Did you paint that? Wow. You’re a real artist.” Umm. Yes. I have been for quite some time and don’t act too surprised. I have layers too.
We want to impress people but sometimes the level of surprise is insulting. Especially when you consider that this kind of quality didn’t happen overnight. We didn’t wake up one morning and decide it would be fun to paint professionally or take professional-quality photos. This has taken the better part of a lifetime. A great deal of blood sweat and tears have gone into this work and to have someone act not just impressed but surprised… Well, we have to roll our eyes and consider the source sometimes.
We have art so that we shall not die of reality.— Friedrich Nietzsche
What Is It?
Sherry: What is it?
Okay, I could indulge my baby brother when he asked that question. I was only 12 when I started painting and he was 5 or 6. I was a beginner and he didn’t have much experience being subtle. But when folks say that now it means basically I have failed as an artist to bring out the image I was intending. If it were abstract, that would be one thing, but I paint in a representational manner always depicting something that should be readily understandable.
My sister used to ask this question knowing it was a sarcastic dig that would get my goat every time. I can laugh with the best of them but this is my life’s work and it is a bit close to my heart. Don’t ask “what is it” unless you really want to hurt someone’s feelings, or know them well enough to know they won’t take it too personally.
Art is not meant to be created in stolen moments only.— Unknown
Debbie: I know people are always asking me if I went to school to paint like that or if it is just raw talent. What they seem to forget is that raw talent doesn’t get you anywhere. You have to practice and work and perfect that raw talent or it amounts to zip.
This is true. Education is fine and is helpful to learn the basics of anatomy and rules of light and shadow, but when it all comes down to it, practice and years of work are what make the artist worth his salt. The musician who can play by ear still has to practice, learn how to read music and put in the time before he or she is of concert quality. Writers have to write, artists have to draw.
I went to a meeting of the Society of West-Coast Artists where the president at the time asked how often we drew something. I was the only one of 30 people who raised her hand admitting to drawing something every single day. I feel I must or I will bust. I need to create. For me, it is as vital as breathing.
At the age of 12, I had an English teacher recognize some talent in me that I didn’t know I had. She told my mother to be sure to enroll me in art classes in high school. Imagine my surprise. This teacher had never told me anything but that I had poor spelling skills. I feel bad now for having called her “Bird-Legs Tedrow” all year. Because of her remarks to my mother, I have been painting and drawing ever since. I will forever be grateful to her. Who knows what direction my life may have taken if she hadn’t made that announcement to my mother?
What are the most common questions asked you about your art? Are they laughable or spot-on? What do you answer people when they ask you these questions? I would love you hear your thoughts in the comments below.