Lately I’ve read a number of posts from artists who wish their family and friends were more supportive of their lives as artists. This got me thinking … perhaps part of the problem is that our loved-ones aren’t always sure how to offer the right kind of help and support.
So for all our family, friends and fans here are some ideas to transform you into the best possible support for the artists you know and love:
How to support the artist(s) in your life
1. Remember that art helps the world and that your artist is working hard (just as you are) to make the world a better place. Even if your artist’s work isn’t to your personal taste you can always offer encouragement by saying, “it’s so awesome that you are making the world a better place with your art.” This means an enormous amount to us… for reals!
2. Text your artist just to say hello and ask how their day is going. We are alone all day in the studio with no human contact and love to receive some virtual hugs and kisses during the day.
3. If your artist offers inexpensive ways to purchase their art (such as art prints, cell phone covers, etc) please buy something. You can always give it to someone else as a prezzie or even stick it in a desk drawer if it’s not to your taste. But these small purchases are so encouraging to your artist and so appreciated.
4. Offer to visit a museum or gallery with your artist. I almost always go to the museum by myself and would love to turn it into a fun social outing. Most museums have good coffee shops too.
5. Artists know what kind of feedback they want about their work. Please refrain from offering unsolicited commentary about your artist’s style or subject matter. If your artist is a figurative painter it isn’t helpful to say things like, “you might sell more work if you painted animal portraits.” This might be true, but please know that if your artist wanted to paint animals, she’d be doing it already. If you’d like to give feedback, ask what kind would be helpful (if any).
6. Please remember that you may define success differently than your artist does. Asking us if we have any pieces in a museum or if we’ve found gallery representation yet can make your artist feel shame and discomfort if what they’d really like is to make more sales in their Etsy shop. It’s a bit like asking an actor if they’ve won an Oscar yet. Instead, ask your artist about the progress of their specific goals (and if you don’t know what they are, it’s okay to ask).
7. Art supplies are very expensive. If you are planning to give a gift to your artist for their birthday or at holiday time you might ask them if there is something they’d like for their studio. Also, gift cards from art supply shops make wonderful presents. Or ask, “is there an art book you’ve been drooling over that I could give you as a gift?”
Lastly, to all the wonderful friends, families and supporters of artists… a huge thank you! Honestly the hard and lonely work of making art wouldn’t mean much if it wasn’t for all of you. So while you are busy taking steps to appreciate your artist, please know that they appreciate you too!