Heard, Not Fixed
When conducting market research interviews, I understand that open-ended questions solicit richer, more detailed information. Answering with your own experience, or rebutting people’s comments, can shut down the conversation. However, I hadn’t thought about how this principle applies to my art life.
Most people want to know their concerns and interests have been given consideration. They aren’t necessarily looking for answers, but want to feel valued. They hope someone will pay attention, but don’t want to be told what to do. A recent article in the New York Times Magazine provided a tip along those lines from a therapist who said “people want to be heard, not fixed.”
Sure enough, this relates to my art, too. I’ve always encouraged collectors to share their experiences when a painting reminds them of a favorite place or activity. Sometimes they reminisce about trips, family and favorite experiences. Other times a painting speaks to collectors who share their hopes about future travel, or it just feels happy to them.
People often ask about the origin of the paintings, in which case it seems appropriate to share my stories, too. Always, if my art can transport someone to a positive time or place, I’m thrilled. This painting is a good example. It was purchased as a gift for my collector’s husband, who grew up near Elizabeth Park.