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  • Good Art Writing Makes Good Art Better



    Human beings communicate with words. When we see something we don't understand, we ask questions or read about it; we gather and process written and verbal information. That's how we form opinions, make decisions and take action... with words.

    Art happens to be one of the things that people don't understand the most. It's also one of the things they want to understand the most. I have rarely met anyone who doesn't like art, but I've met legions of people over the years who need help understanding it. It's your job to help them and the easiest way to do that is with writing... with words.

    Back in the good old days before the Internet, art writing wasn't all that important. This was primarily due to the fact that the art world was a lot smaller, a lot more local or regional for the most part, there weren't that many artists, and pretty much everyone who was interested in art was already reasonably fluent and informed about it. These days the art world is a very different place, so different in fact that the potential marketplace is basically global for both artists and art buyers alike.

    The Internet has completely changed the way that art has to be presented, because now the audience is no longer confined to a limited geographical area or to a select group of people, but rather to everyone everywhere regardless of how little or how much they know about art. Anyone who has even the mildest interest in art now has an opportunity to search the world for whatever art and whichever artists attract and fascinate them the most.

    What this means for your online profile is that you should no longer write about your art only for a select group of knowledgeable insiders because you're now presenting it to everyone. In order to maximize your audience and maximize your opportunities for exposure, you have to write in a way that anyone can understand, including total strangers... or perhaps considering the way things are now... especially total strangers. You never know where a great opportunity might come from or who a potential buyer might turn out to be or why someone might be taken with your art, so it is up to you to make sure that all interested parties have a fighting chance to get up to speed about you and your work as quickly and effortlessly as possible. And the way you do that is with writing.

    Don't make the mistake that so many artists make, which is thinking that all someone has to do is see your art, and they'll instantly become so enthralled and fascinated with it that they'll do whatever they have to do in order to find out more about you. The Internet simply does not work that way. If you can't stop first-time viewers or at least slow them down within 30 seconds or maybe a minute or two of making initial contact with your art, chances are extremely good that they'll leave your website or your image page and go somewhere else. Online attention spans are short-- very short-- so you have to do whatever is necessary within a brief period of time to convince anyone who may like what they see to slow down and take a longer look. It is up to you to have the words and explanations in place-- easy to read, understand and ready to go-- for anyone who has any interest whatsoever in learning more.

    If you're like most artists you probably do all your own writing, but artists tend to write for art people, assuming they can write at all (and many can't... but they do so anyway). Worse yet, lots of artist websites have little or no writing whatsoever, and are not much more than great big guessing games. What happens with this kind of art writing, or lack thereof, is that artists and select other art people can usually get what's going on-- like friends, curators, critics, gallery owners, and anyone else who's already knowledgeable about art-- and that's pretty much it. The rest of us stay clueless. As a result, the fan base tends to stay basically the same, but in a world where the fan base has the potential to be huge and international, this outdated approach to writing about art makes absolutely no sense anymore.

    Professional art writing is different; it's written by writers who understand how the art world has changed, and who know what type of language is necessary in order to respond to those changes. It expands your sphere of influence by reaching out to anyone who likes your art enough to pause for a moment, long enough to seriously consider it's significance-- no matter who they are or how little they might know about what they're looking at. They're the people you want to convince, not the ones you've convinced already or those who already know and appreciate what they're looking at and who don't need any help. And the way professional writing convinces these potential newfound fans is by presenting your art in ways that anyone can relate to-- not in confusing or poorly written language, or in complicated art talk, but rather in writing that's simple, concise, welcoming and enticing in a way that encourages people want to know more.

    This is what professional art writing is all about. First, it explains your art in ways that make it accessible to a broad audience, not only to art people but to all people, especially those who may know little or nothing about what you do. Second, it distinguishes your art from that of other artists and talks about what makes it special, significant or worthy; with so many artists online these days and so much art being so easily available, making your art stand out from the rest is critical. Third and most importantly, it compels interested visitors to want to see more and maybe even get to know you better-- and this is the part that counts. It's the part that invites contact, interactions, inquiries and opportunities for dialogue and discussion, and if it's done really well, can ultimately lead to shows, sales, representation or whatever else you dream of having as an artist.

    ***

    In case you haven't figured it out yet, I love writing about art, do it professionally, and know how to use words in ways that enrich and enhance how people experience art. Yes I charge for services, but you get what you pay for. If a well-written introduction to your art helps you make even a single sale, you've got your investment back... and more. Don't sell your art short by going with inadequate or inferior writing (or no writing at all). A poorly worded presentation is the last thing you need.

    So what exactly do you get when I write about your art? Personalized, customized and compelling introductions, statements or explanations that help your art reach more people more effectively than any amateur attempts to do the same. I can revise or edit existing writing, collaborate with you on new writing, or write it myself from scratch based on your requirements and expectations.

    You think words can make your art look better? Words crafted to your specifications by a professional art writer who's been writing about art for over thirty years? Hint: Yes they can... and they do. Try me. Call 415.931.7875 or email alanbamberger@me.com .

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