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Letter #12

Dear Artist,

Every artist is different and the story behind each art creation is unique. Many artists however do not understand the importance of the actual story behind the artwork. Each piece should be coupled with its own story of creation. The thoughts and discoveries about what and why artwork is made can help creators in many ways.


Artists sharing stories can lead to a variety of successes such as greater sales. Authentic stories engage a viewer and create long lasting interest between the spectator and artwork. Research done by Uri Hasson from Princeton states, “When the woman spoke English, the volunteers understood her story, and their brains synchronized.  When she had activity in her insula, an emotional brain region, the listeners did too.  When her frontal cortex lit up, so did theirs. By simply telling a story, the woman could plant ideas, thoughts and emotions into the listeners’ brains.”


It’s amazing that the parts of the brain activated by the storyteller are the same parts of the brain affected in the listener as the story is told. This tells me that it is key to have emotions or feeling in a story about the creation process. A problem could arise when an artist retells a creation story over and over. A story that has been told many times can become a broken record not evoking much interest or emotion.


Therefore artists need to stay fresh with the creation process. How then can an artist stay authentic when sharing about career and process when potentially every person entering the studio may need to hear the story?


Remember what the passion is for you behind the process. What has got you here? Why do you continue? Being able to share the personal side of the process can be an avenue if the journey becomes over told.


How have you changed as a person because of what you create? Change or growth is key in capturing the audience’s attention. Doing and being the same person day in and day out is generally not interesting to others, but new ideas or learned concepts are often intriguing.


What insights have come to you during the process? If you are not sure, then take time to consider your thoughts after a session in the studio. What ideas crossed your mind? Take the time to journal your thoughts, even if they are just ideas about process. The stroke of paint, the thickness of line the choices of color etc.…


Understanding your connection to what you create can also help improve your work. Thinking about the reason why you are doing what you are doing can lead you to make art that connects on a soul level.


Art with soul connections are the pieces that hang from one generation to the next. In my twenties in my hometown there was a local landscape artist who made Bob Ross paintings look simple. His masterful landscape work created during the 70’s and seemed quite glamorous. Today when I see his work it just feels dated and old. But contrastingly when I see a Rothko piece, created in this same time period, it feels timeless. What is the difference?


Check out the painting #10, 1952, by Mark Rothko (American, born Russia, 1903-1970), oil on canvas at Seattle Art Museum. Richard Tuttle, Rothko’s contemporary, once told me that this piece had real emotion, and was quite captivating rather than the untitled Rothko piece Tuttle and I witnessed together at the Art Institute of Chicago Museum. Rothko’s work is hanging worldwide and yet he was not satisfied. Perhaps we should discuss this in our next letter.


Want to see if your art is ready to engage spectators? Send me a photo to Instagram @ Uncle5star_studioselfie4 and I will give you a quick 5 ★ rating. It’s free and an easy assessment to offer simple feedback.


Storytellers have an easier time selling artwork,

 Uncle Salvador

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