Digging into what makes art “good” or memorable, and what separates thousands of hobby artists from the Van Gogh’s and Dali’s
or have you ever wondered why your art is not eliciting a reaction from people, not selling or growing your art brand?
Well, in this post and video, I will share with you what makes or breaks your artwork and aspiring hopes of being an artist and how you can leverage one special element to get your art noticed!
Check out my video below that dives into the subject of why your art doesn’t stand out!
First let’s talk about making art for art’s sake.
a lot of people like to ask me whether making art for the sake of making it is, in fact, a bad thing.
And my response to that is – absolutely not!
In fact, it is highly encouraged to constantly practice and create art just because. It’s how we learn and grow.
But with that being said…
Making art for art’s sake and wanting to get your name out there as an artist are two different goals, which each hold different answers.
Are you trying to become an artist?
Do you use art as a form of therapy?
The answer to these questions produce different answers and thus different perceptions on just making art for art’s sake.
Here is how I like to look at it….
What is the difference between the thousands of artists who try to share their art but get little to no traction and a famous artist like Van Gogh or Dali?
What made these guys so incredibly special?
One word: Emotion.
Emotion is one of the most powerful and relatable tools we have to communicate. Everyone understands what it’s like to cry, laugh, feel despair, get angry, smile bittersweetly. And the more we as artists can tap into that response with others, the better.
Every painting I have ever sold were successful because someone told me they saw themselves in that painting. They felt the pain, the love, the fear, the hope in my work, and it compelled them so much to pull out their wallets and make a purchase.
People respond to emotion.
Disney Pretty Much Nailed It
It’s a big reason why big companies like Disney made such a huge name for themselves. Back when their main competitors were Felix the Cat cartoons, Disney harnessed emotional responses in his animation.
People smiled, laughed, cried, and returned to a state of childlike wonder when they saw his movies. And decades later, Disney is one of the biggest titans of the animation industry, and it got there in large part because of the viewers who loved the art and the story behind them.
People saw themselves as strong and independent like Ariel or a smart gentle soul like Belle. People identified to feeling ugly and misunderstood like Quasimodo. People cried when their hearts ached for Simba when he saw his father die.
At least this was extremely true for me, and it still compels me to spend a stupid amount of money to go to Disney World or see their latest movies.
Now this is not to say big titans like Disney or Dali never made art just for the sake of art. Not at all. There are dozens of mini sketches and renderings that can probably wallpaper my entire house 5 times over.
Because yeah, sometimes, we create art just to breath. Just to have some me-time, and forget about the world for a while. It means something big for us, regardless if there is a big story or not to actually tell.
This is important to note…
So should I just stop my doodles or sketches?
There is nothing wrong with making art for the sake of making it. It’s a safe haven where we learn and sharpen our skills.
But, some artists who want to sell art or grow their art following get a bit testy when their “art for art sake” doesn’t sell well or their posts get little traction. And that is simply because that art spoke to no one, except to you.
Art that speaks to no one will forever remain silent. It will fade into the background, lost to the thousands upon thousands of other art that failed to evoke.
As an artist, my goal is to improve my skills but to also make a full-time income as an artist. That means I need to put in work than just “doodling- because-it’s-rainy-out-and-I’m-feeling-moody”. I need to strategize and plan out my message.
Planning your Art
A lot of people get confused when I say something like that. Planning your art? Don’t you just have to like sit down and get inspired or something?
Well yeah sure, that is part of it. But, running on just creative inspiration alone makes not a paid artist. There is a work ethic. It’s a job that requires time and planning.
And as terribly unsexy as that sounds, it is those very things that turned artists like Van Gogh, Picasso, and Dali into household names.
Their paintings deal with lots of subject matter that is captured in their composition, color choices, paint strokes, etc.
It’s not exactly an accident.
Even Bob Ross pre-planned his paintings so he would have an idea of the colors to use and the composition. It was a job that required them to think what message their art is conveying and what they want to provoke in others.
I see art as a provocation. It’s a message to send out to others of what you went through in your life.
We as artists need to understand that there is this ying-yang relationship with art. If you want to make art your hobby, then go wild with creating art for the sake of it.
Get Objective with Your Art
But, if you really want to grow your brand as an artist, you gotta grow thicker skin and look at your art with objective eyes.
This is INCREDIBLY hard, and something that took plenty of practice for me. Hell, I am still figuring this out! But recognizing that my doodles or earlier sketches aren’t going to pay my bills is a necessary process.
Again, I am not saying that doodling and sketching is bad because it won’t bring you money or fans; I think the world would be a better place if we only doodled more. It’s such a beautiful form of self-expression.
But, don’t expect those doodles to pay the rent. It’s a small harsh reality, but also an impetus and challenge for all of us as artists to tap into deeper stories and emotions with our work.
We need a challenge.
Even if you don’t quite agree with my thoughts on this, we could maybe reach an agreement that art can be improved when we push ourselves out of our comfort zones.
So please keep on creating your guilty pleasure art. Don’t ever stop.
But, if you want to make an impact with your art, think about how your art can compel others to feel a certain way.
Would you consider experimenting with different mediums to convey a different story? Would you be willing to look at your work through the eyes of stranger and detach yourself from it?
What do you think about making art for art’s sake? Comment below and let me know!
What Makes Art Good or Memorable?
Amanda is a self-taught artist and founder of The Buzzed Artist, dedicated to teaching adult beginners how to art with confidence using acrylic paint and love themselves in the creation process. If you want to get started right with acrylic painting, be sure to enroll in her FREE mini-course The Acrylic Artist’s Toolkit.