“I could do that.”
“My kid could do that.”
“That looks easy.”
“Acrylic paint is cheap.”
We’ve all seen or heard comments like these. They can be frustrating, can’t they? When you know the time and effort that goes into understanding acrylic pouring, finding the right supplies and pouring your creativity successfully onto a blank canvas, these comments can be belittling and discouraging.
In this article, we’re going to outline a few ways to answer these questions professionally and in a way that educates your buyers about the value of your pieces so that you’re prepared if/when these sorts of criticisms come your way.
Understand the Source
There are usually two people that say these sorts of things: people who aren’t artists, and people who are professional artists.
If someone isn’t an artist, it’s difficult for them to understand the complexity of what they see. Today’s consumer is used to mass produced art, sold for $19.99 in their local big box store. There’s no value there, no craftmanship. But, for them, money talks.
If someone is a professional artist who may or may not have a degree in fine art, you may also hear these comments. Again, even though they may be able to paint an intricate, detailed landscape that simply blows you away, the seeming simplicity of acrylic pouring can be confusing.
For both types of people, it’s important to understand that these sorts of questions come from a place of misunderstanding, and it’s usually not an insult. Maybe they’d like to believe that they themselves could create something beautiful, or they legitimately want to learn more about what you do. There will be some that mean it in an insulting way, but in both cases, using these situations as a teaching opportunity is very valuable.
What they say: “I could do that.”
What you should say: “Yes, you could! This piece is unique to my style and vision, but I believe everyone has the potential to create, given the right tools. How long have you been painting?”
What this does: This says to the person that you aren’t going to insult them, but also tells them that you have crafted the piece out of your own experience and creative mindset. Asking them how long they’ve been painting also politely reminds them that experience is necessary to create something truly great.
What they say: “Acrylic paints are cheap.”
What you should say: “There are a lot of affordable paints that are great for experimenting, I agree. It really opens the door for artists of different skill levels and budgets to create. For this piece, I used professional grade acrylics designed to hold up to UV and time.”
What this does: Yes, acrylic paints can be cheap. There’s no sense in refuting that. But, pointing out that you use professional paints to create your piece will help them understand that there are professional grade acrylic paints on the market, and you’ve made an investment in your piece.
Now, if you have used craft acrylics and water to create your piece, it’s worth being honest here– especially since there’s a chance your piece will yellow or fade over time. Saying something to the effect of, “I was able to create a piece this beautiful out of less expensive paints, but the time I spent is invaluable” doesn’t lead your customer to believe you’ve used more expensive products than you have, but also lets them know that it isn’t always the price of the supplies that matters.
What they say: “My kid could do that.”
What you should say: “Absolutely, acrylic pouring is very accessible to children! A lot of research, time and effort has gone into creating this professional level piece, so while I agree that acrylic pouring in general offers something for everyone, I don’t believe anyone else could have created this specific piece.”
What this does: By agreeing with them, you’re telling them that yes, other people can art, but no one can create the pieces that you specifically create. After all, unless you’re directly imitating another artist or you’re a robot copy machine, it’s unlikely you could directly duplicate another poured piece.
It’s really easy to get defensive when someone suggests that there isn’t value in your art and you aren’t an artist simply because it looks simple. But, people don’t often understand that when someone makes something look easy, it isn’t always because it is– in fact, it’s usually because they’re very good at what they do. And when you know what you’re doing, you make it look effortless.
Meet that negativity with positivity and you’ll walk away from these interactions feeling just fine!
Sara Wagner is an author and artist from Upstate New York. She is the owner of Studio Blackwater and can typically be found covered in paint, cats, or her two young daughters. You can find her on Facebook and Instagram as @studioblackwater.
2 thoughts on “Combating Four Confidence Shaking Statements as A Fluid Artist”
This is so true!
I had one professional artist/teacher who had no idea how much went into an acrylic pour, and her point of view changed when she took a class from me. In fact it not only changed her point of view, she now creates acrylic pours on paper to expand her artwork onto a different level. She now sees it as ART, not just a simple craft. She was totally blown away during the class..it was great to see the expressions on her face and the comments she made at how she had enjoyed the class and now sees its potential. I belong to an art gallery and when I introduced this technique, people loved it, and still do when I bring in new pieces. Oh and for the expense…yea..my students now know what the differences are between cheap paints and expensive paints… and ALL of the other materials that it takes to create just 1 painting! LOL In fact the even told me I needed to charge more for my classes… I do now.. 🙂
When asked, “what is art”? Andy Warhol simply stated, “Anything you can get away with”.