Questions to Ask from Artists
November 27th 2018
For collectors I have a list of questions you can and should ask from your artists. By your artists, I naturally mean those living artists, that you’ve aquired works from or those you are planning to aquire works from.
This list is not complete and does not represent a valid questionnaire to artists outside the media of painting
Here’s my top 5 questios to ask from artists:
What are your motives for painting? / Why do you still paint? -this gives you the opportunity to understand the artist’s inner persona. Most likely you will be rewarded with a deeper analysis on what’s literally behind the surface across the whole body of works. The result at best is that the artist's true character, views, values and their personal past are merged into an art of conversation. Artists who weren’t vocabulary about their works, are sometimes strongly debated after their death. By asking these directly, you have the opportunity to obtain this information, which is sometimes very personal and sensitive. These are the SECRETS possibly revealed.
What are the main subjects you paint about? / What subject(s) you mostly prefer painting right now? -as a sharp sighted collector, you may have gathered this information partly before hand. However the answers might surprise as sometimes artist’s favorite subjects or -works are not displayed publicly or easily accessible. You may also ask about the artist’s plans for future works. You might be happy to find that there are works that are/have been completely hidden from the public eye, making them more interesting and desirable. Ask if there are images of older works still available, perhaps directly from an artist’s home wall.
Where do you paint, what is your studio like? -this will leave you with a more hands-on-, personal- and concrete image of the artist as a craftsman. Artist’s atelier or studio is not just a work place, it’s an environment where each artist cherish and show their own preferences. Some of us put a high priority to the practicality of the studio whilst keeping an artsy ambiance. The artsy part of the equation, how ever, does not require much effort. Some keep it tidy as a paint shop but messiness and bohemian spirit is many times a norm. The freedom to splash, spray and experiment is suppressed if we need to hold back and think about tidiness. Messy is practical since it equals freedom. So, go ahead and ask about the studio and if possible, ask to see images from inside the studio. You may also ask why did the artist choose that particular space in which to create.
Your main sources of inspiration? What inspires you most? -inspiration is potentially everywhere for many artists. The key is to ask what inspires the most, in order to being rewarded with a more refined answer. Artists normally love to talk about inspiration as this is vital and core to the whole lifestyle, so be specific.
Do you require a muse and if so how do you find your muses? -some artists live and breathe muses. In reality a muse is much like inspiration but is still defined differently. A muse can thus be a man or a woman or a representative of another species, even an imaginary character. Having a muse outside one self is like having a spiritual business mentor: someone who knowingly or unknowingly injects ideas in different stages of maturity for the artist to be refined and pushes an artist forward mentally.
In the next post we will take a tour in my studio.