Many artists know many artists. And that’s a good thing – for the common network. In the case of artists who are not yet well established on the market, this often means that in addition to personal friends and relatives, only or at least predominantly other artists visit the vernissage. But how do you actually get to other target groups? And which target groups could that be?
What is a target audience?
Any kind of art automatically attracts a certain kind of people because of a certain common characteristic. For example, all new grandparents could be a target group for portrait artists. Because these grandparents might want to have a portrait of their new grandchild. Of course, that doesn’t mean that your own art is only aimed at a single target group. Nor does it mean that all members of this target group actually like your kind of art. After all, it doesn’t mean that completely different people outside of the targeted target groups don’t feel addressed by your art – or a certain work of art. In general, however, it is definitely worth looking outside the box.
Why are target groups important?
Once you have identified target groups for your art, you can also target your advertising. First, consider where you can find your target group and how you can reach them with your appropriately targeted advertising. You can then align your advertising both in terms of content and style. You can even consider which exhibition locations are suitable for addressing this target group personally.
How do I find my target groups?
This is not a trivial question, because many different factors play a role. The art you make may attract a lot of attention, but due to the format sizes it is not suitable for the living room. Or maybe you already had a small fan base who liked to buy from you, but now that you are establishing yourself more and more and the prices continue to rise, your previous fan base can no longer keep up financially. When you have found a gallery, it becomes a little easier, because the gallery itself already has specific target groups in mind or already has a fixed circle of buyers and thinks that you fit in quite well. If you are not represented by any gallery, you have no choice but to simply try out different approaches with possible target groups.
How do I do this?
A good tip on my part is always: Do research with other artists(who might do something similar to you). Take a look at their websites & social media accounts, talk to them personally and ask them how they do it. The artist network mentioned above is good for this! Also, listen carefully when you talk to others about your art. This can be exhibition visitors, but also friends and relatives. Their feedback can give you valuable information about how your art works, or also about what it does. You should also have at least a basic basic knowledge of successful marketing. Because the best tips are of no use to you if you don’t implement them in such a way that others become curious. You can find some helpful information about self-marketing here in the Sommer arts Blog, when you click on “Marketing & Organization” in the category menu on the homepage
Art not only has to hang in museums, galleries and living rooms, it can also play a role in the workplace. But there is no job. If we want to find out how art and everyday working life are related in the , we have to differentiate. Certainly, for example, no nude photographs should hang in doctors’ treatment rooms. Or in a hectic office corridor, it doesn’t make sense to exhibit highly sensitive paper works. It is therefore worth taking a closer look at the respective work environment.
How do I choose the right workplace for an exhibition?
The following criteria can play a role: Is the art seen primarily by employees or also by the company’s customers? Should the art rather enrich the everyday life of the employees or does the company create a higher attractiveness for existing and new customers through the exhibited art? In the first case it is important how big the company is, in the second case the composition of the company’s target group.
These simple preliminary considerations will help you decide whether or not to offer an exhibition of your paintings or sculptures to a company. (Yes, exactly, you read that right: YOU offer it to the company and not the other way around!) In any case, I strongly advise against applying wherever you see art in the workplace or you can see it. In countless doctor’s offices and cafes there are pictures of artists who wish to be noticed – but unfortunately the opposite is often the case. When visiting a doctor’s office, for example, most patients primarily have their illness in mind and they often do not notice the art on the wall more or less than the selection of magazines in the waiting room.
Study of art in German offices
Interesting information on the subject of art and the workplace provides a recently published study carried out on behalf of OnePoll for the office equipment company Viking. The aim here was to find out how much art objects are already represented in the workplace and what people might hope for from art in the workplace. A small area of more or less general art knowledge was also asked to see to what extent these people had already dealt with art. In principle, the survey took place across all sectors, with a large proportion assigned to the education system or trade.
In summary, it can be said that most of the respondents do not find any art at work, but that the majority would definitely rate the presence of art there positively. In the opinion of the respondents, this could increase creativity and productivity and have a calming effect. A total of 72.9% explicitly want art in the workplace. The interviewers were “shocked” when they found that the majority of those questioned (especially the younger generations) could not assign a number of famous paintings to the respective creator (unfortunately no creator) despite their great interest in art. (As communicated to me in an email dated January 24th, 2019) Perhaps this also explains the fact that the majority of those questioned would prefer to see photo art or landscape paintings, because as a “non-art connoisseur” one is most likely to feel an emotional connection.
How can you use this knowledge for yourself?
Even where you don’t expect art experts to be, art unfolds its pleasant effect on people. So there are always new areas that you can tap into if you align your marketing to (d) a, perhaps new, target group. Do not hope for the passing customers of “just any” café, but rather exhibit on the walls of a larger company, where your works of art are seen every day by the same employees and superiors and maybe warm one or the other heart over the course of a few weeks. Of course, a café can also be a great exhibition space – if you don’t save time and money there, do proper advertising for yourself and organize a vernissage for you with a lot of regular customers.
Anyone who makes art must also be able to present themselves in writing. And if you write, you also have to think about language.In some cases, this can go far beyond simple questions of spelling and grammar. So today’s article is a little less about art itself than about linguistic questions. More precisely about inclusive language. Coincidentally, many years ago I completed a linguistic degree with a focus on linguistics. Even then, I was very interested in feminist linguistics and how women appear in language. I could never describe myself as a student, artist, resident, etc. It seems strange to me to use a masculine form for myself. I do not want to present the whole topic in detail at this point, nor do I want to discuss it in detail. Who is interested in I am happy to have a private exchange with me. Today I would just like to introduce you to a few possibilities how you can practice inclusive language – and I will partly evaluate these presented possibilities personally.
“For the sake of better readability, the use of male and female forms of speech is not used. All personal names apply to both genders. “
In this way or similar, I often read a note in front of longer texts in which the masculine form is used almost exclusively. Strangely enough, this option is also mostly used by male scribes. Personally, I consider this possibility to be the worst – if I want to accept it as such at all … It feels like a carelessly thrown note that resembles a legal disclaimer. To put it quickly, you don’t have to worry about it afterwards and you are fine. For me, this variant does not change anything in the subjective perception that I am missing feminine forms in the following and that I do not feel addressed.
“I was very happy about the large number of visitors to my vernissage.”
Just as I am addressing the “ladies AND gentlemen” in the introduction to a speech, for reasons of courtesy I consider it appropriate to address both genders specifically in other contexts if I want to reach them emotionally as an artist. Disadvantage: It can make some texts or individual formulations appear cumbersome and drawn out a lot, especially if several personal names are piling up one after the other.
“I was very happy about the many visitors at my vernissage.”
In the early phase of the discussion about the inclusive naming of both sexes, this form was found quite often. Today it is no longer really up-to-date, mainly because the women look like an appendage. I can therefore not recommend this option.
“I was very happy about the large number of visitors to my vernissage.”
Next came the use of the large Inner-I . First of all at universities, it already caught on in the 1990s. Today you see it less, mainly because the intellectual development and with it the practice of inclusion has taken another step forward (see next possibility).
“I was very happy about the many visitors at my vernissage.”
For some time this has Gender Gap (Engl. Gender = Gender Gap = gap) spread. One takes into account here that the terms “man” and “woman” are social genders, but alongside or in between there are many other possibilities for one’s own gender identity. If you want to find out more about it here:
“I was very happy about the many visitors at my vernissage.”
Another variant, which is not only very similar to the previous one, but is more or less the same, is the Gender Star or Asterisk. Since I only found out about this spelling in the last few months, I asked the blogger Sabine Küster , who uses it, if she can tell me more about it. I received the following reason: “… because the star-dusted also want to be taken.” Well, I have to say, that is the best argument for me and I will switch to starlets in the future! 🙂 (But there are probably other good reasons too … 😉)
“I was very happy about the many guests at my vernissage. There was a lot of laughter . Hilda Meier gave an engaging speech. Those who make art themselves (instead of “other artists”) could get a lot of ideas here. You felt good and stayed until midnight. “
After all, the German language offers a variety of completely different possibilities: “man”, possibly “woman”, generally formulated passive sentences, naming, paraphrasing, neutral formulations.) That requires – admittedly – a very conscious use of language and it may take time a little longer until the text is finished. If you want to be even more precise, you can turn “who” into “which”. There are many opportunities…
A last option is to use different variants (I personally prefer 2, 3, 6 and 7) alternately and thus ensure a good mixture. However, one should not switch back and forth between variants 3, 4, 5 and 6; it looks better here if you decide on a variant. In general, however, good text work requires that sentence structure and formulations are used in a varied manner. The desired effect is when the text creates a reading flow that does not even tempt the reader to think big about the form, but when it simply works through strong content.
The corona crisis is bringing artists to their knees
The Corona crisis has brought quite a few artists to their knees. The omission of exhibitions, sponsoring, fees and customers let some artists in the independent scene run out of steam.
Emergency aid programs do not work or are distributed with the watering can, here too the dry spell is long.
In my producer gallery BLACKOFFICE in Düsseldorf I have had to cancel three exhibitions and postpone them until next year. Postponed is not canceled, but the artists planned for the first half of 2021 will continue to be postponed. We can push, but not make up for everything. Likewise, we cannot make up for the loss of sales, discussions and contacts; many things that are missing cannot be made up for. We don’t catch up, we have to tie on, pick up and continue knitting.
Who invests in art?
The 2009 economic crisis had already had a negative impact on the art scene. Even there, the money was no longer easy, it was saved and invested in other things. Who invests in art?
People invest in art who want to use it to increase money. You buy art that promises an increase in value because we live in times of constant increase, and there seems to be no turning back.
Now there is a turning back! The corona crisis not only has Germany firmly under control, the whole planet has been covered by a pandemic, but the consequences for free artists are only known to a limited extent.
How can I help? A call to museums in cities and districts
Freelance artists are the caregivers of the cultural scene, they turn the wheel day after day – both before, during and after the crisis. Free artists are indispensable in a free, modern society.
I call on the museums of the cities and districts to exhibit their artists. Show your artists, open up your rooms and create space.
Offers artists a platform, opens museums and municipal galleries for their own artists, opens a virtual umbrella, a rescue umbrella for artists, unconditionally, but also as an alternative to the marginal and one-off cash support currently being discussed, which is distributed completely aimlessly and for purposes other than intended.
Don’t leave your cultural workers out in the rain!
How is that supposed to be possible? Quite simply, lists are requested from the cultural offices and professional associations from artists who work freelance, are members or have artist IDs. These artists are invited to present their work publicly in rooms that are usually not accessible to the majority of the artists. Museums and municipal galleries show artists from the city, district or region throughout Germany for a set period of time. This first event is financed by cities, the federal government, the state and sponsors. All exhibitions are freely accessible and with free admission.
Artists are an important part of society
Artists do not live and work for one-off payments, artists are not petitioners in offices, artists are an important part of society, an open society that, without culture and art, loses most of its education, understanding, ethics and zest for life.
Artists working to show their work need a platform to generate new ideas. Artists work in and for society.
Artists deserve more credit
If the artists are to be helped, then my suggestion would be a first step. The first step can be so simple and effective. This step would be recognition of a profession and a calling. Artists, free artists, live in a constant prejudice of bohemian and work-shy. Today’s artists are far from it. Marketing tools, social media and a society that demands more and more and is less and less enthusiastic call for a complete reorientation of the artists. Today the artist deals more and more with self-marketing, time for his own art and ideas often fall by the wayside. Exhibition venues are hotly contested, own projects and work spaces are becoming too expensive.
Artists live in a hamster wheel
Very few protagonists in the independent art scene receive invitations to exhibitions and participation in presentations, usually they have to torment themselves through long application phases and often pay for them. Exhibition rooms are rented out, art agents and brokers offer themselves at top prices. Times in which artists bring their works to museums, purchases are made and the artist lives happily from patrons are long gone and rarely to be found. The artist fights for recognition, attention and exhibition opportunities, he fights for studio space, a place in society and also a place in the museum. The latter is only granted to a few, because the museums block themselves, exhibit highly endowed artists and works and want to offer spectacular,
A rescue parachute for art!
Art should stay on the carpet in our time, a time full of existential fear, uncertainty and a lack of visions for the future. Take the fear away from artists, roll out the red carpet for them, for a society that is valued and envied for its culture and artists worldwide. Open the umbrella, the reserve for art, make room in your houses, offer space for art, space for artists and space for a society that is interested in its artists again.
The other day I was at a working meeting in preparation for a joint exhibition. I was greeted warmly and asked if I was well again. “Yes,” I was happy to report and then told a little more about my last year of the disaster, in which for six months I was not only unable to paint because of incredible pain, but also hardly could do anything else. And I also told about how much art gives my life a secure hold; how much I played a decisive role on the path to recovery during this long period of illness, in which I struggled with myself and my body. Everyone present was happy with me. But then something irritated me …
One in the group talked about a visit to a group exhibition where he had a conversation with one of the participating artists and then said: “I can no longer hear it! I am constantly getting to know new artists who tell me how they found art through art therapy.”
What is behind this statement?
Is it the tiredness of personal fate stories? Is it an aversion to strangers getting directly personal? Is it the claim that art has to be art and not “just” a therapy result? Is therapy art art at all?
I would like to bring some clarity to the discussion here and also dispel prejudices.
– Is it the tiredness of personal fate stories?
Most of the time, stories are particularly interesting if they are either unique and therefore special. When you experience something that you rarely come into contact with in your own life. When you have the feeling that they are taking place far away from you and then you develop a certain kind of childlike admiration for the protagonist. If there is also very special art involved, the WOW effect is even greater. Perhaps the best example here is Vincent van Gogh. We love his art, we love his story.
Or stories are particularly interesting when, on the contrary, they are very close to you. When you recognize yourself or something of yourself in it. If you can even learn something from them, if at best they give you courage.
Conversely, this means that a story is of no interest if it is not unique but arbitrary. Or if, instead of a role model, I see a chilling example in it.
– Is it an aversion to strangers becoming directly personal?
Yes. You can answer this question very quickly. Because you don’t always want to deal with personal fate when you actually “only” wanted to visit an exhibition. Or maybe it’s the artist himself who at first glance just doesn’t seem likeable enough to get personal right away. Perhaps the intention of visiting the exhibition was also to distract oneself from one’s own problems and not to come across similar life issues that one has to deal with oneself. Anyway, it might just be the wrong story in the wrong place at the wrong time.
– Is it the claim that art has to be art and not “just” a therapy result? Is therapy art art at all?
These questions are the hardest to answer because they are the least trivial. What is art Opinions differ on this. While some argue with “talent” and “proper training”, others speak of “art for everyone” and “art as a way of life”. I think these are two very different approaches. And I think that in most cases both more or less flow together and you don’t always – maybe never? – can separate from each other.
Art as medicine
Many artists describe the beneficial effects of art or the creation of art. Because, in contrast to handicraft, art is not primarily a purely mechanical action aimed at a specific and reproducible result. The creativity and the creative process have a lot to do with the unique nature of the artist. This inner being can be healthy or sick (in the pathological sense!). Art can therefore in principle also be created by a person suffering from (perhaps depression). And those who are sick may also benefit from art therapy. Whether this therapy then serves as the initial spark for a subsequent artistic career should not play a role in the subsequent assessment of the works of art, I believe.
Praise to contemporary psychotherapy
I think it is much more important to positively emphasize how extremely effective therapists are nowadays! Anyone who comes out of therapy as a strengthened person and has found something (in this case about art) that has a lasting positive effect on further life has gained a lot! How nice that there are so many and when so many talk about it that some people find it “annoying”!
Whether in the end “art” arises or just “occupational therapy”, this question is superfluous in my opinion, since it does not depend on art therapy. Art and art therapy are two different concepts that can, but do not have to, complement each other. It depends on the individual case. So I refer back to the original question that humanity has been asking itself for centuries and what it loves to argue about: Is this art or can it be eliminated?
An exciting new arts initiative, The Banality of Evil in our Daily Lives Art Prize , has been launched by an independent art collective.
The project aims to raise awareness of thoughtlessness that has unwittingly crept into our everyday lives. A unique opportunity for artists around the world to submit works that explore the lines between good and bad, right and wrong.
The text and the invitation to tender were sent to us by the artist SaySay.love. Please send all questions about the competition to the contact address given in this text.
The philosopher Hannah Arendt as inspiration
The theme of the competition is based on the writings of Hannah Arendt, the famous philosopher and political scientist ( > Wikipedia ). Arendt reported on the trial of Adolph Eichmann, the former head of the “Central Office for Jewish Emigration”, who was involved in organizing the expulsion and deportation of Jews and who was jointly responsible for the murder of an estimated six million people. Essentially, Arendt posed the question: Can one do bad without being bad?
Her conclusion is: “As cruel, cold-hearted and in their extent monstrous as the deeds for which Eichmann was responsible, so common, so banal were the person who represented these deeds. She called this thoughtlessness the “banality of evil”.
Goal of the competition
The aim of the competition is to show how we have become victims of thoughtless behavior in our daily life and to call on all artists to participate and to express their hearts and thoughts in their works of art.
The artist call presents a challenge to communicate what has never been communicated before and to create a platform for groundbreaking ideas that are brought into our community.
The initiator of the project, SaySay Love , suggests that art can change the mind and heart and has the power to dissolve the inhumanity and destruction we create through thoughtless behavior.
Banality of Evil in our Daily Lives art competition
We can all be victims of thoughtlessness in our daily life.
The Banality of Evil in our Daily Lives art competition is an open competition that creates the opportunity for artists to express their view of the banality of evil in daily life. The artist call presents a challenge to communicate what has never been communicated before and to create a platform for groundbreaking ideas that are brought into our community.
We invite all artists worldwide to submit their work and use their art as a means and instrument of a global language to communicate hopes and thoughts and thus create a new vision for our world.
In addition to providing inspiration, the aim of the competition is to show solutions that deal with what is probably the most important and current crisis in our society: the loss of our humanity.
The public selects the best 40 works of art
The Banality of Evil in Our Daily Lives is a one-of-a-kind arts competition that puts the public at a high level.
As a public project, the audience is invited to moderate the selection of the first 40 artworks by choosing and sharing the presented messages in our Banality of Evil in our Daily Lives social media platforms.
From these 40 works of art, the finalists are nominated by the elected jury members. The finalists will receive prize money of US $ 2,000 and are invited to present their work at an exhibition in Berlin in May 2020.
Artists whose works have been selected for the competition will receive a certificate of participation
All selected artists are published on our social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter as part of an international campaign
The 10 best works in each of the 4 categories that receive the most likes by the public then go through the selection process by the jury. All 40 works chosen within this process will be part of the final exhibition in Berlin, Germany.
The works of the 40 best artists will be published in a book that documents the course of the project
Only the 4 winners of each category will be invited to Germany to be part of the final exhibition and to receive the art award.
Registration for the competition
Works of art are accepted in the following disciplines: painting & drawing, photography & digital media, sculpture and performance art.
The call for entry will take place from November 1st, 2019 to March 15th, 2020.
For more information and the registration process, visit our website:
The theme of the competition was initiated by the visionary artist and social activist SaySay.Love . SaySay.Love was inspired by the ideas of Hannah Arendt, the famous philosopher and political scientist, and immediately felt a deep connection to the problem she described:
The idea that the worst deeds in human history were not carried out by fanatics or sociopaths, but by ordinary people who only acted according to instructions and felt their thoughts and actions as “normal” and did not question them.
Can a person do evil without being angry? That was the essential question that Hannah Arendt asked herself when she was responsible for the New Yorker in the trial against Adolph Eichmann, the former head of the “Central Office for Jewish Emigration”, who was involved in the organization of the expulsion and deportation of Jews the killing of an estimated six million people was reported.
Hannah Arendt does not see Eichmann as a man who harbored the desire to murder or wreak destruction, but as someone who carried out his profession and the tasks associated with it thoroughly and according to instructions. His private environment described him as social and inconspicuous. He did not correspond in any way to the image of a criminal and was the opposite of any philosophical theory of evil.
In a totalitarian system, therefore, thoughtlessness is enough to nurture the greatest crimes in history – a thoughtlessness that she called the “banality of evil.”
As a freelance artist and therefore self-employed, you have the advantage of not having to follow the instructions from above. But you also have the disadvantage that you always have to reinvent the wheel on your own. So I always like to research with others when I’m interested in a new topic. As “Artist 4 Future” looking for ideas for the good of our planet, the search is arduous, as there is hardly any material to date. But artists also leave an ecological footprint.
So I’m all the more pleased to have met Tom Albrecht from Berlin . On November 22nd, 2019 the workshop “How can artists reduce their ecological footprint?” Took place in the project room of the Group Global 300 – Gallery for Sustainable Art in Berlin . The topic is their everyday practice, the choice of their materials, their travel and transport. Moderation: Tom Albrecht ” . I couldn’t travel myself, but Tom kindly made the results available to me.
Recommendations for working in the studio
When looking through the handwritten notes I realize: Wow! So many ideas already! And completely inspired, I can think of a lot more! The task now is to formulate a few solid recommendations from the initially disordered ideas, all with the intention of generating less waste and working more sustainably.
The following lists & recommendations of what you as an artist can do to reduce your ecological footprint are based on Tom’s notes from the workshop (see above):
Generate less rubbish
In general, nothing to be thrown away is an ecological quality that must be achieved and maintained.
If you work with paints from tubes: only press as much on the palette as you really need.
Think carefully about where in your art you can save material or do without it. Or maybe you can replace certain material with common everyday objects or found objects
This also applies to tools such as old T-shirts as rags.
If your art doesn’t allow you to do without certain material so much, then you can discover other strategies for saving:
A good cleaning and care of the used material comes first. For example, you don’t have to buy a new pallet every six months.
Also take care of your screw collection and don’t buy a new pack of 10 every time you visit Boesner. Do you even need 10 right away? Or maybe 2 or 3 are enough, which you can get individually at the hardware store?
Do you have material or equipment that you no longer need? Offer it to your artist colleagues!
Do you need devices that you don’t have yourself? From which colleagues can you borrow them?
You could even build up a network and a real stock of materials / equipment for visual artists to swap and borrow.
Also keep older works: maybe you can still sell them? Or exhibit again? Or recycle it for a new work of art?
If you offer workshops: Give people a well thought-out list of materials in advance. Is everything really necessary? Can you perhaps differentiate between “important” and “unimportant”?
An association with a model character in terms of sustainability
A really great example of the sustainable (re) use of artist material is the work of KUNST-STOFFE Central Office for Reusable Materials eV The Berlin association collects surplus art and culture that is no longer needed in a large warehouse and then sells them cheap to artists. A look at the website shows the great ideas of the initiative and a well thought-out concept. Hopefully there will be imitators in other cities soon!
protect the environment
Avoid using solvents when cleaning the brushes if possible. Alternatively, you can clean them first with sunflower oil and then with gall or curd soap. It is also best to pre-clean them before they come into contact with waste water, as the pigments can contain harmful substances such as heavy metals.
For your sewage drain, get a settling device at the hardware store that catches coarse dirt particles.
If possible, don’t use pigments that contain lead or cadmium at all.
Dispose of your garbage properly: Empty containers or packaging go in the yellow bin.
But be careful: Solvents and paint residues with harmful ingredients belong in the residual waste or, if necessary, in the special waste. Check with your local waste disposal company.
If you have a choice: buy the product without plastic. For example, choose a wood fiber board (MDF) instead of a lightweight foam board (KAPA).
Protect your own health
When painting with oils and acrylics, it is advisable to wear latex gloves. If your skin is sensitive to latex, you can still wear cotton gloves underneath.
Egg tempera and gouache paints are generally more compatible with the environment and nature.
Tom intends to hold more workshops on the topic. Perhaps you also have good ideas that you have already successfully implemented? Then we would be happy about it here in the comments! More extensive guest contributions are also welcome here in the Sommer arts Blog. Or maybe you just have a good tip on where we can do more research.
On your website you can find a quote from José Ortega Y Gasset: “The work of art is an imaginary island surrounded by reality.” What does that mean for your art?
The image of the island clearly describes the relationship between reality and art. Even if the work of art does not appear to contain any references to reality, there is usually a more or less direct reference to current aspects of the reality that surrounds me. The work of art itself creates its own reality, which, like an island, is surrounded by reality, but not part of it.
“Equating aesthetics with beauty is an invention of the modern age”
In 2002 you did your doctorate on “Aesthetics” and examined the neurobiological foundations of aesthetic perception. What makes a work of art aesthetic for the human brain?
In order to answer the question, I must first explain the term aesthetic : In philosophy, aesthetic means nothing other than perceived through the senses. In this respect, every work of art conveyed through one of the senses is by definition aesthetic. Equating aesthetics with beauty, on the other hand, is a modern invention. If the question is aimed at this modern term, I would have to rephrase it as what makes a work of art beautiful for the brain
The brain follows the principle of similarity and deviation and provides a highly individual catalog of objects to be compared and the willingness and flexibility to follow its associations also varies greatly from person to person, depending on general cognitive abilities, education and personal biographical character. Beauty can lie in the similarity to the familiar as well as in the deviation from it. The quality and complexity of the respective associations determine the aesthetic experience of the viewer. In the history of science after the 19th century, the concept of aesthetics is expanded to include the entire range of properties that determine how people evaluate perceived objects.
How do the insights from your research influence your art?
The central theme of semiotics is the relation between sign and meaning. In my work, I am interested in how meaning arises. What information content does an object have in different contexts and how can it be charged with meaning? In this context, the work of art is an extremely complex symbol and the engagement with art is an individual attempt to read this symbol and to relate it to the entire arsenal of experience that is available to a person. This applies to the artist who creates a work, but also to the viewer who deals with the work of art.
“For me, art is a medium to raise questions and to deal with them openly”
You write on your website that you often start your work with a question of form or content. Does a work of art have to have a message for you, i.e. provide an answer to this question or at least contain an attempt at an answer?
Very often a new job actually begins with a more or less specific problem. For me, art is a medium to raise questions and to deal with them openly. Only in rare cases does it actually produce permanent answers, but that is not the primary goal either. The task of finding answers falls equally to the viewer. As an artist, I don’t see myself in the position of communicating generally applicable answers or even messages. I only let viewers participate in my work on certain questions.
You studied linguistics. How important is it for an artist to be able to explain their work?
I think a work of art should make sense even without explanations from the artist or someone else. Nevertheless, you have an advantage, of course, if you as an artist are able to explain your work or, better, your way of working and thematic focuses. However, I would definitely not want my explanations to lead to the viewer’s area of association narrowing in accordance with my specifications. Ultimately, a work of art means nothing at all without the viewer’s perception and thinking.
As an artist you have already worked with the media of painting, photography, printmaking and artist books. Which medium fascinates you the most and why?
In fact, I work simultaneously with all media and use them for different problems:
When looking for patterns, I work with printing techniques to examine the interplay of individual elements and materials. Digital photography is superior to human perception when it comes to extracting details from familiar contexts. The artist’s book is the most complex and best suited medium for conceptual work, as it allows meaning to be coded simultaneously on different levels. The object-like nature of the artist’s book allows for a variety of forms of presentation and, by touching the work of art, gives the viewer a more direct and free access to materials and reading channels than traditional media such as painting or graphics.
Where and when can you see your pictures next?
Some of my screen prints as well as works on wood and canvas can currently be seen in the Hofgalerie in Friedeburg.
Drawing faces is very challenging in itself. It is therefore absolutely recommended to learn a construction model first. That is, a method of drawing faces with the same proportions. You first need an approach to orientate yourself in the hustle and bustle of all the facial features.
However, it becomes difficult if you want to deviate from this standard proportion model. Because you have to do that at some point in order to draw appropriate portraits and unique characters. The nose, the lips, the eyes, the ears – they are a unique selling point for everyone.
Drawing characteristic facial features and recognizing individual proportions in the face is a difficult but worthwhile undertaking. When you learn to recognize characteristic facial features in every person, I think that the greatest fun in drawing the human face begins.
Well, how do you learn to see faces more consciously and to customize your characters. Not by changing the hairstyle or adding different accessories to the figure, but by deliberately filling every part of the face with character.
Here are 3 tips that have helped me a lot in developing from drawing static faces to being a quick portrait draftsman of exciting quick portraits, which is in demand throughout Germany:
Tip 1: Construct your head drawing dynamically
What I mean by that is that you stop constructing too much and learn to realign yourself with each face. Is the head more square or round or more triangular or egg-shaped? Take your time at the beginning to look at the head and then choose shapes to match the head and build up your face drawing.
This will prevent you from starting with the same head shape at the beginning of your drawing. Most often, ovals or circles are recommended in drawing books or online instructions. If you start with the same frame on each face, it will be very difficult to break away from that frame. Therefore, each time start with a different frame, suitable for the person you are drawing or the character you are developing.
For this reason I build my drawing courses with three different characters. Mr cuboid, Mr circle and Ms triangle. These characters have completely different head shapes, eyes, lips, noses, and ears. As a result, my participants learn different approaches to drawing faces right from the start and it is easier for them to develop more individual characters.
Tip 2: First concentrate on individual face elements such as nose, ears, lips and eyes
Drawing distinctive facial features is really difficult and complex. So it’s good to break this complexity down into smaller chunks.
For example, first draw ears. One or more weeks. Even if it sounds boring! But it just takes focus and practice until you can consciously see how fine and different ears are. Each ear has its own character!
I wrote my own blog entries about drawing ears , eyes , lips and noses with strong character. There you can see how these individual facial components can be further divided.
It is interesting that everyone pays attention to something different, especially the face. So when you meet someone new. For me, for example, it’s my ears and forehead. The first thing I pay attention to is that, hehe. No idea why! A friend pays great attention to eyebrows. How about you? It is best to start your exercises with the part of the face that you find most interesting and draw your way through the entire face. After that, it will be much easier for you to draw a full face.
If you have a hard time focusing on exercises and sticking to them consistently, drawing classes are recommended. There are sure to be drawing meetups in your area or take an online drawing course. In a group with like-minded people and preferably with a motivating course instructor, it is simply easier to practice. I used to enjoy going to drawing courses. Today I love giving some myself. 🙂
Tip 3: Dare to draw real people live
It cost me so much to overcome! And I have to say, I’m still nervous today when I draw people live. Although I have to say that I usually do it in front of a lot of people at an event and get paid very well. There is also other pressure. What I want to say is: it’s hard! Except you don’t mind and you can just draw someone without worrying about their opinion. I don’t have this serenity! And I don’t think a lot of amateur and professional artists either.
For me it is the fear of “failing”, of seeing the disappointment of the person portrayed if he does not recognize himself in the picture or that my client is dissatisfied. If you draw someone live, you get the feedback immediately. Whether you are ready for it or not.
BUT no practice has improved me more effectively in drawing faces than live portraying!
If you’re out with friends or family, ask if you could draw them briefly. And scribble off! No matter how bad (in your eyes) the drawing gets! Draw your way through this uncertainty and you will definitely be rewarded.
The feedback you get right away is super valuable. “I don’t have that big a nose!” Or: “My eyes look completely different!” Such statements make you take a closer look and perceive elements on your face that you hadn’t even noticed before. Others see differently and you can tap into a lot for your vision!
It takes a series of live portraits to develop a certain routine. My old Russian drawing master told me that in her drawing school she had to hand in 75 quick portraits every week in addition to the normal drawing lessons. Over several years! I just want to make you aware that after 10, 20 or 100 portraits have been drawn, you don’t have to be sad if it doesn’t work out yet.
Drawing faces just takes time. In order for you to create this number of portraits, it is extremely important that you do not lose the fun of drawing. Therefore, draw what you like, practice in groups with like-minded people and keep finding out about the techniques and methods of drawers who are where you want to be with your drawing skills.
Who is Maxim Simonenko ?
Hehe, maybe you’re wondering who I am? And why am I writing all this? Well, I love to draw people and especially faces!
I have been a freelance artist for 12 years. Today I have specialized in versatile portrait drawing. As a quick draftsman, I draw live at trade fairs, conventions, but also at weddings and birthdays. I really enjoy talking to people and drawing them in the process.
I used to work as a draftsman in the games and film industry. But I had to realize that it wasn’t for me. I like to write, I like to record videos, take drawing classes, educate myself, and travel. As a permanent employee or a freelancer for companies, I can’t fully live out my life.
Stamps are a real favorite material in many creative areas! How about if you could make your own stamps? This is not only easy on the wallet, but also gives you the freedom to stamp your own ideas and motifs! We’ll show you how you can easily make your own stamps and what options you have with it.
What for self-made stamps anyway?
What can you even use self-made stamps for? You might ask yourself. The possibilities are so many! Especially when you are not restricted by the motifs of ready-made stamps, but keep creating your own ideas and pictures.
For example, you can use stamps for mixed media techniques and give your images exciting structures, effects and shapes. Stamps are also popular in art journaling and make it easy for you to create varied backgrounds. You can apply stamps with watercolors, gouache or watercolors , with acrylics, inks, stamp paint or all kinds of craft paints to create pictures on paper and canvas.
Stamps are also suitable for embellishing cards, decorating bookmarks, designing wrapping paper, envelopes, coasters, sachets or tags. Stamps, combined with textile inks, are also used again and again on textiles and create t-shirts, dresses, colorful shirts and blouses, tablecloths or placemats in no time at all.
You see – there are hardly any limits to your imagination to create real works of art and unique items with your self-made stamps!
And how does it work now – make stamps yourself?
There are various options for enjoying self-made stamps. You probably know the simplest one: the classic potato printing , which was very popular in the 1970s. But there are even more effective methods with which you can create your motifs more precisely – and which, above all, produce durable stamps (without smearing …).
If you want to make it particularly easy for yourself with the material, a simple eraser is sufficient – you will definitely find it at home in any drawer 🙂
Draw your motif on the eraser with a pencil and then cut the lines a few millimeters with a craft knife. You should also remove a little bit of the eraser around the outer lines.
You can then glue the carved eraser to a wooden stamp handle so that it sits comfortably in your hand. You can buy the wooden stamp handles and simply attach the eraser with a little glue.
Our favorite method, however, is a different one: designing stamps out of foam rubber ! Because foam rubber offers you some wonderful advantages:
The material is very soft and makes it easy for you to cut even complex shapes to size.
Foam rubber is available in large and small formats, so that you can also design really large stamps yourself, without restrictions (you will hardly find a giant eraser, however).
Foam rubber is durable and can be used for stamping with different colors as well as many times.
Last but not least, stamps made of foam rubber are inexpensive to manufacture.
Foam rubber stamps: It’s easy
To make a stamp out of foam rubber, you also draw your motif here with a pencil and then cut it out accordingly. You can trace the lines within the motif with a pencil or ballpoint pen so that they leave deeper marks in the foam rubber and are then also visible as lines when stamping.
When your motif is ready, you paint it and stamp it on the paper or surface of your choice. You can stamp individual motifs or create a whole pattern by stamping the same motif several times. Combine stamping with your own paintings or other creative techniques and let your ideas run free!
… and the ink pad?
A very simple ink pad, if you work with liquid colors, you can conjure up quickly and easily from a household sponge. Simply coat the sponge with acrylic paint – and you can use the sponge as an ink pad!
Would you like to learn more about self-made stamps?
In her video course ” Colorful Stamping “, Birgit Bruhns shows you what is important when making your own stamps, what you have to pay attention to and how it all works step by step .
Here you will learn everything about the production and use of self-made stamps made of foam rubber, learn helpful tips and tricks to work like a professional and create the most beautiful works of art
Birgit also shows you how to work with different types of paper and how you can continue to creatively design your stamp images.