This post is by Clint Watson, former art gallery owner and founder of BoldBrush, known for FASO Artist Websites, the leading provider of professional artist websites, the $38,000+ BoldBrush Painting Competition and the free daily art marketing newsletter, FineArtViews. As a self-proclaimed "art fanatic", Clint delights that BoldBrush's downtown San Antonio, Texas office is full of original art, as is his home office which he shares with his two feline assistants Kiara and Lilly. You can connect with Clint on Twitter, Facebook or his personal blog at clintavo.com
One of our core values at FASO is: We Know that Art Transforms Lives for the Better
What do we mean by that? It's not just some corporate "feel good" slogan we thought would look great on a poster in our offices. It's something we truly believe and have learned repeatedly in dealing with thousands of artists and art lovers for almost two decades.
Art Touches Viewers Deeply
When I was in the gallery business, I witnessed a huge range of reactions and emotions people had to the art.
One woman would come in every Saturday, pull up a chair, and stare at artwork for hours. Sometimes, she would be so moved she would sit in front of a piece for hours, occasionally weeping...connecting emotionally with the story the artist was telling. On the days she was moved to tears, I knew she would be taking a piece home.
People sometimes think only "rich" people purchase art. That's not true though. For those it touches, it becomes an important priority in their lives, regardless of socio-economics. I recall the oil rig worker who spent thousands upon thousands of dollars a year on his art collection. He spent a very significant portion of his income on art and would often drive eight hours from west Texas to attend gallery openings and meet the artists. He once told me that sitting in his living room full of paintings and enjoying each one was the only thing that helped him deal with the stress of his job.
I have a friend who I met as a gallery customer. He called from an advertisement we ran in an art magazine. I spent over a year having phone conversations with him, and learning exactly what type of art spoke to his soul. When the perfect painting finally arrived, I called him and he purchased it on a layaway plan that I extended to about 18 months. Although it was a small painting, it was a huge purchase for him. But I knew he was meant to have it. And to this very day, he still thanks me profusely for how much better his life is for having that painting. He (the customer) thanks me (the seller)....because art transforms lives for the better.
However, it's not just the lives of art collectors that are transformed: The very act of creating art transforms also transforms the lives of the artist for the better.
Creating Art is a Physical Craving
i wanna create by Hugh MacLeod, gapingvoid.com
"The Hunger will give you everything. And it will take from you, everything. It will cost you your life, and there’s not a damn thing you can do about it."
Artist Sarah Marie Lacy once said:
"I physically need to make art. Art isn't just a hobby for me. It's not something that I 'like'. It's an intense passion, an ecstatic love affair, with as much turmoil, frustration, exasperation and need as a forbidden liaison." – Sarah Lacy
Transforming lives for the better starts inside of the artist. Look at Sarah and Hugh. Simply because they have both listened to that voice inside of them that says, "I wanna create!", their lives are already better...and thus, the world is a better place....precisely because they've each shared a little piece of their soul with us through their art works.
Imagine Hugh stuck inside a cubical working on spreadsheets. Anyone who knows or follows him is laughing – that idea simply doesn’t compute...especially considering he calls many of his cartoons “cube grenades.” Or think about Sarah making smoothies all day instead of paintings....she’d be miserable (she actually did have a smoothie job...and she was miserable.)
Art Can Bring Light to Darkness
Victoria Radionova, an artist living in the Ukraine who's been worried for the future of her country and for those who live there, has recently gone from using words like "miserable", "powerless", and "no faith". To using words like "joy", "sunlight" and "kindness".
She wrote to us (responding to a letter we sent her) after having been away to volunteer for the Ukrainian Army :
"I could not even imagine that your lovely site would write about me! Thank you so much for everything... I ask you to believe me - Art is sense and purpose of my life... I dream true and constantly be with FASO during my entire life... we believe that God will help us in this (even though the weakness of my country). This is my faith greatly strengthened in the most recent times. Therefore, in spite of everything that happens, I believe in the Goodness and in the Lord's mercy. I even decided that for now in my paintings do not will be any sorrow. I decided to create paintings about the joy (with sunlight, with bright colors and optimistic). I really want to be with you all my life. Thank you for your constant kindness to me and to my Ukraine. A few months I was going through depression, but now everything has become different. You are so kind to me, and I'm so eternally grateful to you. To me so important the trust that now you have to me that it can not be overestimated. Without the continued support from your side, I do not know what would have happened with me in the future."
Art Gives Life Meaning in the Face of Tragedy
One of the artist commenters on my blog post "How do You Keep Going?" wrote this:
"When my daughter was 12 we took riding lessons and she fell in love with horses. She loved them so much she even took in rescues. 2/1/2008 she was taking a Dressage riding lesson...her horse spooked and she fell off hitting her head. She had surgery that was successful--they said. But 28 days later at the age of 39 she died of MERSA, never having woke up. You cannot know pain until you have lost a child. I had lost dogs, cats, horses and my Mom and Dad, but nothing hurts like the loss of a child......Without my art and my horses I could not go on."
This artist's art gave her a path that allowed her to press on, even in the face of the most horrible tragedy imaginable. Her art very well may have saved her life.
Art Transforms Lives For the Better
Those are just a few of the powerful stories we see here at FASO every single day. And we are, therefore, utterly convinced that Art Transforms Lives for the Better.
And this belief that Art Transforms Lives has become our number one core value.
So, how does FASO decide what markets to enter, what products to build, or what features to pursue? We ask ourselves: does it help people share art? Does it help enrich lives? Does it have the potential to take a powerful, emotion-inducing artwork and connect it with the right person? Previously, these were gut-level unconscious questions. They have always been in our DNA. The only change we've recently made is putting this guiding principle explicitly into words.
That's why we say on our crafted page, "Think about this: Somewhere, in this world, there is someone who, if they saw your art, would weep... or laugh... or be utterly enthralled. FASO is about empowering you, the artist, with the resources to make that moment happen."
BoldBrush/FASO Founder & Art Fanatic
1. We have not edited Victoria's quote for grammar. English is not her first language and we wanted to capture and share the raw joie-de-vivre expressed in her original words.
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