The Origin Story


    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 San Antonio, Texas office is full of original art, as is his home office. You can connect with Clint on TwitterFacebook or his personal blog at



    As we all adjust to the new normal after having been sequestered in our homes, we're all finding alternate ways to make the most of our time.  So let's ask ourselves:  How can we use this time to get better? How can we be of service and use?   I know, without a doubt that great art is being created around the world at this very moment.  Perhaps by you!  Our entire team is focused 100% on whatever we can do to help you market and sell more art.  With that in mind, we're focusing FineArtViews on sales and marketing ideas more than ever before.  The following article was selected from our archives as it seems quite timely in the current situation and provides ideas we think you can use to improve your own art marketing.



    Origin stories are important.  

    There's a reason that Marvel and DC keep churning out superhero origin stories.  They're one of the most interesting parts of a person's journey.  It's not that mind-blowing to see Batman catch a bad guy, we already know that Batman's a bad ass.  But it's compelling to watch a young Bruce Wayne struggle to overcome his fears, fumble in early attempts to become a hero, and finally, to re-invent himself into a mythical figure who can protect Gotham.

    The best origin stories are told in a way that can become a myth.  When that happens, they can almost be reduced to one or two sentences. Batman's might be, "Helpless boy sees parents murdered.  Vows never to let that happen to anyone, ever again. So he becomes Batman."

    Companies have origin stories as well.  Sometimes famous ones.

    Example: "Flight gets cancelled, so one passenger charters a plane and sells tickets to all the other passengers."  

    Just from that, most people know that I'm talking about Virgin Atlantic.  I'm sure the real truth behind Virgin Atlantic's founding is more convoluted, and more messy, but that sentence captures and expands upon the pivotal moment.  It transforms the story into a myth.

    Artists also have origin stories.  And you should have one in your bio.  Your fans want to know why you became an artist, how you became an artist, and what obstacles you overcame along the way.  

    Here's an example: George Anthony Morton, a FASO customer and a BoldBrush sponsored artist, has a compelling origin story that grips the reader.  This is what I discovered when reading the bio on his website:

    As the firstborn of 11 children to a 15 year-old mother, I was raised in an unsupervised and drug-infested environment. My childhood and youth landed me on the streets.   I dropped out of school, got arrested for selling drugs at 19, and wound up serving 11 years in federal prison as a first-time offender. Rather than simply bide my time in prison to await the day I could return to the hopelessness that pervaded my childhood, I made a conscious choice.

    My life would change for the better - the one escape that had [always] felt real came from sketching. Art had a tug on my soul that felt authentic. So I decided to find a way, even while in prison, to develop my love for art. I read and studied everything I could about the craft of art and artists. I also started creating portraits of people on the “inside.” My growing reputation as a prison portraitist created a space within which I could study, grow, and stay out of trouble.

    By staying out of trouble, I was able to gain supervised release. Determined to make painting my life’s work, I headed to Atlanta, GA, and the miracles began to unfold. A highly regarded artist took me under his wing. A group of local painters and others took an interest in me and raised funds to support my studies.   I was accepted into the first class of 7 students by the New York branch of the Florence Academy of Art. Under the tutelage of some of America’s leading painters at the Academy, I have learned that my bedrock artistic interest lies in that place where perfected technique meets the individual soul. My journey, which has been richly rewarding, has been unique and full of challenges.

    I now recognize with conviction that beauty can emanate from darkness as well as light.

    When I read that, it sounds like George is a superhero.  And he is - a source of inspiration - a superhero of art.  

    So let's try turning George's story into a myth:  "Young man living on the streets ended up in prison. In that pivotal moment, he turned to his love of art and began his artistic journey, culminating in becoming a successful professional fine artist. While bringing beauty into this world through his paintings, he also provides hope & inspiration to others who are still in the darkness."

    We all have an origin story.  Sometimes it takes some thought and some work to find that "pivotal moment" around which the origin story can be built.  So I'll give us all some homework.  Think about your origin story.  It's there, you just have to tell it the right way.

    I'll take a crack at ours too.  

    Today, BoldBrush works with tens of thousands of artists to  further our mission of empowering artists to inspire the world.  But it started as a simple spark of an idea and a conversation.  

    So next time, I'll tell our origin story, and I hope you'll be ready with yours!


    Until next time, please remember that Fortune Favors the Bold Brush.




    Clint Watson



    PS:  Feel free to share your origin story here in the comments.

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