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How to Explain Abstract Art to My Collectors Unveiling the Canvas

24” x 36” “Structure with Context”

Abstract art is what the onlooker feels within in tandem with the artists portray of their inspiration. When I paint, I use a combination of the intricate dance of colors, shapes, and forms which invites my viewers into a discussion of subjective interpretation. Many times, I have incredible engaging conversations with those that collect my art about why I painted my artwork and soon the conversation migrates to WHY they bought my painting. There was this moment my inspiration became entwined with their memories.

By allowing my collectors to express what they see and feel when they look at my paintings, I am able to approach the discussion with a delicate balance of knowledge, insight, and open-mindedness at the fact that at some point my art becomes their story.

Whether you're a collector of abstract art or a newcomer to the world of learning about abstract art, here are some valuable tips I can share to help you navigate these conversations with your artist.

1. Embrace Subjectivity: Abstract art thrives on the awareness of subjectivity. I encourage my collectors to explore their emotional responses and personal interpretations while experiencing looking at my paintings. Rather than just answering their question of why I painted the painting, I guide them toward reflecting on how the artwork makes them feel and the thoughts it evokes. This is critical. This is one reason I hesitate to title my paintings as do not want to get in the way of this reflection of the collector. I will share stories of my inspirations to help them get in touch with their stories.

2. Study the Artist: I encourage my collectors to know about my background, inspirations, and artistic journey so they know who I am. I share my portfolio, past works, and any available interviews should they want to learn more. This information can help collectors understand the evolution of my style and the underlying reasons that have informed my paintings.

3. Visual Vocabulary: If we are able, I love to discuss concepts such as color theory, composition, texture, and the interplay of positive and negative space. By understanding these elements, collectors can begin to decipher my intentions and techniques.

4. Engage Curiosity: I always encourage my collectors to ask questions and voice their opinions as this tells me the direction they are going. By fostering an environment where curiosity is celebrated, I can open the door for deeper exploration and dialogue. Discussing questions like "What emotions does this piece evoke for you?" or "How do you interpret the relationship between these colors?" can lead to thought-provoking exchanges.

6. Personal Connection: As so much of my work is from my personal story, I will share my personal stories and encourage the collector to reflect on their own journey with abstract art. Whether it's a piece that initially puzzled you but grew to be a favorite, or a work that resonated deeply due to a personal experience, these stories can humanize the art and make it more relatable.

7. Analyze Techniques: By talking about my techniques and processes, how I employed various mediums, layering techniques, brushstrokes, or mark-making to achieve a particular effect, I allow further discussion. Many times, collectors are triggered by a thought, or memory within themselves that they feel during our discussion. This analysis can deepen collectors' appreciation of abstract art.

8. Multiple Perspectives: I like to remind people that there's no right or wrong way to interpret abstract art. Different viewpoints can lead to a richer understanding and appreciation of the artwork.

9. Patience and Reflection: Abstract art often requires time for contemplation while the onlooker starts to engage with their own memories and emotions. I encourage collectors to spend time with the artwork, revisiting it at different moments to notice how their perceptions change as they start to feel emotions.

10. Encourage Collectors to Trust Themselves: Ultimately, it is the experience of the collector with my artwork that is important. I like to remind collectors that their own interpretations and emotional responses are valid and meaningful. Abstract art invites a personal journey of discovery, and there's value in trusting one's instincts and feelings.

Engaging in conversations about abstract art with my collectors is an opportunity to celebrate the boundless creativity of human expression. By fostering an environment of curiosity, empathy, and open-mindedness, we can embark on a shared exploration that deepens the appreciation for abstract art.

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