S00 #4: Understand and serve others

Art is a tool to communicate

Writers use words, we use imagery. The way we currently do it is about understanding ourselves. Art is a journey toward self discovery. This way of thinking can give us the confidence to go forward and improve upon our craft. It creates a unique voice based on our life experiences and world perception.

Though very valuable, it is a very one-sided point of view. In an environment where we must make a living out of our art, obsessing over ourselves is detrimental.

When your best friend comes at you to talk about his recent break-up, would you talk about your own love life? How everything’s great and your life’s the best? Instead, you’d probably ask them what happened, what you can do to help.
Same for art. It might be beneficial to take a step back and look around. Ask about that friend’s life a bit, get to know what they're going through.
Communication is two ways. The first principle is to listen to what the other party is saying. The second is to give a relevant answer.

What happens when there is no communication.

Why do people need art for?

I told you how to ask questions, but not what knowledge you should be looking for. It's all about why, why do they need an artist in the first place?

As artists, we think about the competition from our peers. How Artstation buries us deep under the community and trending pages.   We fight for standing out from the noise by adding more quality to our portfolios. It's a race to exceptional quality.

The truth is, for a company, hiring is a pain. They spend a huge amount of time, effort and money into getting someone in. Multiply that effort when it comes to relocate someone to the US or  EU with Visa applications. That person might not even like it there and leave after the 3 months trials. They might not be as reliable as previously thought. Even if they make it there, it takes more resources to bring them up to speed with the rest of the team. Hiring someone is an important move for a company.

Why would they risk it? There are so many other options to choose from if they needed art! They could buy assets from the Unity assets store or reorganize the existing art team. They could outsource the work to an art studio or hire a freelancer for a short period of time. They could scale down their game project or remove resource-hungry features. (Yes, you can add those to your list of competition btw.) People don’t buy art or hire artists because stars are aligned and the Cancer Era is about to start. They do so because they need that artwork or that artist to improve their lives. It’s critical.

Our competition is more than the other artists.

Workshop : Pay attention to people

Often, we're told to not be "dicks" to others, be respectful and kind. Such things need listening and curiosity toward the other party to work. Shifting our perspective from us to them helps revealing hidden needs where we can help. We're artists, we know how to draw, paint and convey emotion through the craft! Let's use it to help people around us:

  • Young couples getting into a new house and in need of something fresh to decorate their walls
  • Pet owners who want to remember their animal with all their quirks
  • Companies having difficulties hiring in-house due to their outcentered locations
  • Publishers in need of diversity for their upcoming tabletop game.
  • Specialized teams looking to save money over the production pipeline.

What if, as artists, we open up on others? Get a vision of reality not skewed by the biased version of our own perceptions? Look for areas where people actually need art and help them fill the gaps. We have all the skills we need, the only thing left is to listen.

And you, why do your audience buy your art? Let me know, and check out the most important factor I found in full time independant artists (and final post of S00)

Sources : If you're interested in learning from my sources they're all here

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