Insulting Artists

Insulted Jewish Boy Ivan Nikolaevich Kramskoy

Artists are a sensitive bunch. Recently, the following list of “10 Things NOT to Say to An Artist or Crafter” has been circulating on the Internet. These comments may be considered insensitive or crass to those of us in the art field. If a potential buyer were to say some of these things to you, you might have a less-than-polite reply. Take a gander:

Art Insults

Courtesy California Arts Council

It’s an interesting list. Does anything in particular strike you? I’m sure you’ve heard at least some of these comments before, but did you take full advantage of the opportunities when you heard them?

“Opportunities?” you say. Absolutely! I saw the same list – and shared it on Social Media – several days ago. But, a friend and fellow artist, Col Mitchell, recently wrote a blog post that gave the ANSWERS to such comments – brilliant, isn’t she? Actually, the clever responses were the “brain children” of JM Amprinoz of Small Web Strategies. See his clever responses here.

I realize that many people are curious and not sure how to approach the artist. It’s true, we have a reputation for being a mysterious, strange bunch of people – and we’re all so different from one another. What are they supposed to say? I’m just happy they reach out and say SOMETHING! It gives us the opportunity to educate, teach some appreciation for our craft, give resources to find and learn more about art or direct people where they can find art education for themselves or their children. Do we, in our insecurity and doubt, scold them?

So, what are your thoughts about some of these comments? When I hear them, I usually attribute the comments to ignorance or lack of tact. I don’t think people intentionally hurl insults to complete strangers, not unless they’re weed farmers. (click to Tweet)   I welcome comments and stories about your experiences, responses and outcomes. Let’s all learn to field these questions in a positive way that builds thoughtful bridges with the public and promotes the art world with respectful curiosity.




Michelle Andres is a writer, artist and coach who nudges, nay, shoves, her clients in the direction of their dreams, helping them to overcome non-productive behaviours and enjoy more success in their lives.

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