How, What and Why – Describing your art


 Photography Prints

There’s been a lot of discussion on the Fine Art America forums about labels, descriptions and even the use of “International Art English” but the bottom line with selling art is about making a connection with the viewer.  HOW and WHAT are easy, they deal with the mechanics of the art but it is the WHY that makes a personal connection with the audience.  Personal connections lead to sales.

The why is the purpose behind the art.  Not only is it a good way to let viewers into the artists mind, a bit of behind the scenes type view, but it also is a good exercise for the artist.  Are you working with purpose or just flailing around?  It is also a journey into discovery as you might see themes and values that you are expressing in your art that you didn’t even realize.  So much of art is from the subconscious, by doing a little self assessment of your work and expressing it to others, you’ll probably discover all kinds of motivations behind your work.


Simon Sinek proposed this idea on a Ted Talk titled: “How Great Leaders inspire Action.”

The “Why” is your reason for existing, the higher cause you believe in, the big problem you want to solve. In the speech he talks about Apple and why they’re different. There are many computer companies, and yet Apple is more successful then all of them.

The reason? They figured out their “Why.”

“We believe in challenging the status quo; we believe in thinking differently.”

Dell or HP do not have an inspiring “Why.”

Apple’s “How” is their design and engineering talent. They will challenge the status quo by using amazing designs and prioritizing simple user experience.

Their “What” is their products: iPhones, iPads, iMacs, and MacBooks.



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