Monday, 8 June 2009

What on earth do you look like?

Does it matter what I look like? Is it important? Does it matter what sort of person I am and how I appeal to people?

I'm beginning to think it might.......................

Last week I had quite a bit of correspondence going back and forth between me and the library where I am hoping to exhibit next year. I'd met the woman I'm corresponding with at Stuarts Writers group, as she is part of it, and she also works for the library and thinks my erotic art would be fabulous at her library. Great!!! Very exciting, and a delight that she was so enthusiastic and positive about my art, and about me too. BUT, she and I both knew that I do erotic art, and some people struggle with it, and they might struggle a lot with it in a public library, if they are of a sensitive nature - or, of course, children. Some of my art is not at all suitable for children to view. I understand that. So, for that reason, I was asked to send some erotic images to my new friend at the library for her to check with her colleagues that it was "acceptable". No problem. I sent 30 of my more "acceptable" ones, 29 of which only had a single woman in the picture, so there was nothing sexual going on between two people in any of the pictures. The answer came back that whilst all the work was considered good and accomplished, some of it was deemed to be a little risque for the library, but if I would like to get together a collection of my other art, and put in some of the tamer erotic stuff, then that was fine by them, and I could ring up to book a date for next year. So, I rang to make the arrangement, and had another positive and upbeat conversation with my contact there. She made me smile when she said that some of the little old ladies might complain about some of my art and yet they took out "Mills and Boon" books by the dozens, and those books in particular are FULL of erotic goings on on EVERY page!!! I'm imagining all these fevered old ladies now getting all hot and bothered by the muscular thighs, square shoulders, tight buttocks, chiselled jaws but sensitive hands of Peregrine or whatever the hero's are called as they rip the clothes off the heroines in a frenzied and heated passionate embrace!

But, there was something else she said, that made me think. She said that she had shown my website to her female colleagues for them to see what sort of work I do. And whereas the art was considered acceptable as most of these women in their 50's and 60's had "seen it all before" there was one burning question they were intrigued about...............

They wanted to know........................... what I looked like. Was I young or old? Was I a punk with spiky hair? What was I like as a person? It REALLY mattered to them.

And that's got me thinking. Because last week I went to the annual art festival at Patchings and had a lovely day there looking around the arts and crafts being sold there, buying a few art materials, and chatting with the artist friends I bumped into whilst I was there. But there was one artist whose work bowled me over, it was stupendous. It was stunning (I'm not chosing these words lightly, I truly was *stunned* by them to the point of losing my words to start with, then after having a long and very positive chat with the artist in question, I had a strong feeling of the other art there being of a far lesser quality, and therefore not so important for me to spend my time looking at it afterwards!). But when I told other people about her, I said "The artwork was stupendous, the technical ability was fabulous, the way it was painted really spoke to me, the choice of composition called me, and the artist was a really nice person, she was lovely to talk to, and look at, and I really liked her!"

So. Have I answered my own question. Should I put more about myself on my website? Should I put a photo of myself on it? Would it make a difference to the people who like my art? Could they relate to me better because of it?

I've always presumed that I don't need to put more personal details on my site, because "the art talks for itself". But does it say enough?

And as a post-script: One of the reasons I haven't put my photo on my website is because I do erotic art. And I'm a woman. So, if I put my photo on my website, am I going to get aggravation from it?

What do you think? And I know some of you know me in real life, and some of you don't have a clue what I look like.

Does it matter?

15 comments:

hornymaleuk said...

Hi Jackie

I think you have raised a very interesting question and I understand your dilemma.

In another capacity, I recently joined a business networking website. One of the members that I know quite well, mentioned that people like to know something about us as people as well as our business products.

I suggest that you might want to include a short personal profile on your website, but if you decide to include a photo I think it should show no more than your face. That should avoid any unwelcome comments!

Spiky Zora Jones said...

Art is art...is art.

And artist is an aartist...is and artist.

It should not matter what you look like.

The art is only what matter.

sweetie...you do what you feel you want to do. Why don't you one of you...do a self portrait. And put that in your website. You might want to be prepared...to sell it though. make several...post them here and see which is the favorite of your readers...I'd put it on my blog too if you want.

hey sorry I've not been round much...lots is going on and I'm just now coming back.

fab post sweets. Ciao.

Jackie Adshead said...

Hornymaleuk - Thankyou for your constructive help in my dilemma! I think you may be right in that people want to know a little about anyone before venturing into buying anything from them. And that's good advice to just put a photo of my face on my website profile, thanks!

Jackie Adshead said...

Spiky - Thanks for your ever supportive comments! You think the art talks for itself, and I hope that's true, but wonder if my face there too would add more to the people who are interested in me?

Self portraits are REALLY difficult to do, though, to be totally true to the photo of the person, when you know it's yourself, and you don't want to put the (tiny!) imperfections in! LOL

But I really appreciate your offer of putting it on your blog, though, thankyou!

That's ok about you not coming to visit much, I know you've had a lot going on recently, but its wonderful to have you back!!

Indigo said...

When you buy a packet of chocolate biscuits do you want to see a photo of the baker? When you buy a bottle of wine do you want to see the grape that produced it? I myself want to stay anon. It's your choice.... but I'm sure you'll come to some kind of decision ;-)

Jackie Adshead said...

Indigo - (Laughing) Ok, you've made your point!!! Thanks!!

Joanna Cake said...

LOL @ Indigo. But it is a very valid point.

I have met you but, thinking about it, Im not sure I could identify you in a line-up. What I remember are the warmth of your personality and just the 'feeling' that I got when I was with you. Whether that was influenced by what I had seen and loved of your artwork, I don't know.

The queyntes were all about anonymity of personality. It was the pussies doing the talking so it was right that a picture of your face did not appear on your site at that time.

I guess it depends on what you feel comfortable with. Do you want your art to do the talking? Or do you want to appeal to those people who need to feel an affinity with the artist before they can like the work? Im not sure that your blog doesnt do that job more effectively than a photograph.

Jackie Adshead said...

Joanna Cake - Yes, Indigo makes a valid point! LOL

I have the same thoughts regarding you, that I remember very well the meeting (well that's not surprising, we were surrounded by my fanny paintings at the time!!!) but I *think* that I'd recognise you in a line-up. And yes, I remember the warmth between us, and the feeling of empathy because of it, but part of that was *knowing* you a little through your blog, and the few emails we'd had privately. So although I didn't know what you looked like before we met, I felt that I knew you well enough to feel comfotable with you. And that indeed was the case when we met in real life.

The queyntes and tarses are indeed all about anonymity, and I am loyal to the people who have been part of this project (and those who will hopefully be part of the ongoing project). I protect their privicy, and perhaps its part of the "service" I give that I don't need to be seen except by those who chose to meet me, and in turn, they don't need to be seen either. Its like a private club in a way.

I think I'm answering my own question here, the art does indeed do the talking, BUT my blog certainly gives a feeling of warmth, friendship, humour, banter, entertainment value, value of privacy, loyalty, depth of character, intelligence, affinity, and all the other personality traits that hopefully give people reassurance, than perhaps a photo just does on its own.

Thankyou, Joanna, for your most helpful insight!

hornymaleuk said...

I don't agree with Indigo. A packet of biscuits or a bottle of wine are relatively cheap, mass produced commodity items. If you don't like the biscuits you just throw them away. However, art is very personal, every image is unique, and it is relatively expensive. It could be considered a "high risk" purchase. The customer is more likely to buy if they know something about the supplier - in this case, the artist.

Jackie Adshead said...

Hornymaleuk - Yes, I'd already thought of something along those lines. Art is a lot different than buying a packet of biscuits, and some people do like to know about the artisan producing it. Thanks for your feedback regarding this!

nitebyrd said...

What you look like doesn't matter one bit to me. Others may not feel that way. Many people need a face to go along with either the writing and/or images. Why? I have no idea.

To me, your art is beautiful and original which means you are the same.

Indigo said...

Each to their own Horny... each to their own!

Jackie Adshead said...

Nitebyrd - Aw, thanks!!! I'm touched, that was a lovely comment!

Fitzy said...

Hello Jackie,

Sorry this is later than planned, but it has been a busy few days. Well it seems you have given us all a very interesting point to consider!?!

I think a lot depends on the actual person visiting your site really as to whether they would like to see a photo of you, and know more about you.

Some no doubt couldn't care less about you as a person and are simply interested in your work, whilst others might sooner know more about you and find out how you got started in the art world etc. This could perhaps be broken down further depending upon whether the person in question is simply ordering a painting from your site, or whether they are ultimately going to be meeting you regarding a commission.

Speaking from my experience when I first found your site, then purchased a couple drawings from you and then decided to proceed with my commissions, the first part there was no issue as I simply purchased two drawings that I happened to like. However, for the commission part and the actual meeting it would be nice to know more about you and perhaps even see a photo (for no other reason that to simply see who I would be meeting), although having said that, your blog does allow anyone that is interested to gain a good understanding and a feel for what you are like as a person, so perhaps a photo and further details about you in your case are not really needed and the lack of them didn't cause an issue for me given your blog etc.

I am also sure that very few people are able to make a quick decision over a commission so they would have contacted you on more than one occasion and will have probably been following your blog as well. Certainly that was the case for me and when we eventually meet it was far easier than I thought it would be simply because I already felt as though I knew you.

Well those are my belated thoughts on the matter!

Jackie Adshead said...

Fitzy - Thankyou, your opinion on this was always going to be the most interesting given that you found my blog and website, we started emailing and then you decided to commission me for some specific erotic paintings, so we had even more correspondence going on. By the time we actually met we knew abit about each other from the various communications we'd had. And both seemed very comfortable with it, so it seems that my blog gives away more of me as a person than my website does, but the website is a good "brochure" for me for people to view my work and see what I'm capable of. Used in conjuction, the blog and website show what I am and what I do.

Thanks for clarifying it for me! :)