Artists communicate using their art, but they don’t always do. Sometimes, artists talk with their mouths too.
If you’re an art collector or an arts enthusiast with the opportunity to interview your favorite artist, you want to ask the most creative questions you can think up.
While you should try personalizing interviews, some questions cut across all kinds of discussions, especially with artists.
As you try to devise personalized questions, we’ll help you with the general questions. Here are some creative questions to ask an artist in an interview to strike meaningful conversations.
Questions to ask an artist
1- What’s your art background? / How did you get into art?
This question helps to reveal much more than the personal details of the artist in question. In most cases, asking this question leads to a deep dive into the main inspirations for the artist’s career choice.
An artist may also highlight some of the challenges they’ve faced in their career. From the occasional free work requests to selling their artworks for ridiculous prices, artists face more challenges than the average person thinks.
An artist may also talk about their early life in response to this question and how their childhood impacted their career choice.
They can also talk about their educational background, which is often unrelated to art. If you want a deep discussion with potentially touching stories, you shouldn’t skip this question.
2- How do you price your work?
Artists don’t devise random prices for their art pieces, contrary to what most people think. Pricing artwork is a result of hours of research and analysis.
New artists may find it tasking to establish a firm price point and end up selling their artworks for much lower than the should-be price, no thanks to emotions.
However, experienced artists usually have a more unified pricing strategy and end up selling their work for significantly more than their inexperienced counterparts.
Also, you may want to ask if any factors affect the price of specific artworks. To some artists, huge oeuvres should incur higher costs, while others believe the details matter more.
Asking this question in an interview with a professional artist is probably the best way to learn how artists price their artwork and their price justifications.
3- What are your biggest motivations?
Artists work for many different reasons. The content of their artworks is also the product of many sources of inspiration.
Asking about the motivations of a particular artist or their artwork is probably the most creative question in an arts interview, and it makes you come across as an artist yourself, but with words.
Many people make their art to comment on social issues, while others create artworks to follow in the footsteps of another artist.
Many artists don’t have a single motivation. Some even struggle to determine their inspirations for art. For some, it’s just money.
While it’s unlikely that an artist will admit that the main inspiration for their work is money, always have it at the back of your mind that art will probably be nonexistent if it isn’t profitable.
4- How do you market yourself and your work?
The best artists aren’t those with the most creative artworks, but they’re those who can show others that they have the most creative artwork.
Showcasing and marketing are crucial parts of artists’ work. So, most artists will have a word or two to say about their marketing tactics.
Most artists in 2021 rely on online platforms to market their artwork. While almost impossible to see an artist with a website two decades ago, an artist without a website today isn’t really in the business.
Some artists also market their work in studios and galleries, while other enter art competitions for exposure.
Experienced artists organize their art shows and network with other artists to sell their art. There is always something new to learn about how an artist markets their artwork, and it’s almost always applicable to other professions as well.
5- What’s the role of an artist in society?
Artists have different opinions on what role their artworks play in society. While some believe that art should comment on social issues, there is a chance that the artist in question doesn’t hold that belief at all.
Your interviewee may opine that an artist should only serve as an entertainer, while others will be more fulfilled serving as a social commentator.
Most artists try to suggest solutions to social problems through their art, making it more marketable and appealing to the general community of art collectors.
It isn’t easy to come up with solutions to problems, and it’s even more tasking to express those solutions as artwork. If someone can perfectly combine both, they deserve some compensation.
If you want a creative twist to your discussion with an artist, this is a question you shouldn’t skip.
6- How do you do your daily work?
To most people, artists are a group of people that draw stuff on an easel with paint and sell them for exorbitant prices.
Most artists beg to disagree. The process of creating an artwork is much more than the average person thinks, and art should have an inestimable price.
Most artists spend a lot of time perfecting a design in their minds before putting pen to paper. Afterward, they make sketches that they eventually bring to life to create the attractive pieces that make it to you.
Of course, every artist works differently, and you’ll always hear something new each time you ask this question.
Their response will give you an insight into artists’ work and help you appreciate artworks better in general.
7- Why did you choose to be an artist?
You should consider asking this question if you want a unique twist to the discussion. Many artists scour online forums for recurrent artists’ interview questions and answers, giving you the same boring answer they read on the internet.
One thing that these questions and answers can’t cover is why and how the artist chose art. It could be a visit to an art gallery or just plain interest in creating masterpieces.
Sometimes, people choose to go into art for so many different reasons that they can’t even decide why they wanted to be artists in the first place.
8- How do you go about career development?
This question applies to artists of various calibers. More experienced artists understand that success in the art world isn’t only by planning and making artworks alone.
This question can give some insight into the career goals of the artist and the effort put into achieving those goals.
You can also learn about art competitions in which your interviewee has previously participated and the awards they’ve won. If they’ve acquired any art-related academic education, they will also share it at this juncture.
The answers from your interviewee can help you create a career path if you intend on becoming an artist too.
There is a good chance that your interviewee’s artworks address the current socio-cultural or political in the society.
During an interview, you may ask if this is the case. You can also ask for the link between particular artworks and contemporary political or social issues.
If the artist doesn’t address such issues with their artwork, you should try finding out the main inspiration for their work.
This question keeps the interview creative, revealing fascinating information while keeping the discussion focused on things your interviewee likes.
10- What’s your favorite artwork, and why?
If you have a chance to see your interviewee’s collection, you can seize the opportunity to ask about their favorite.
Every piece of an artist’s artwork is notable, but some are just extraordinary to the artist. It may be for the extreme detail, simplicity, or even comic effect.
If the timing is right, you can proceed to ask for the significance of their artworks. Some artists see their art as a creation that should sell for money, and others see them as invaluable masterpieces.
You can also rephrase the question by asking which of their artworks was the most painful to sell. Artists generally don’t like to sell most of their designs, but some just hit differently.
Interviewing an artist is art itself. Coming up with creative questions that spark interesting conversations requires as much planning as creating a masterpiece.
However, interviews differ from art in the sense that you’re allowed to cut corners. You don’t have to be as unique as artists to strike meaningful conversations with a creative professional.
While you may have to ask some personalized questions based on the personal information you’ve gathered about the artist, you can ask general questions too.
If you’re willing to cut corners, we’ve compiled ten questions to ask an artist in an interview as a collector, enthusiast, or journalist to strike meaningful conversations that reveal the process of creating masterpieces.
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