Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Narrative


One of my favourite assignments in my teaching at Emily Carr University, is asking my students to write a brief essay on "the function of display." I ask them to reference things on display in their home or work environment, when completing the assignment.

My goal is to move my students into the mind of their customers. The artworks my students sell become items of display for their buyers. And what the assignment reveals, is the incredibly important function narrative plays when customers buy art. They want a story to tell about the art they buy.

When an artist provides narrative, purposefully as in an artist statement or indirectly as a function of their life, customers perceive the story as an added value to the art they buy. People love, for example, the work of Ross Penhall. And they also love knowing that he is a fire fighter. It's weird, but it's true. Customers want a story to tell when their friends comment on the new work on their walls.

Virginia Ivanicki is rich with stories. The juxtaposition of this vibrant, lovely woman with her paintings of war planes provides a fertile ground for narrative.

What's your story?

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