Have problems? Pay for an art mentor.

A real quick note via the Art Deadlines List. A recent post asks “Need an agent to get your work out? Need expert advice? Then look to someone who has actually sold work, exhibited in The Whitney Biennial, and is a dealer and agent who also helps artists with their careers through coaching.”

The noted someone is Brainard Carey, part of the artistic duo Praxis. Praxis will pray for you. They believe in the power of prayer, but are not “believers” in their own words. The prayer is a form of telepathic performance art according to their website. They don’t have too much actual art for sale, although if you want you can purchase a 70 pound leather bound Book of Job for $50,000.

But I digress; this post is really about the wording on Carey’s coaching website. The brief explanation of services offered includes this sentence: “I will help you to identify and overcome your specific problems, so that you can reach the next level in your career.” Apparently he’s pretty good too, at least according to the numerous testimonials on the same page. However, as a marketer, I have to wonder why he took the negative route here. It seems to me the better choice of words would be something like, “I will help you identify and build on your specific talents, so that you can reach the next level in your career.” Certainly, part of an art mentor’s job would be to address weaknesses (also a better word than “problems”), but you shouldn’t emphasize this when trying to sell your services if you don’t have to — especially when it pertains to an individual.

The following is a Good Morning America spot on a Praxis installation.


About pcNielsen
Paul Nielsen founded The Aesthetic Elevator late in 2005. He owns a piece of paper, located somewhere in his house (not on the wall), stating that he earned a B.F.A. from the University of Nebraska around about 2001. While there, he studied studied architecture, graphic design and ceramics, graduating with a degree in studio art. Paul presently serves as communications manager for a small non-profit doing their print design and marketing. He spends as much time sculpting in his studio as possible — which is not nearly enough. Visit his website at pcNielsen.com.

3 Responses to Have problems? Pay for an art mentor.

  1. Lee Forrest says:

    From an internet marketing point of view, using the negative keyword (problems) may be more beneficial than a positive keyword like ‘talent’ because it may be more likely that someone will search using the keyword ‘problems’ within their search terms than they would ‘talent’…if they are having some type of artistic problem.

    From a print marketing standpoint, I don’t think it would work, but for seo/sem…I think it was a smart move to incorporate negativity.

  2. pNielsen says:

    You’re right about “problem” being searched for a lot more than “talent” (at least, according to Google Trends: http://www.google.com/trends?q=problem%2C+talent%2C+art%2C+artist&ctab=0&geo=US&geor=all&date=all&sort=0). The most searched for terms don’t always yield the best results though. Quality of traffic is as important as quantity in many cases.

  3. Lee Forrest says:

    You’re right. So the question is how to use negativity in a way that results in quality traffic and not quantity. I would be interested to see the metrics for this person’s site after a couple of months. good post.

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