Talking to an Artist Looking for Work


Artists are a strange lot. They are more cerebral than most people, and their thinking isn’t in business mode most days. Getting them to focus on offers isn’t hard, but at the same time it isn’t easy. Most artists are looking for work, but they can over or underestimate their own value. Talking to an artist looking for work doesn’t often have an analogue in the real world. They like to think in abstracts, in ways that most people just never connect to. It can be beautiful to see at work, but frustrating when thinking about business.

Why is talking to an artist difficult? Overestimation!

I know from experience, mostly because I can fall on either end of the spectrum on most days. When I’m working as an artist I’ll ask for days to do a project that could take me a few short hours. Why? Because I want perfection. But when the people who hire think about it they want results. There is always a middle ground, though, and more often than not the smart place for it is on your side of the story. Artists start thinking deeply about things that you as the client don’t need to.

Your approach needs to be clear

When you’re starting a conversation with an artist you need to approach a job from their point of view. Most important, of course, is the fact that you’re willing to pay them for a good gig. No artist in their right mind is going to say no to a paycheck, especially one that’s guaranteed. After the assurance of payment, the best thing to do is get them interested in the venue. You don’t want to end up with them only doing half the work needed to get the job done. Talking to an artist is a series of conversations geared towards getting them excited.

Those are the kinds of people that you want to hire for events. When you want your artist to be fully committed, pique their interest. Give them a setting, a feeling, an emotion that they can latch onto to build their show from. And with a single conversation, from start to finish, you can have a great artist booked and roaring to go.