I mentioned practicing your elevator story in my Art A Fairs post of 5/2/08. A comment asked "What is that?"
So, here goes.
Imagine yourself at an art conference, one of the big ones, like College Art Association puts on. You have a room in the main hotel and one morning in the elevator on your way down to breakfast you find yourself standing beside the greatest art dealer in the world. Just as you are passing the 6th floor, he looks at you and says, "Tell me about your art." In the next 15 or 20 seconds as you are moving to the ground floor...what do you say?
Now, at this point I am assuming that you already have the basic necessities with you:
1) A card with both your contact information and a photo of your work on it.
2) A brochure (2 fold) with photos of your work, contact information, and a brief artists statement.
3) These are carried in you pockets, not in a backpack or briefcase, where you can just reach in and hand them to someone who is interested in your work.
These are all basic and good to have and they should be with you at all times.
But, What Do You Say?
Your elevator story should do several things, answer several questions:
1) What medium do you work in; are you a painter, a photographer, do you work with film, digital, oils, watercolor, mixed media, or glass?
2) To what genre does your work belong? Do you do landscapes, portraits, still life?
3) What is the historical context of your work? On whose shoulders are you standing?
4) How you are different. What sets you apart from the rest?
The goal of your elevator story is to convey the most information in the least amount of time and to make a positive connection with the other person. Remember, you only have a few seconds until the doors open and your big opportunity walks away.
Write out your story, refine it, commit it to memory, and use it often. It is the little things that make you a successful artist.
Never lose the opportunity to promote your work to a wider audience because you were not prepared.