As I am wont to do, I attended an Art Fair last week (spoke at it actually, in a speech that may find its way here given its pertinence...but I digress). It was a fundraiser for Youth Employment Services, a cause I've been supporting relatively actively for a number of years.
Most of the art there--from paintings to sculpture to jewelery to original fashion designs--was surprisingly original and almost uniformly good.
So, what separated the purchased pieces from the ones schlepped back home by the artists themselves?
It's somewhat old news and almost a cliche, but in marketing just about anything these days, the story behind the product itself is almost as important as the product itself.
A handful of books have been written on the subject of corporate storytelling but sadly, considering the depth and breadth of the subject, most of these tomes are surprisingly ponderous and almost uniformly bad. Proceed at your own risk.
Books aside, suffice to say that wrapping your offering in a story requires following a recipe of three simple ingredients:
- a modicum of common sense narrative
- a pinch of creativity
- and a tender tap on the soul
But scratch the eye-candy surface and you find out that these pieces were inspired by Jason's seven-year-old son Ellis, who is autistic. Limited in his spoken communication, Ellis communicates with his dad via drawings; "picture conversations" as Jason calls them. "Ellis was a stranger living in my house before I discovered he thinks in pictures," he explains.
Each piece that Jason had for sale came complete with a sticker that tells the story behind it. The one I bought--"Uh Oh, Broken!"--was about the day Ellis dropped a box of eggs while helping his dad make breakfast...something all parents live through, but few have such a tangible, framed, lasting memory of. Take a look at it above.
You can find out more about Jason and Ellis and their Big Blue Hug project by clicking here...but equally as importantly, you can be inspired by their story to create yours.
YOU may think your story boring, mundane, unspectacular...but you've been living it. It's old hat to you. To someone else, anyone else, EVERYONE else, it's new, and it may be fascinating. You'll never know unless you tell it, though.
Rod Stewart once sang: "Every Picture Tells a Story."
Well, this week I learned that "Every Story Sells a Picture."
Or, in the case of Jason and Ellis Goldsmith, judging by the images I saw clutched in arms or peeking out of bags on the elevator down from the YES Art Fair, it sells MANY of 'em.