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I have struggled with cute.

I have always drawn and painted cute things. Kittens, tigers, snakes… you can make anything cute if you “baby schema” the thing. 

Baby schema:

• big head in comparison with body
• big forehead
• large eyes
• chubby cheeks
• button nose and small mouth
• general chubbiness

Bugs Bunny’s face is pure baby schema. 

I know that ‘cuteness’ illicits our care-taking response.

We desire to nurture and take care of our own offspring – that’s what the baby schema triggers in our brain.

“Don’t kill the babies.” 
…or maybe more positively – keep the babies alive. 

I know this, but unfortunately, it wasn’t enough meaning for me to continue with the cuteness. Strange as it sounds, since it was popular with my audience, but I couldn’t understand what the value was to the larger world.

So, I stopped  drawing the cute animals. 


Oh those scientists…

I couldn’t leave the cute alone, so I did some research.

The scientists have some answers.

The results of “cute”:

• triggers reward centers of brain
• triggers areas of brain involved with unity and working together and harmonious social relationships
• triggers altruism and increases willingness to help out
• increases attention to detail and care when fulfilling a task
(This was the result of Googling “the science of cuteness”.) 

Seriously, these are the results of viewing cute images of baby schema… anything. 

THIS, I can get behind. THIS is meaning in art that I can embrace and understand and feel part of more than just the “squeee” response. 

My neurosis.


Clearly this is my problem.

Another artist wouldn’t have an issue with the cute – just do the cute, sell the cute, be glad that people like the cute.
This is fine.

But I recommend that while the year is new, take some time to take a look at the purpose behind your art.


What do we get out of it?
Take some time to consider what need your art fulfills for your audience. What do we get out of your art? What does your art fulfill for us? 

There is something… there is always a fulfilled need delivered by art. Sometimes it’s obvious, often times it’s ethereal and just out of reach and you may have to dig a little to get there. 


Consider these questions:

• What are YOU feeling when you create? That’s a mirror to what your audience is getting out of it.

• Do you want to share an emotion? An experience? 

• Do you want to share awe? Beauty? Wonder?

• Do you want to change perspectives and open eyes and maybe teach something?

• What kinds of conversations would you like to have about your art? These are clues to what you’re offering.

• What would you want your best, loyal fans to say about your art? What kinds of reactions would you want for them to have?

• Do you want us to think? Of what? Why?

• Do you want us to feel? What? Why… why does that feeling matter? Why share it?

• Do you want to evoke nostalgia? For what purpose? 

• Are you sharing personal stories and experiences? How are they made available to the audience?

These are just a small handful of questions to get you digging deeper into the meaning and the purpose of your art. 

Connecting to the core of what your audience will get out of your art is going to help you on so many levels.

You’ll be better able to write about your work, make branding and positioning decisions based on what the purpose of your art fulfills – AND make decisions about your art that differentiate you from other artists in your genre and media.

Know what need
your art fulfills.

Knowing what need your art fulfills will make it way easier to sell, because you’ll already understand what VALUE you’re selling based on the need fulfillment you provide. 

This will also help you identify your audience and target your markets so that you can spend more time showing, engaging and selling to a group already predisposed to you and your art. 

Taking a little time to reflect inward on what you’re creating will give you heaps of information to go forward and make your 2018 decisions with confidence. 

Happy New Years!!

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