Mosaics Need a Story (it sells)
A story can turn a most unappreciated thing into something interesting and maybe even a meaningful treasure. It adds value. Even more, if the story is centered on mosaics that you create, it can make you and your art more well known and desirable.
We as humans seem to be wired so that we want to tell stories about what is uniquely ours. The stories may be about our families, experiences, possessions, or even our dreams. We also seem to have an appetite for hearing the stories of others. Here's an example.
Because this painting is not much to look at, it initially lacks interest. It was a gift from our daughter-in-law, and as sweet as she is, that doesn't make it a better painting. It only becomes interesting enough to talk about when you know its story. It was painted by a penguin using its equivalence of finger painting. Our daughter-in-law assisted the penguin.
Now you wouldn't make a mosaic with such a lack of aesthetics as this painting, so imagine how enticing the combination of aesthetics and story can be.
First, it can make the difference in selling a mosaic or not. If you make mosaics to sell in galleries, art shows, online, etc., and you can help the customer connect with more than a nice color palate of tesserae on a substrate, you have a better chance of making the sale. Say you could tell the shopper that part of the tesserae in a piece was from an Italian glass artist in Murano who will never make more glass that is exactly the same? Do you think that would add interest? When the buyer is showing her friends, don't you think she will enjoy telling about the Murano tesserae that you chose for the piece?
Next, it can generate valuable word-of-mouth advertising for your art as its owners tell their friends the story. Let's carry on with the hypothetical Murano glass tesserae. Every time the owner of the mosaic tells its story, she is talking about your good choices.
Here are some techniques that can you can use to give your mosaics a story.
Use your story. A mosaic artist who grew up in a coastal community and fell in love with sea shells or sea glass and includes some in all of her mosaics could say in her Artist's Statement that the shells are representative of her connection to the ocean.
Find or make tesserae that has a story (a provenance). Think of things like: china that belonged to a well known family; stones that come from a popular river; shells that come from a popular beach; ceramics that come from a unique clay; or glass that came from the floor of Chihuly's hot-shop.
Make or use backers that are unique. Some ideas are sculpting wedi board, using driftwood as a backer, glass panes from a historical building, etc.
Have a theme for your mosaics. In Florida a lot of people decorate with tropical and beach themes, so weave a story into beach themed mosaics to sell in Florida. Similar to themes could be causes that mosaics can create awareness for.
However you get there, let your mosaics be a story or tell a story, so that their owners can tell others the story.