I like to do home made gifts for people for birthdays and Christmas. There are a couple of reasons for this. First I am kind of a cheap skate artist. Not that I cannot afford to get people stuff for the occasion, I just don't enjoy spending frivolous amounts of money on things I am not sure the person is going to really enjoy. This is not saying that I don't get people gifts from time to time. When I really know the person and I know that they want something that they would truly appreciate, but would never buy themselves. Then I will try to get that for them. Like one year I found a pewter punch bowl for my mom. She had been looking for one for a while and when she had seen one didn't get it and lost her chance. An opportunity she had really regretted missing. When I can do something like that there is no need to make them a Christmas present.
There are just so many times where I don't really have a good idea what bought item would capture the way I feel for a person. I have been on the receiving end of these kinds of gifts, and lets just say that for years I didn't have to buy myself lotions or body sprays, because that was just what you got the generic female. Not that I will ever argue with getting more stuff like that, but other times there are gifts that I just straight up won't use and feel completely guilty for that. I have brought home gifts at times that have built up a layer of dust on their unopened packaging, before I just give up trying to think of how I will use them, and re-gift or donate them so that they don't go their whole lives completely neglected.
I like to give gifts that tell people just how much I know about them, and that I care enough to listen to them and know what they would want. I try to anticipate their wants and needs so that when they receive a gift from me they will appreciate it and understand just how much I value them. In the past I have made sketches of my great grandparents for my grand mother. I have done paintings of places that were meaningful to people, and subjects that family and friends love. It is easier to tailor make something for a person you love if you do it yourself rather than finding a store bought item. You know the person the store does not.
This is also how I see my perspective buyer for my art. I would like to think of them as my friends. If I were to make art for a family member or friend I try to think what they may like in an a piece of art. I build a fictional person to make art for and try to please them. I try to make them feel some kind of emotion regarding the piece. Usually I go for laughs. If you look at my work it is filled with irony.
This strategy is what most people recommend when trying to sell you work any way. You can fill out little worksheets and do all of the little things that people try telling you will get into the head of your potential customers. The thing is that for me and possible for others it is just easier to imagine your audience as a friend. Your product is just like making a good joke with that friend. It is a conversation with that buyer, but you have to show them you are listening to them too, in order to provide something that they want. Making a product for your buyer, can be just like trying to pick out the perfect gift for your family member. Think about it you are making them a gift, or a gift for their friend, so what you are making must be filled with just a much love as when you are making it for your own people.
This to me is how I put passion into my work, and how I show my customer just how much I appreciate them too.