I have always expressed myself in an artistic way of one form or the other. And although many around me may not realize it I, like many artists, never know what to say around people. I struggle in actually putting the words together in conversation. Throughout the years I've adapted and learned how to push through. I have taken countless classes on public speaking and speech giving. And I have no issue being in front of a crowd, but I better have a topic already prepared ahead of time or I will clam up and shut down. I have to be mentally prepared. I tell you this, because I think it's a problem a lot of artists have. I think many struggle outside of their (artistic) work simply because they don't know what to say. We have conversations in our head and pray that people don't get off the script. Unfortunately, other people don't generally know the script. Then it gets awkward. So here's some advice to help an artist converse (and hopefully create some clientele.)
There are 2 types of people: People that want to know everything about you, and people that want you to know everything about them. I realize that is overly simplified, but it's pretty accurate. So when striking a conversation, let them lead. If they start out with tons of questions then talk about your work. If they lead into their own story then let them tell you all about themselves. Then just listen (and nod when appropriate). Maybe you'll get a feel of their style or personality and be able to guide them to a piece that you just know will speak to them. If they want to know about you, only share what is necessary. Don't over share. And don't lie. NEVER LIE. A lie you tell about yourself is one you must always carry with you. And eventually your pockets won't be big enough to carry all of them and it will weigh you down. Be honest. Feel free to share emotions about your work, your process, how you create. Those things will allow someone to feel apart of your work. Ultimately, it's about your art, and selling your art. So when you don't know what to say, talk about your art.
I'm including a picture of a piece I managed to get done in my studio this week. An abstract I call "Heavenly Battle". Oh how I do love to paint.
Go out and create some art!