1. "Why do you make art?"
2. What's your inspiration?
The trend here seems to be that art making is not all that different from other professions, yet it is somehow regarded as both reverential and inferior. All the useless aggrandizement with none of the day-to-day benefits.
3. "Remember me when you're famous!"
Unless you're a art connoisseur or happen to run a high-profile museum, you probably came up with nothing. So let us not raise our hopes up unnecessarily (I tried this with my dad, who came up with "Andy Warhol." Yeah, he died in '87).
4. "You're so talented!"
This idea of the artistic genius dates back to the male renaissance complex associated with giants like da Vinci, Raphael, Michelangelo, etc. Like it or not, those voices disporportionaley shaped Western art history. And like it or not, every time the word "talent" is employed in this context, it reinforces a narrow scope (i.e. male, western, neoclassical) of aesthetics, reasserting a limited conception of who and what qualifies as valuable art and art makers.
5. "I could never do what you do."
6. "I have all this empty space in my apartment/ school/ restaurant /business if you want to put up some of your paintings!"
What's even worse about this statement is that people actually expect you to be excited. Believe it or not, I am not falling over myself at the prospect of turning over my hard work and supplies for nothing. And no, it's not free marketing.
7. "So... have you been, like, eating ramen for like a month?"
8. "Will you draw a picture of my dog?"
9. I need something green for my house (to match my living room)! Do you do commissions?
10. "What does it mean?"
We appreciate the interest, we do. And most artists enjoy talking about their work. But try to use appropriate language when asking an artist about their art, because something like "What does it mean?" feels like we have to justify ourselves and our work on the spot. Art is valuable, and artist shouldn't have to spend every cocktail hour and elevator ride trying to convince people that what they do matters.