5 Reasons Why Fine Artists Struggle With Self-Confidence

Struggle With Self-Confidence


Ann Rea: (00:01)
Hey everyone. It’s Anne Rea coming to live from San Francisco. I am an artist, a fine artist, and a mentor to about, I don’t know how many hundreds, of artists from 22 countries and counting. And one thing that I’ve learned over 15 years of helping other fine artists take their power back, and learn how to make art and make money in a way that they could be proud of is that one of the top things that a lot of fine artists struggle with is a lack of confidence. And what my experience has taught me about that there are really about five solid– there’s lots of reasons why, but I’d say there’s five main reasons why fine artists struggle with confidence in a way that another professional will never have to endure. So I think it’s important to take a look at this, because if you can kind of understand if you are a fine artist who’s struggling with a lack of confidence,

Ann Rea: (00:56)
maybe you can look at it through a different lens, and maybe, maybe things could shift for you. So, first of all, one of the main reasons that we really struggle with self-confidence is we’re living in a culture that actually celebrates our suffering. Right? They’re never gonna make a movie about Wayne Thiebaud, my mentor, because he doesn’t have enough drama and this, you know, and crushing disappointment in his life. So, it’s not interesting. Right? So think about that. The effects of our culture– I mean it really does shape many of our expectations, and many of our desires, and many of our biases. And so when you are living in a society that is actually celebrating your own suffering, I mean, that’s going to, it’s going to warp your head a bit, right? So that’s–excuse me.

Ann Rea: (01:49)
So that’s the cultural influence. Let’s look at the societal influence. The society just expects us to fail. They actually, because of the cultural messaging, they just expect us to fail economically, which is okay. So then, you know, you live out that belief, you live out that norm. And then many of our beliefs, maybe we form them on our own, but many of them are not even our own damn beliefs. And we just unconsciously accept these self-limiting beliefs. But I would say that’s number two, for sure. So that’s two. The other, let’s see, hold on. I wrote these down. The other, the third expectation that can really annihilate our self-confidence is that concern or those expectations that are our family and our loved ones, and our friends voiced upon us like, “Oh, don’t go into that.”

Ann Rea: (02:49)
You know, “You’re just gonna get rejected.” “You’re just gonna suffer.” “You’re just gonna struggle.” So our family and our friends echo these cultural and, societal beliefs. And of course, it’s going to have an effect. You know if you’re an attorney, or if you’re a physician, you’re not gonna be dealing with these kinds of self limiting beliefs. So that’s number three. The other thing is really just the art establishment, right? It’s just full of self-appointed critics. And artists think that they have to basically participate in 31 rigged games to help sell their art, which is all baloney. And all of the strategies were taught our confidence-crushing strategies. They put us in front of a sea of people who are never going to freaking buy our art anyway. So who cares? Right? So it has us entering art shows.

Ann Rea: (03:44)
I don’t care how prestigious it is. If those judges are not buying, do we really care what they think? I mean, even not only art museums are in on this scam, but are a lot of arts councils. Shame on you if you’re one of them. Are pitting artists against one another in these silly, silly exercises of criticism. So when anyone is subjected to ongoing criticism, which is not even freaking necessary, of course it’s going to have an impact on your self-confidence, right? This is why I teach my students, fire your rep and find your niche. And so to be clear your niche are the people who, you know, want to buy your art. You know why they wanna buy it, and you know where to go find more people just like them. Then last but not least, the other thing that crushes our confidence is our peers, right?

Ann Rea: (04:39)
The artists establishment pits us against one another in this endless competition. And competition breeds. What does it breed? Scarcity, right? What does scarcity breed? Jealousy. What does jealousy breed? Snobbery. We all have met the art snobs. They even have a different tone of voice, right? They have that affected tone of voice. What is that? Well, it’s really covering their deep, deep insecurity. That’s who– that’s what art snobs are deeply insecure. There’s no reason to have that weird contorted aloof manner that comes from deep insecurity. So that’s my very quick assessment of what I’ve noticed over the years as reasons why artists struggle so mightily with self-confidence in ways that other professionals never have to endure. So what I’d like to do is invite each and everyone of you to apply to enroll in the Making Art Making Money program by the end of this month because we’re going to be having a special tuition-free challenge.

Ann Rea: (05:53)
So you got to apply by the end of this month because that tuition-free challenge class is gonna be happening live on January 3rd. And during that live class for my students only, I’m gonna be teaching two strategies that I’ve taught to other artists, and many of them using one or two of these strategies. You could use both, but they typically just use one. They have earned their tuition investment plus some within 30 days. So now’s the time. If you want to participate in the Making Art Making Money program, apply soon because we’re only going to be accepting a limited number of registrations, and you’re going to have access to this tuition-free challenge which is really gonna be great. I’m just going to spell it out step-by-step. Here’s what you need to do.

Ann Rea: (06:48)
And you’ll learn two strategies so you can decide which one you want to use. There’s the app–somebody asked where they could apply. Jina. So maybe you could respond to Mr. Alford. So I’ll teach you these strategies. Like I said, you can use both strategies. I just recommend you start with one and test that one tuition-free challenge strategy. So the whole idea here is I want you to earn your– in order to graduate from the Making Art Making Money program, you’ve got to earn back your tuition investment through the sale of your art during your final project. Many people earn it back way before they ever get to the final project. But I thought, why not have it, have that tuition-free challenge on the back-end and the front-end? So that’s what we’re doing on January 3rd. But you have to be a student and in order to be a student, you have to apply and then I’ll interact with you.

Ann Rea: (07:44)
And frankly, you know, if it looks like I can help you, I will let you know. If it doesn’t look like I can help you, I’ll do my best to point you in the right direction. Either way, I’ll try to help you. So, there’s no cost to apply. That’s not at all. It’s free. And, I wanna be clear. I won’t let you in unless I feel like I can really help. And that’s because my students success is my success. So there’s no point in me letting everybody join if I don’t think that I can actually help you. But think long and hard, you know, if you are struggling from a lack of confidence, maybe, you know, look at how society has shaped your ideas, and the people, and the ideas of the people closest to you. Look at how our culture has shaped your ideas about being an artist, and the people who influence you. Look at how your family has shaped your ideas, and your expectations about being an artist.

Ann Rea: (08:43)
And frankly, if you don’t have a plan to sell your art, your family and your friends have valid concerns because a plan to sell your art without a plan is a plan to sell no art. You’ve gotta have a written plan, not something in your noggin. You can’t do any critical analysis with a plan that’s just in your head, and look at all of the unnecessary criticism you’ve been exposed to. If you’ve been participating in juried shows or art contests, more importantly you’ve been trying to sell your art to people who are not part of your niche, you’re only going to be rejected. And that’s pretty daunting for any human being to endure. And then– so, yeah, so think about these things, and think about how, reflect upon how it may have impacted your confidence. And confidence is important because confidence sells particularly in the luxury market.

Ann Rea: (09:39)
So my students– I’m proud to say the average student comes in with pretty low confidence. My students don’t come to the program with a high level of confidence. They come with a pretty low level of confidence and they are, you know, suffering from that for all the reasons I’ve just mentioned. But by the time they graduate on a subjective scale of 1 to 10, their level of confidence and focus actually triples, more than triples. So if you’re not feeling confident now it’s possible. And another thing I would say is that a lot of artists really struggle with is they wanna have a support network, which none of us, no matter who you are, and what you’re doing, if you don’t have a mentor-relationship and you don’t have a supportive community to back you up, man, it’s just gonna be too hard. But so many artists are afraid to get into communities with other artists because what arises? The ugly green monster called jealousy and scarcity and snobbery. We don’t actually have that in the Making Art Making Money program.

Ann Rea: (10:44)
And that’s because my students are focused on their unique niche. So they know they’re not competing with one another. When one of them sells art, books a big commission, it’s just evidence to everyone else that, “Hey, if they’re doing it, it’s possible for me too.” So anyway, that’s just some food for thought. I wanted to just address this whole pretty daunting issue of confidence for fine artists, and maybe help give you some ways to look at how your level of confidence has been shaped. So hopefully this was helpful. So apply to enroll in the Making Art Making Money program by the end of this month before tuition increases and before admission standards tighten, and get in on the tuition-free 2022 challenge.

About Ann Rea

Ann Rea is a San Francisco-based artist and the creator of The Making Art Making Money program. Her art and business savvy have been featured on ABC, HGTV, Creative Live, The Good Life Project, in the book Career Renegade by Jonathan Fields, by the San Francisco Chronicle, Art Business News, Fortune, and Inc. Magazines. Rea’s artistic talent is commended by her mentor, art icon, Wayne Thiebaud.

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